Chappie - This Movie Does Not Rock
Dir: Neil Blomkamp
Starring Sharlto Copley, Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Dev Patel, Chappie, Ninja, Yo-Landi
And to think – just a few days ago we were very happy at the thought of Neil Blomkamp making an Alien movie. Happy chappies in fact. But, sad to say, Chappie is woefully disappointing. And muddled as all hell.
Extrapolated from two of his previous shorts, the feature version once again showcases the filmmaker's ability to blend remarkable effects into a well conceived and vividly executed background. Which only leaves story. And character. Both of which are in no way up to snuff in this case.
Chappie himself – a Dev Patel built sentient South African RoboCop as voiced and mo-capped by Blomkamp regular Copley - runs the gamut from innocent child to petulant teen. And damn, but he’s annoying in both guises. The innocence hoped for in this heavy metal Pinocchio remains lost in execution, delivering a robot that is actually in many ways like a human being – just a really irritating, firmly unlovable one.
And the CG lead is by no means helped out by his human co-stars. You can forgive Jackman the mullet. And the shorts. But not the one note Aussie revenge performance. Sigourney meanwhile is a one-dimensional corporate bitch in a suit – check that Alien script before you sign up missus!
But the worst offenders are without doubt Ninja and Yo-Landi (playing Ninja and Yolandi) from South African rap group Die Antwoord, two performances that must surely be the most amateurish seen in a major studio movie in a long, long time. As Chappie’s “mummy” and “daddy” they have a large amount of screen time – and therefore make a large amount of the screen unwatchable.
Maybe Blomkamp the great visualist needs to start working with great (or even decent) screenwriters, because even the philosophical elements of Chappie are naively underdeveloped here and, at worst, as childish as their protagonist.
As to the climax – in which RoboCop takes on ED209 (yes, really) and there’s a consciousness transferring Sony laptop (!!!??) – give us a break mate.
Three films in and Bokamp is looking more and more like a one trick pony (even he admitted he fucked up Elysium.) Alien 5 is suddenly looking a lot more worrisome.
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