Chappie is an aspirational film. Set in the not too distant future, it takes on the concept that robots will start taking over human duties. This film is set in South Africa where a private firm won a contract that has supplied the police force with robotic cops that have successfully driven down a high violent crime landscape.
With robotics a hot topic today, the reality that the film’s supposition makes is not far fetched. Chappie’s premise is promising. The film takes another step in developing an artificial intelligence that is self aware and that is programmable. It also takes the leap that human intelligence is programmable and transferable.
So the story explores the idea of what makes us human or is the essence of our intelligence by the creation of Chappie , the robot who becomes self aware. It also explores our own mortality and how do we become immortal.
Where the movie falls short is that there needs to be some humanity built into the plot and it needed to increase the likability quotient of its characters. Chappie is certainly high on that scope but his human counterparts fall flat. His Mad Max like fellows are not relatable and even his creator is flat. The audience needed to see more of themselves in relation to those around this robotic character.
It reached for emotional moments and tender moments that were almost there. So the film is not bad but it was not great. Hugh Jackman’s talent as the nemesis and Dev Patel’s talent as the Creator are wasted due to poor scripting.
This film revisits old formulas and story lines of past movies. It needs to a redone by writers who can give it a fresh look because such a world is upon us and a great film is still be waiting to be made about it.