Sunday, July 05, 2015

Chappie

The other night I rented Chappie from Netflix, and had a pretty good time with it.  Granted I'm a SF fan, and I had read all the negative to lukewarm reviews of it, but I heard one person in a store say something to the effect, that yeah, a lot of people didn't like it, but he enjoyed it pretty well.  He also commented that there was a lot of humor in the film that a lot of people overlooked.  That made me want to rent the film for myself and give it a day in court.

A lot of people enjoyed director Neill Blomkamp's first film, District 9, however, I was a bit mixed over it.  Yes, I did enjoy the special effects of the film, but felt the reluctant hero angle was a bit heavy handed (although I guess you could say, that was played as humor/comedy too).  I also wondered about using the hero in that film as a sort of undercover agent rather than trying to recruit one of the aliens as an undercover agent.  To me that is more plausible, but then, I'm not the director/writer.  

I'll agree that Blomkamp's second film, Elysium, wasn't done very well, but again, I enjoyed some of the effects and action, but the story itself was full of plot holes, and didn't make a lot of sense.  Perhaps Blomkamp needs someone to rein him in a bit, and ask him about such things, but I think overall he has a pretty grip on film making. 

Chappie as you might have read is about the first artificial intelligent robot.  The film even makes reference to Isaac Asimov's rules for robotics, which I thought was nice to include.  We quickly meet one of the main characters, Deon Wilson played by South African, Dev Patel. He designed the robot cops who have made a major dent in crime.  He also thinks he can add A.I. to the police robots, and that will help reduce crime even more.   The CEO of the company (Sigourney Weaver) however, doesn't think it's a good idea.  The third main character is played by Hugh Jackman, who is working on an even larger model of robot, similar in style to ED-209 in the Robocop films.  So that's the basic set-up.  But after that set-up the movie goes in a weird direction I wasn't anticipating, which grabbed my attention and kept me engrossed in the film.  Now I didn't read much about the film beforehand, to avoid spoilers just in case I wanted to see the film.  I'm glad I did, as it took on a unique experience.

Some of the other actors in the film I'd never heard of, and since I don't care for rap or hip hop music I was unaware of two of the main villains in the film that are in band known as Die Antwoord.  A lot of criticism starts with them and their acting ability, but I thought they did okay.  Some other criticism has said that too much of the film is spent on the villains, perhaps, but that didn't bother me, in fact that is where some of the humor in the film comes from.  There was part of the plot that for me took a fairly large leap of faith that you pretty much have to just go with to enjoy the film dealing with the crime group and the Deon Wilson character.  Whether or not you can get past that part of the story might decide on whether or not you can enjoy the film.  I just went with it, and after the film was over, I thought, well...I guess it could happen, but overall it didn't take away my enjoyment of the film.  When the film ended I thought, well that was a pretty good action film, and really one of Blomkamp's best films so far, for me anyway.  If interested you'll have to rent it and decide for yourself. 

2 Comments:

At 6:59 AM, Blogger Richard Bellush said...

I don’t know why I have passed by this movie so many times. I watch far more obscure scifi flicks with lower budgets. For any number of reasons South Africa is socially one of the most interesting countries in the world, and it is worth noting what comes out of it; perhaps this always was true, as is possible, the very first modern humans emerged there. I’ll have to sit down and give Chappie a view at some point. AI itself is a possibility that long alternately has intrigued and scare futurists. Asimov often mentioned that his three laws were good guidance for people as well as robots, even if they are not hardwired into us (and even though for people the second law needs some further explication). I don’t know if that idea worked its way into Chappie.

 
At 11:52 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

Yeah, give it a shot Richard you might enjoy it. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it after all the negative press. I wasn't going to really bother with it until I heard the younger guy in a store remark about it, and I was happy that I did. Sometimes the best recommendations comes from word of mouth. It's not without some flaws, but I could overlook them. I believe I read where Blomkamp is slated to direct the new Alien movie. Since he's so good action, I'm hoping he does well with that one since I love the franchise anyway. I'll do my best to avoid any spoiler until after I see the film. :)

 

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