Run Time: 120 min
Chappie is a new science fiction film from director Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium). The movie stars Sharlto Copley as the voice of the title character, alongside Dev Patel, Hugh Jackman and Sigourney Weaver in supporting roles. Although I never had a chance to watch 2013’s Elysium, I did see 2009’s District 9, the first of Bloomkamp’s three major projects as a director. With Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy) working as a producer, I really loved District 9 and in my opinion, it stands tall as one of the absolute best science fiction films of the 21st century. Having said that, I honestly wasn’t expecting Chappie to be anywhere close to Blomkamp’s debut in terms of quality, however, in the end, it turned out to be a surprisingly entertaining movie driven by an extremely interesting and well executed title character.
Chappie takes place in the seemingly near future, primarily in the city of Johannesburg, South Africa (hometown of director Neil Blomkamp). In a desperate attempt to reduce extremely high crime rates, the government purchases a police force of fighting robots from a weapon manufacturing company called Tetravaal, led by Michelle Bradley (Sigourney Weaver) as well as Australian engineer, Vincent Moore (Hugh Jackman). Early in the movie, one of the police droids called “Chappie” (Sharlto Copley) is stolen by a company worker named Deon Wilson (Dev Patel). Wilson intends to install new programming that he designed himself, turning Chappie into the first robot that has his very own thoughts and feelings.
As with District 9, the film Chappie had extremely impressive visual effects making for a mostly entertaining movie. However, the story took a little too long to get rolling and the acting was nothing special, from the human characters anyways. I especially would have liked to have seen some more screen time from science fiction legend Sigourney Weaver. Now that my few issues are out of the way, I must address what I really loved about this movie - Chappie himself. I have to say that they completely nailed the robotic lead character, as Chappie looked absolutely incredible and Sharlto Copley did an exceptional, amusing job with the voice work. Chappie himself was without question the best part and driving point of the movie for me. It isn't exactly the next great science fiction film, but the title character alone made Chappie an enjoyable movie experience.