Chappie Screen 8 articles

Chappie

2015

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  • What we get is a wide-eyed Robocop knock-off, its eponymous android plaintively decrying human misconduct even as it commits industrial-scale destruction; whatever opaque point the film is making, it belabours it in earnest denial of its own Dinky Toy absurdity.

  • A robot-themed action movie that winds up feeling as clunky and confused as the childlike droid with which it shares its name... This South African spin on “Short Circuit” displays the same handheld immediacy and scene-setting verve as its predecessors, but all in service of a chaotically plotted story and a central character so frankly unappealing he almost makes Jar-Jar Binks seem like tolerable company by comparison.

  • CHAPPiE displays all the hallmarks of Blomkamp’s half-assedness. An opening framing device of reminiscing talking heads never resurfaces after we leap into the past. The relay-race approach to theme drops each idea the second Blomkamp spots its untenability, yet each dead-end idea remains, a Sapphic fragment of some potentially interesting topic left to twist in the wind.

  • The ability to enjoy the South African hip-hop duo Die Antwoord will likely prove the deciding factor in whether or not you can stomach Chappie, Neill Blomkamp's surreally disastrous sci-fi actioner. The film, which is centered on the titular police robot (Sharlto Copley) that gets uploaded with sentience, is little more than a 120-minute Die Antwoord music video with a Michael Bay budget.

  • Like director Neill Blomkamp's previous features (District 9, Elysium), the film suffers from pretentious allegory and half-baked social commentary, its familiar themes easily traced back to Philip K. Dick and Isaac Asimov. The special effects are incredible (especially given the relatively small budget), but the flat digital cinematography renders even the most technically impressive action sequence visually stale.

  • Chappie should be seen, because it’s unusual and personal – but it’s bumpily plotted, often amateurish (Ninja and Yolandi aren’t very experienced actors) and goes totally off the rails in the final stretch.

  • Scaling down has its drawbacks, as some of the visible digital artifacts in “Chappie” make clear. Yet even at his shakiest, Mr. Blomkamp holds your attention with stories about characters banding together to emerge from a hell not of their own making, a liberation journey that just isn’t the same old, same old when a director was born in South Africa.

  • [Chappie's] education takes the form of an afternoon tour of the Johannesburg slums, as Chappie, taken for a typical robo-fascist, inspires murderous rage in nearly every dispossessed person he meets. The development doesn't feel like a screenwriter's shorthand so much as a satirical exaggeration of Johannesburg's dire economic inequality.

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