Review: ‘Chappie’ the catastrophe

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‘Chappie’ stars Dev Patel, Hugh Jackman, NInja and Yolandi Visser and Sharlto Copley.

Tristan Baez, Writer

Pulling in $13.3 million over the weekend, ‘Chappie’ topped another slow weekend at the box office on a $49 million budget.

‘Chappie’ takes place in the near future, where robots with artificial intelligence make up the majority of the police force. Inventor Deon Wilson (Dev Patel) is forced to reprogram a stolen robot who ultimately becomes a thinking and living robot; Chappie (Shalto Copley). Vincent Moore (Hugh Jackman) tries to foil Wilson’s plan in order to get his weapons program off the ground before artificial intelligence takes over the world as we know it.

‘Chappie’ is a visually incredible movie. The way the director, Neill Blomkamp, portrays South African and culture in the country is very interesting and visually pleasing. Some of the set designs are very unique and convey the tone the movie is going for. There were a few really well said thematics and funny moments peppered throughout the movie as well.

Chappie looks extremely realistic and the CGI is phenomenal, but most importantly the character is extremely interesting. Most of the acting is solid, despite horribly written characters. Also, the original score composed by Hans Zimmer, is very unique and new as Zimmer takes a shot at electronic music.

That’s about it for the positives, because this movie really isn’t good.

The plot alone is poorly shaped and written. Trailers and other promotional material promote ‘Chappie’ as a story about this robot that will change humanity forever and what it means to be living as a human, but the movie entails none of that. The story goes in a completely different direction, and for spoiler purposes, I won’t get into it, but the movie misses an opportunity to have an very relevant and meaningful story and instead uses recycled plot(s) and unoriginal content from Blomkamp.

The characters and dialogue are also horribly written. Besides Chappie, either the character isn’t in the movie enough to get basic character development and/or reasoning for actions, or the character is just so annoying and foolish that it’s cringe worthy. Jackman’s character as the villain was just “evil” just for the service of the plot. You never get or understand the reason why he is bad, or why he does what he does.

Most of the characters aren’t fleshed out enough and you really never get a chance to connect to anyone. So when the time comes for a character to be liked or cared for, it’s just like “oh, ok.”

Die Antwoord, a South African rap/EDM group, are arguably the leads, unfortunately. Both Ninja and Yolandi, play themselves, but not really as they aren’t rappers and just criminals (which is lazy from the writers). Yolandi has some well acted parts and was able convey some good emotional scenes. Her character was able to give a good mother figure and felt most genuine, something the film greatly lacked. Ninja, on the other hand was atrocious in every sense of the world. Poor acting, an annoying character, and on set problems made his character, I dare say, hateable.

‘Chappie’ was also a huge Die Antwoord commercial as the group’s music was consistently playing, while sometimes it fits and is quite enjoyable, randomly having their music in the background is pointless and conceited. Throughout the movie Ninja and Yolandi both wear their own shirts that only beg to say “HEY WE’RE HERE AND RELEVANT.”

‘Chappie’ is just straight bad. Recycled plot, horrible writing and terrible characters make for a theater experience that has a few bright spots but at times can be an entertaining film (if you have very low expectations) for a few hours.

 

Final Verdict: 4/10


This movie is rated “R” for violence, language, and brief nudity. You must be 17 years of age or accompanied by an adult to watch this movie.