Sunday 26 July 2015

Review: Chappie (2015)

Although Orange Wednesdays are over, the cinemas are still playing games with each other, and so thankfully (for me) my local is still allowing 2-4-1 tickets every Wednesday during March. I don’t even have to pester a friend for a code, huzzah! My excitement for Chappie stalled a fair amount after reading so many negative reviews, but I always like to save judgement until I’ve seen the film myself. We got to the cinema a little early, and if you follow us on Twitter you’ll have seen my fiance wasn’t great company while we waited.

I was gutted when I missed this as the cinema because I loved District 9 and the trailer really reminded me of it.  I ended up only seeing it last week in the end.

Despite what the trailers made me think, Chappie (Sharlto Copley) is a damaged police robot, created by Deon Wilson (Dev Patel) and stolen by gangsters Ninja and Yolandi (played by themselves - who even are these two?! Apparently a South African rap duo?!). Deon has cleverly created software giving Chappie his own consciousness, and once switched on, he’s comparable to a highly impressionable child.   What did the trailers make you think?  This was not at all what I expected but I can't put my finger on why, I don't know what I was expecting!!

Chappie is the life and soul of this film. It has a fairly slow start during the storytelling of Chappie’s origins, but his reveal is great. He’s likeable before he even comes to life, a Scout Robot who seems to be cursed, always coming back from the field damaged. His one orange ear (antennae) and ‘Reject’ sticker make him instantly recognisable. For a robot, he’s highly expressive, and so hats off to the robotics/animation team behind that.  Chappie was by far the highlight, he was so lovely and made me smile whenever he was on camera, Sharlto Copley was fantastic playing the defect robot with the perfect level of charm and innocence.

One thing I liked about the film, which I imagine is a criticism in others’ eyes, it that you’re never sure who the real bad guy is. At the outset, it’s the gangsters Ninja and Yolandi, living a life of crime and stealing Chappie to help them with a heist. Without spoiling the story for you, they don’t appear to be the bad guys towards the end. The real rotten character is Vincent, (Hugh Jackman), who will literally stop at nothing to see his own work get the credit he feels it deserves. I really don’t like Hugh Jackman as a baddie! He’s just too much of a nice guy usually… and that mullet!!

Fully agree with Allie, its so confusing, you never know whose side to be on.  Instinctively, you want to side with Deon but he just seems like a bit of a wet lettuce who just lets everyone walk all over him.  Then there is the rap duo who are astonishingly irritating, initially, they are a breath of fresh air after Deon's blandness but Yolandi's high pitched squeal and Ninja's shouted are just too much to bear, I nearly turned the whole thing off at one point. 

Granted, Chappie doesn’t have a huge social/political agenda like District 9 did, but I think it still spreads an important message about how impressionable children are. Chappie knows and understands that crime and murder are wrong, and yet he can still be taught to steal and kill, just by the way he’s told how.  I did enjoying seeing how they got round his promise to not hurt people, it was really clever - my favourite moment in the film was probably when he trashed 'daddy's stolen car' instead of getting the driver out!!

There’s plenty of humour in this film too, largely thanks to Chappie himself. His excitement over rubber chickens, riding in the car, or just the way he repeatedly tells the gangsters, ‘Chappie can’t do heist. Heist is a crimes’ just made me smile again and again. I love him!
I’m scared that this might be another Green Lantern situation here for me, judging by the reviews I’ve read so far, but I hand on heart loved Chappie, and despite its flaws, I want to see it again soon.

Honestly, I loved Chappie and the ending was pretty clever (although convenient) but the story didn't keep me entertained.  I fell asleep twice trying to watch it.  I am gutted it wasn't as good as District 9 but it just wasn't up to par.  It would have been a 5 but Chappie brought it back....


  1. Nice review! I really liked District 9 as well, but I never got around to seeing Chappie. I thought it would frustrate me, but this review makes me feel a bit better about it. I should check it out. I do love Dev Patel.

  2. Nice review, i was the same as you i saw all the negative but then enjoyed it, i just loved the Chappie character, I think one of the biggest problems the film had was the trailer mis-sold it and then have Hugh Jackman made people think he was the star, they could have got away with a lesser known star there to even up the unknowns pop stars

  3. Maybe I do need to see this...but...I just...can't bring myself to want to.