By Fred Arnold
Chappie. What to say about Chappie! Today’s world has no shortage of graphic brilliance in regards to the big screen, and Chappie fits that bill. The attention to detail on the robots shows a precision unmatched in the movie making world – not to mention the fluidity of scenes, talking, and motion. At first glance, one might think of I Robot, a Will Smith movie that brought great ratings, but Chappie’s overall demeanor falls closer to a dazzling futuristic comedy mixed with high suspense and action.
Now, the story. You follow Chappie’s life, from a child to a teenager to an adult. You see him grow and become an intelligent being like that of a human. In this regard, it creates a sympathetic atmosphere for the audience.
The audience can understand the robot on a deeper level than what one might experience from I Robot. To that degree, the makers did well, but what they failed to do was specify what type of story they really wanted. The mixture of comedic and serious tones seem misplaced, as if one tried running in three directions at once. On one hand, you have a slapstick group of gangsters, on the other hand, you have a serious plot line that could foreshadow events to come in the real world. The makers, sadly, failed to designate which direction they wanted, and in the end, they are left with forced comedy upon a darker tone.
The acting in Chappie fell short as well. Though some big names made a presence, Sigourney Weaver to name one, the lesser known actors felt awkward and out of place. This could be a sad reaction to the iffy storyline rather than acting skill. To note, seeing fresh new faces brought a unique edge to Chappie. The two actors who played Yolandi and Ninja are actually the singers from a band known as Die Antwoord. Majority of their clothing, weapons, and movie-set items were chosen from their music video props. This gave the actors a natural feel to them, like they were in their element.
Die Antwoord: I fink U freeky
Though the storyline felt shaky, as well as the acting, Chappie’s ending had the audience on their seats. Chappie opens up the idea of neural transfer between a human and a robot body to preserve life – an idea that might not be too far off into the future. Take some time to see Chappie. It may not be worth the movie theater visit, but some of the comedy moments and action are well done, not to mention a superb ending.
Images are property of Columbia Pictures.