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Movie Review: Chappie

Posted March 8th, 2015 at 1:24 AM by Nolafus
Updated March 8th, 2015 at 9:55 AM by Nolafus

Neill Blomkamp takes us on yet another sci-fi adventure with his latest movie, Chappie. Going into this movie, I was pretty psyched. Neill is my favorite director, District 9 is my favorite movie, and I had been looking forward to this movie for months. However, the evening didn't start off that great. What was originally a group of seven friends, soon dwindled down to three, with four people unable to make the movie for one reason or another. So I walked into the theater with two friends, hoping Chappie was enough to salvage the evening.

Thankfully, Chappie was worth the wait, but it's not the movie for everyone. If you're unfamiliar with Mr. Blomkamp's earlier work such as District 9 and Elyssium, then you're in for a ride. Mr. Blomkamp is a director who isn't afraid to stray away from the normal Hollywood path, and try something new. Chappie, being the latest example.

However, I noticed a pattern right off the bat. The story once again takes place in Johannesburg, and starts off in the documentary fashion from District 9. It seems Mr. Blomkamp wanted to go back to the roots of his first movie, and see if he could make the magic work for this one. The documentary feels very forced in the beginning, and once again foretells of something terribly wrong. However, after a few mock interviews, the documentary ends, and is never picked up again. It's only used to get some information across to the viewer that I feel would have been picked up anyway if the movie didn't include it. It felt forced, and very out of place.

Once the movie gets past the awkward beginning and into the plot, it becomes much more natural, and into Mr. Blomkamp's down to Earth style. The special effects are kept to a minimum, and the characters keep you in the story. There's not a lot of action in the first half of the movie, and it's all focused on character development. The characters are very strong, and the script isn't afraid to show you just how flawed these people are. The villain has a motive, each character has their place, and the stage is set.

The first thing that I will tell you is that you need to forget whatever you came into this movie expecting. Yes, the trailers are kind of accurate to what the movie is actually about, but it doesn't even scratch the surface of what Chappie is trying to do. The robot, of which the movie is named, takes center stage as you watch him develop his understanding of how the world works. It's very slow at first, but if you can get past that, then the plot picks up, and before you know it, all you want is the best for Chappie. However, the people that are taking care of Chappie aren't exactly the best people, as they are gangsters who steal for a living. Chappie has to decipher the difference of what's right and what's wrong, as the people around him fight for what they think is best for our robot protagonist. To say it's confusing for Chappie is an understatement, and I must applaud the movie for creating what I believe to be a very realistic learning curve for him. For what the movie does, it does well.

However, that doesn't mean Chappie as a whole is without its flaws. There are a few plot holes that were overlooked to keep the flow of the movie going. There's only one big hole that doesn't really concern anyone until the absolute very end, but the small ones that were spread throughout made me pause and think for a while. It made for a few stumbles in an otherwise great plot, and it should only be a problem for the most avid of nitpickers.

The only real concern that I have with Chappie is that it tries a bit too hard. Like I said before, the movie as a whole does a very good job at what it's supposed to do. However, the plot's flow is halted from time to time to try to push a feeling that the audience is already getting. A few scenes felt unnecessary, and dragged out simply to try to get every last drop they could. As much as I enjoyed this movie, I can see some scenes making some people wish they saw something different.

The trailers hurt the movie in the sense that they showed Chappie jumping on top of cars, shooting wildly with explosions going on in the background, but that only happens for a very short time. People might go in expecting a decent amount of action that's just not there.

Overall, Chappie knows what it's trying to do, and isn't afraid to step outside of the box to accomplish it. Sometimes the risks work, and other times they fall flat. If you're on the fence about seeing this movie, then I would say to give it the benefit of the doubt and see it. However, the last thing you want to do is expect the usual Hollywood formula. If you've seen District 9, then you should know exactly what you're in for. Expect Mr. Blomkamp's down to Earth style, and a storyline that's blunt, harsh, and doesn't baby the viewer. This movie definitely isn't for everyone, so I don't expect everyone to absolutely love it, but it's a movie that's worth your attention either way.

