In the future there will be robots…… You will probably get the rest as you have heard me many times ramble on about the first line of my book. I was feeling a little anxious as I went into the cinema this past Friday to watch a new film called Chappie.
Anxious because my unpublished work deals with similar issues as seen in Chappie. Robots are centre stage and with me going into watch this film there was a hell of a lot at stake. My reason for this is because one day in the not too distant future I want to see my legacy of novels converted to the big screen. So anything robot related is representing the genre that my life’s work is under. But enough about my internal ramblings.
From the very beginning Neil Blomkamp ( director of district 9) throws us into a world not that far away from ours. Johannesburg, South Africa. A place where crime is a big problem. So the police have started to draft in newly developed robots to deal with the gangs and violent goings on. Minutes in and we are treated to spectacular action.
Many of these police robots are involved and you know sometimes there’s that moment : ‘oh that’s a bit fake’. I’m not sure how they did it, whatever sorcery was involved worked. Because I was led to believe every robot I saw, engaging in combat was actually there.
The story continues to unfold and we are introduced to some well-known faces such as Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver and Dev Patel. But they were matched by some rather unknowns who to me stole the show. Our title character begins life as a police robot and takes on heavy damage early in the first action sequence. This runs in parallel with some swanky new software being developed by Patel pulling an all nighter on red bull.
This software allows a robot to simply be human in terms of emotion and feelings. He can learn and is influenced by the people around him and from what he is told. The ultimate theme and concept that is familiar in all robot stories. But this time they got it so damn right.
Chappie is born and the real story begins. I found myself thoroughly enjoying this film. There were nods to Robocop and many of the 80’s sci fi classics in terms of certain themes and sequences. As much as it felt like one of those classics this also felt like a modern day better version of these productions.
I wouldn’t be able to compare this film or story to anything ever done on screen. It’s a fantastic original piece and represents the robot genre immaculately. There were moments when I laughed out loud and times when I was truly moved. Mostly by this robot who was just trying to find his way in the world. The story to me was beautiful, I have only been quoted once to say that about Titanic. Leo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet falling in somewhat doomed love whilst one of the worst disasters in history unfolds around them. This is all heightened by that tragedy. It’s perfect and although chappie isn’t as much a Romeo and Juliet story it still gives the same effect.
Although the action was quite violent in places, it was suitable for what Neil Blomkamp was trying to tell us. This film wasn’t about robots in the end, it was about humanity and its ability to make you laugh and make you cry with every other emotion in between. But it takes for something not human to try and be human for us to see that. (yes read that last sentence twice and slowly)
I came away thinking what an exceptional film and story. One film that I do recommend you seeing because it may not make you laugh or move you but it will certainly get you in one way or another.