Maria and I saw CHAPPiE this afternoon, the new Blomkamp movie that just released Friday. Set in South Africa, it tells the story of a recommissioned police robot that’s been reprogrammed with true artificial intelligence; the first of its kind. Naturally, the idea of a thinking/feeling robot is something that strikes people in different ways. Some wish to use Chappie for their own advancement while the main protagonist sees him as an abomination against God. Of course, this leads to major conflict.
While Chappie revolves around a general topic with lot’s of potential to say something deeply meaningful, it fails to really deliver on that note. When it does bring up the serious nature of something like, I don’t know, the general implications that go along with, “does this machine have a soul? What is a soul?”, Chappie barely touches on the concept before moving on. Overall, it’s just a sloppy mess that’s trying to be too many things at once; never settling on the tone it wants to go with. It goes from campy to dramatic to violent on the drop of a dime.Honestly, it feels like some bizarre combination of Short Circuit and Robocop.
If you’re looking for an entertaining movie that features a robot that cusses and acts like a gangster, then Chappie is your flick. If you’re like me and genuinely into science fiction, you’re probably familiar with Issac Asimov’s works. As such, you’re probably interested in the idea of robotic sentience, philosophical questions related to souls/ghosts in the machines, what really defines us as humans, and everything else related to such. If that’s what you’re looking for, like I was, then you’re going to be deeply DEEPLY disappointed. Chappie wants to say so many things, it begs to talk about these topics, but then gets lost in the action sequences. The truly scary thing is knowing that I, Robot actually presented this topic better than Chappie.
It’s not a bad film if you’re unfamiliar with Issac Asimov’s works. Maria really liked it. But if you want something deep and meaningful about robots, go watch Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.