Chappie, is an action film by Neill Blomkamp, known for his works like District 9 and Elysium. Similar to his previous films, the world of Chappie is set in South Africa, the birthplace of the director himself. Blomkamp brought back his long-time collaborator, Sharlto Copley, who plays as the titular character, a robot brought to life by a phenomenal programme that mimics a human’s consciousness.
The story follows Chappie’s first steps into a new world as he (or should it be “it”?) struggles between what is “right”; the upright teachings from his maker (Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire), and what is “wrong”; the criminal life as shown by his adopters (played by South African rapper-actors Ninja and Yolandi Visser).
As with Elysium and District 9, Chappie follows a documentary-style imagery to draw relation to our actual world. The movie is two hours long, and at the beginning, it can seem as if this movie is bound to fail as the ridiculous situation and characters are revealed. However, the pace starts to pick up soon after as you start to understand the meaning behind the film.
Sharlto Copley delivers a magnificient performance as a robot, through the power of motion-capture CGI, from the first time it is switched on (mimicking the first years of a toddler) to the time “he” is required to choose what “his life goal” is to be. Dev Patel and Hugh Jackman performed well as two sides of a coin to the issue of using Artificial Intelligence, adding to tension of questioning if it is morally right.
Chappie gives us a common-in-Hollywood take on robotics and the comparision between AI and a soul/conscience, yet at the same time delivers a fresh look at what “consciousness” meant. The film is a great addition to Blomkamp’s list of hit films, and to your watch list too.