AT THE MOVIES: Chappie

Let's go to the movies!

Let's go to the movies!

Brandon Carpenter '15, Video Crew

The following is an R-rated movie. Here is a link to the Motion Picture Association for more guidance on how movies are rated and what to expect when viewing R-rated movies.

Neill Blomkamp (director of District 9) is back with his third feature length Sci-Fi film. It has garnered mixed reviews, many of them belonging to one of two groups:

1. Those who love the film despite its faults

2. Those who hate it despite its strong points.

I, personally, fall into the former category, preferring to suspend my disbelief and accept the story for what it is.  And while Chappie is very dependent on your suspension of disbelief, it will return what is perhaps Blomkamp’s most charming feature length work yet. If you didn’t get the chance to see it over Spring Break, you should see it in theaters before it is gone to get the full idea of the size and humanity of the film.

The film introduces us to a near future Johannesburg, South Africa, where crime is so out of the local law enforcement’s control that the arms manufacturer Tetravaal has used the city as a staging ground for their new automated police drones called Scouts, developed by a young man named Deon Wilson (Dev Patel).  The film focuses on Scout 022; he is constantly out of commission due to combat damage, and his latest excursion is no exception; a drug bust ends poorly for 022 after the gang’s leader (Brandon Auret) shoots the robot point-blank with an RPG.  With a now permanently fused chassis, 022 is scheduled for demolition, until Wilson salvages the bot, intent on using 022 to work on his recently finished sentient consciousness algorithm.  Here is where we need the suspension of disbelief the most: Wilson is kidnapped by the three gangsters from the earlier drug bust, (Yolandi Visser, Watkin Tudor Jones, Jose Pablo Cantillo) and the four somehow raise and teach 022, now known as Chappie.

I’d like to divulge more of the plot, but aside from a certain jealous weapon’s designer getting his comeuppance and a raid on an armored police van, a lot of it is exposition critical to the story and its theme.  Chappie, himself, has a long way to go and a lot of concepts to come to grips with  (like the meaning of death) just the same as the audience has to accept the concepts of the film.  Beyond that, Chappie is the most deserving of your time out of all of Niell Blomkamp’s films.