I should have seen this sooner. Why? So I could tell everyone to watch WALL·E instead. This movie is directed by Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium) and stars: Sharlto Copley (as the voice of Chappie), Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire), Hugh Jackman, and apparently two rappers (they go by Ninja and Yolandi). I know everyone loved District 9. I never saw that, but I did see Elysium, and boy that was slightly disappointing. One thing I’ve noticed is that Neill seems to enjoy the sci-fi/robots genres. I’ve also noticed he never seems to have original stories in his films. This movie left me with very mixed feelings.
I have to first comment on the casting choices. Hugh Jackman and Dev Patel are amazing. Sadly they are immediately negated by the annoying rappers. Seriously, someone who actually calls themselves a professional cast these two with A-list actors like Dev Patel, Hugh Jackman, and Sigourney Weaver (who gets like five minutes of screen time)?! Aside from that, nothing worth noting.
Next up, the characters. I kid you not when I say that EVERY character is a pure cliché! If I went over every one of the tiring clichés this movie implores, this review would be three pages long. Instead I feel comfortable in just listing the various other forms of media this film blatantly rips-off: the 1986 movie Short Circuit, WALL·E, the original Robocop, the TV show Almost Human, as well as the design of some of the robots. Believe me, there is not an original bone in this stories’ body. Because of this, when I left the theatre, I felt like I didn’t gain or lose anything. This is because I have seen this story (told better might I add) multiple times. The worst part of the story (not counting the plagiarism) would be a certain part of the ending. Two protagonists die and are brought back to life. To me, this makes the movie much less powerful because it takes away the tension and drama that goes with the characters as well as the audience. I didn’t like when they did it in Big Hero 6, The Fox and The Hound, and I didn’t like it in Chappie. Imagine if Bambi’s mom was suddenly brought back to life at the end of the film. It takes away all the tension and emotion! The final negative I have with this film would be that (like Kingsman: The Secret Service) it doesn’t know how or when to use its comedic, tender, or serious moments evenly. This left me with literal mixed feelings. While watching it, I remember asking myself, “Am I supposed to hate or like this character?” Chappie himself is a character that somehow shifts between likeable, unlikeable, and annoying every other scene and thusly, I was uninterested in his character progression.
Now the positives. The effects and CGI are really impressive. Hugh and Dev are undoubtedly the best parts of this movie. Some of the action is entertaining to watch. And finally, Yolandi’s character. This seems like a contradiction doesn’t it? Not exactly. I think she can’t act, but the way her character was written (surprisingly) had me rooting for her (albeit halfway through the film). It’s a shame they ruin it with that ending I mentioned earlier. This is not worth your time/money in the least bit. Just watch Short Circuit or WALL·E because they are the original classics. This gets Guy’s Guru Grade of a D.