Rating: 7.5/10

Everything in the spoiler is exactly that, spoilers! I'm going to go through and explain some of the plot holes I came across and talk about specific scenes in the movie. If you haven't seen the movie, stop reading here. If you have, let me know your opinions below:
Spoiler:
I can't wait any longer. I'm going to start with the massive plot hole I mentioned earlier.

Everyone who died is resurrected as robots, and everyone lives happily ever after. Except, doesn't the battery die after five days? Did I miss something? Are they going to have to keep finding new bodies to transfer to? The factory looked recently shut down at the end, so they obviously can't keep making them. I don't know, hopefully they have a charger, but from what I could gather, there isn't one they could simply plug in. Otherwise, they could have plugged Chappie in, and they could have gone their merry way. I really hope I missed something, because I was very upset at the end when they didn't even touch on it.

Also, why did they make the girl's face different? It looked really creepy to me, and I didn't think it was a good idea. Maybe some people liked it, but I'm not one of them.

Is everyone allowed to take whatever weapons and parts they desire with them? Seriously, no one stops anyone from taking explosives and various guns from the armory? This happens several times in the movie, and it's what I was referring to as the smaller holes. No one seems to care that the little flashdrive is gone, weapons are missing, and that an employee is taking whatever he pleases without asking. Yes, he's the head of the project and deserves some leeway, but that's stretching it.

The only thing I wished they capitalized more on what Chappie's creativity. In the beginning when Chappie is just learning, they seem to put a big emphasis on it, but by the time the end draws near, it seems to fade away. I think painting would have been a great way to show off Chappie's human side to some of the more skeptical characters, but no one uses it. Instead, I felt like it was only emphasized to help the viewer feel attached to Chappie, and nothing more.

Alright, enough with the negatives.

My biggest concern heading in was with the characters. Neill's work in District 9 only fell short in the character department. The two main characters were amazing, but the rest were flat and one dimensional. He really fixes this in Chappie, and each individual had different motives and personalities, making each one feel real. I loved scenes like Chappie's first encounter with the real world and stumbling back home without an arm, because it showed the range these characters could feel. Good job Chappie, good job.

This movie doesn't break my top three, but it's definitely in my top ten.
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  1. Old Comment
    Pinkie-Dawn's Avatar
    This movie has gotten a very low percentage at Rotten Tomatoes and is being bashed at /tv/ for it and compares Blompkamp to Shamalan. From what I could understand, only Chappie's body has five days to live after getting hit in the chest by a bazooka early in the film. It saddens me that the same people asking for more original films (ones not based on books, comics, shows, and real stories, and ones that are not sequels/remakes/reboots) are bashing this film despite being what they demanded.
    Posted March 8th, 2015 at 9:42 AM by Pinkie-Dawn Pinkie-Dawn is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Nolafus's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Pinkie-Dawn View Comment
    This movie has gotten a very low percentage at Rotten Tomatoes and is being bashed at /tv/ for it and compares Blompkamp to Shamalan. From what I could understand, only Chappie's body has five days to live after getting hit in the chest by a bazooka early in the film. It saddens me that the same people asking for more original films (ones not based on books, comics, shows, and real stories, and ones that are not sequels/remakes/reboots) are bashing this film despite being what they demanded.
    Yeah, Chappie is a weird movie. He took some risks, and even though I liked it, a lot of people didn't. I watched someone else's review after posting this one, and he made a very good point that this movie focuses on the wrong characters, which leads to some left out potential.

    I gave it a C+ rating (as that's I imagine a 7.5 would be), because of the flaws within the movie. I think it's a step in the right direction for Blomkamp, but he needs more experience to hone down his unusual style.
    Posted March 8th, 2015 at 10:01 AM by Nolafus Nolafus is offline
 
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