The critics seem to have taken an offence to this film and have literally badgered the ratings in Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic. They feel this film is worse than Elysium and it’s Neill Blomkamp’s worst film. “Robocopy”, “Jar Jar wept..”, etc. were the exact comments critics came out with. One of them has even quoted “I haven’t been as happy to see a movie end since the third Transformers.”
Are you kidding me? It was a blast and this film keeps you engaged throughout the film. There’s never a boring moment. I’ve read most of the reviews and they only have a very few valid points. There are things like how Jackman pins Dev Patel with a gun in office without anyone saying anything or how gangsters let their kidnapping victim come and go. Yes, these are some screenwriting concerns which makes the experience unreasonable at times. But it’s still a breezy script and the action moves along without having a dull moment. Trust me, most of the reviews are just wild rants and people conforming to peer pressure. I’ll take down their points one by one.
This film has been heavily criticized for its derivativeness, especially with its links to Robocop. But hey, there’s nothing original in art, and art is all about referencing other art forms. Also, original may be uninteresting and boring. On the contrary, this film is refreshing new especially the way he combined old references to create something unique. Much like Tarantino, he took it to a whole new level of existential philosophy and action. In fact, it’s way better than any Robocop sequels ever made.
Now, an annoying Chappie seems to have bothered many. But hey, wasn’t Chappie was just as fun like being with a child. And, making it behave like a child must include a little annoyance. It makes it cute and realistic. No wonder Yolandi’s motherly instincts kicked in so well. If anyone thinks that an annoying child is a bad thing then they should check with their psychiatrist immediately.
Yes, the acting wasn’t great like Birdman but it wasn’t a distraction either. If people are upset because the actors look odd and aren’t as good looking then they should think again. Nothing is noticeably bad, rather it’s realistic. And, if Birdman hasn’t bagged any Oscars for acting then what acting are we talking about? Sharlto Copley was awesome and how he brings Chappie to life from an inanimate is commendable.
Blomkamp has expanded big time on philosophical content in films and he really provides us with something to think about. What is consciousness and how can it pass on? Does it itself make someone exist or we only exist when others believe that we do? It’s a classical existential film which tells us how important it is for us to attach meaning and purpose to a cause. It’s also a statement on how the world is a bad place for an outcast or someone who is different, and expands on his earlier xenophobic themes in films.
I must add that there are some missed opportunities in this film as well. The sense of style in District 9 was there but not as good and because of this the film lacked unity in style. Secondly, they could have done better with some strong actors even though the acting wasn’t so bad. Third, some of the characters were really not necessary for e.g. Dev Patel could have had a minor role. They draw attention away from our main character i.e. Chappie. Also, the antagonists could have definitely been stronger and more intimidating. Lastly, it needed to be a little darker and going by D9 it fell a little short.
However, saying all that doesn’t take away from the fact that this is still a very emotional film and gets you to choke every now and then. At the same time it is filled with some tense action scenes. It’s delivered on its ideas too and is subtle enough to scratch your head when you think about those existential questions. But, above all it’s a fun ride with Chappie who’s thrown into this world with no knowledge of things around him. Definitely could have done better with a little more fun and humor, but either way it was still a great watch. I loved it and I have my own reasons no matter what the others say, especially the recognized critics. So, I suggest to go and find it out for yourself because, “I am consciousness, I’m Chappie”