Many years ago, a Portuguese cafe owner told me “NO SHANGE ONLY SHAPPIES!”. I had no idea what he meant, but beneath all that simmering low-cost rage and poor attempt to disguise his thinning hair, he might have been forecasting an upcoming 2015 film. That film is indeed called Chappie, as director Neill Blomkamp reunites with his frequent acting collaborator Sharlto Copley to tell the story of a robot growing up in the streets of Jozi. And yes, it looks as awesome as it sounds.
Every child comes into the world full of promise, and none more so than Chappie: he is gifted, special, a prodigy. Like any child, Chappie will come under the influence of his surroundings – some good, some bad – and he will rely on his heart and soul to find his way in the world and become his own man. But there’s one thing that makes Chappie different from anyone else: he is a robot. The first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself. His life, his story, will change the way the world looks at robots and humans forever.
While Elysium wasn’t up to the standards of District 9, I think Chappie could work better for Blomkamp. It’s got robot action, the mega-popular Die Antwoord taking a starring role and Chappie himself looks emotive enough to make anyone forget about Johnny 5 or Wall-E. That, and I’m digging the anime influences in his design.
If there’s one thing that Blomkamp knows how to do in his films however, it’s to balance humanity with action. That’s what could make Chappie unique I reckon, and the debut trailer does a fine job of showing off some of those ideas. Chappie arrives next year March, and co-stars Dev Patel, Sigourney Weaver and Hugh Jackman.
Last Updated: November 5, 2014