The film is set at a time when crime is patrolled by a mechanised police force. When one of this droid, Chappie, is kidnapped and reprogrammed, he acquires the ability to think and feel for himself.
Despite it’s shortcomings, I fell in love with this film. It’s extremely ridiculous and the story is full of holes, if you’re looking for science fiction with the emphasis on the science then do not watch Chappie. Huge chunks of the plot are a scrambled mess and I’m sure (though I’m no expert) that the AI / consciousness science is absurd – but Chappie is a movie that is all about heart.
There are times in the robot’s early incarnation that are disturbing. His portrayal as a young child make his treatment uncomfortable to watch. Visually he is a robot, but characteristically he is as vulnerable as any infant human and the emotive impact is akin to watching physical and psychological child abuse. His innocence is compelling, his capacity to forgive and learn is heart warming and somehow, he comes through his trials to end up with a close knit, if somewhat dysfunctional, family. Love and loyalty are strong amongst the surviving lifeforms and I found it impossible not to feel that warm happy glow at the end.
The movie is set in South Africa which gives it a slightly different feel to most big sci-fi blockbusters, in much the same way as was introduced to us in District 9. Johannesburg might be an obvious choice for Neill Blomkamp, but I like it when film makers open the door to the rest of the world and remind us that drama and adventure happen all over the globe and the people with stories worth telling come from all cultures.
The big Hollywood names, Hugh Jackman and Sigourney Weaver, are not the characters that the viewer is rooting for; the characters we fall in love with couldn’t be more different from the classic movie hero and some of them aren’t even in human bodies. Science fiction has always been a good vehicle for the concept of diversity so it is all the better that sci-fi movies are taken out of the usual arenas and are flung worldwide.
Don’t watch Chappie for the slick plot and the believable science, watch it for the courage, the diversity, the journey and the heart
Traveller through space and time. Lover of page and screen. Mistress of my own ship.