By JOSHUWA DEAL
The idea of a machine becoming sentient is one that dates to the birth of science fiction. However, “Chappie” is a fairly original take on the idea due to the robotic character being one who is easily affected by the characters around him. This perhaps is the most major compliment and critique to the movie: the characters.
The plot itself plays fairly predictably without losing the attention of the audience, but the characters are, at times, hard to enjoy.
The characters and actors Ninja and Yolandi are accompanied by a minor character named Amerika (Jose Pablo Cantillo), the triplet of criminals hold the attention of the audience but not to highlight any charming or even relevant dialogue through the film. Instead, the characters have little to no depth outside of their desires, which leaves the viewers uninterested in discovering them.
Meanwhile, the creator, Deon Wilson (Dev Patel), of Chappie seems to lack depth and simply takes a back roll for most of the movie. His desire and origins are barley explored outside the immediate situation, which causes lack luster empathy for his dilemmas.
Chappie is a likable character at first, but as the movie progresses Chappie seems to become the product of all of the other character’s conflicting desires without truly establishing an original personality.
Chappie absorbs the positive and negative ideas around him and rarely displays originality in his expression of himself. Overall, the cinematography and Die Antwood’s soundtrack fit the action scenes but with the story displaying conflicting scenes of comic relief and suspense with in the same scene the tone of the film is disorganized to say the least.
Many audience members may laugh out loud at scenes trying to execute drama and may find somewhat charming scenes to be utterly dull due to the hokey acting of Antwood. Furthermore, the few charming scenes consist of these unlikeable characters which prove difficult for the audience to cheer for Chappie or his entourage. The greatest disappointment is simply the premise.
The film seems to have had much potential from the plot alone to display an interesting commentary about the human condition through Chappie. For example, the protagonist thugs are after money and antagonist, Vincent Moore (Hugh Jackman) is after fame and glory, while Chappie is simply after a chance to live.
Unrevealed in the trailer, the creator gives Chappie consciousness with a low battery body, which only allows Chappie to live for five days. When Chappie discovers that he will die, he asks his maker, “Why make Chappie just to die?”
This scene could have sparked an interesting theme through the movie of Chappie symbolizing the human condition and accepting death. The scene could have symbolized humans asking to the great abyss why exist if the end result is death.
Instead, the film misses the opportunity for any substance and creates a dues ex-machine in which the characters are able to cheat death and live forever despite the absence of any lesson learned. Simply, the film “Chappie” had a fantastic premise and a unique cast to say the least but falls flat by building morale and ultimately abandoning any theme for a lazy sci-fi ending.