Chappie’s Story

Director Neill Blomkamp treats audiences to a Sci-Fi coming of age story; however, instead of a human protagonist encountering strange robots, the audience is given Chappie, an actual robot. Chappie is a sentient robot that is taught the gangster way of walking, talking, and handling a gun.

The movie begins at a weapons manufacturing company located in Johannesburg, South Africa. The audience is given a montage of the rising crime rates and the methods used to counteract them. The inventor of these new police robots, Deon Wilson (Dev Patel), works for a weapons manufacturing company, Tetravaal, and wants to create a sentient being. This paves the way for Chappie, voiced by Sharlto Copley. Meanwhile, the audience gets a glimpse at the villain of this story, Vincent Moore (Hugh Jackman), and his plan to manufacture the Moose, a Gatling gun on legs.

The music group Die Antwoord’s members, Yolandi and Ninja, portray themselves as not-quite gangsters in the movie. In a bid to evade the police robots, they, along with third man Amerika (Jose Cantillo), kidnap Dion in order to learn the secret of how to turn off the police robots. Dion, however, had the parts and software he uses to eventually make Chappie when he is kidnapped. This led Dion to creating Chappie and leave the newly created robot with the gangsters.

Chappie himself is a rather endearing, titanium-shelled robot with the capabilities of all out combat and the mind of a young child. Chappie’s character design was well done, as the audience can get a clear scope of how he is feeling most of the time, based on whether his “ears” are perked up or drooping low. Chappie’s foul tongue and childlike qualities are heartwarming. However, Chappie is one of only a few good aspects in this movie.

While the visual effects are stunning, there are a couple of scenes where the visual effects are not up to standard. There is a scene where the three gangsters and Chappie encounter the Moose. Amerika is seen being killed by the Moose and the visual effects of Amerika’s death are obviously of a poorer quality than the rest of the movie. However, for the most part the rest of the movie has robots that look incredibly realistic, including in scenes where there are several robots at once.

The majority of the music is by Die Antwoord themselves. In fact, out of the 14 music pieces, Die Antwoord’s songs account for eight of them. While Die Antwoord’s music takes up the majority of the movie’s soundtrack, it is catchy even if it does not quite make sense. The music is jam packed into the movie so that there are very few moments when there is no accompanying soundtrack. This, at times, makes the movie feel cluttered with music.

In spite of these positive points, the main plot is shallow and leaves a lot to be desired. There are many points in the movie when Blomkamp could have taken the plot into an interesting direction but instead goes the generic, boring, blah route. The movie also introduces a couple of details that could have been further explored, such as Chappie’s obsession with the conscious mind, but these details are left as loose ends and unexplored by the time the closing credits roll around.

Overall, the movie “Chappie” is a good movie to mindlessly watch, but if you are looking for a movie with an interesting plot that will leave you stunned, this movie is not for you. “Chappie” gets a 3.5/5.