Movie Review – Chappie provokes wealth of emotions in audience

By Matt Koper/ne news editor

Chappie brings forth emotions to the one thing typically not associated with feelings — robots. 

Directed by Neill Blomkamp (District 9 and Elysium), Chappie takes place in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2016 when the dominant police force is robots designed by Deon Wilson (Dev Patel) who works for the tech company Tetravaal.

A robot with feelings, Chappie must prove his toughness to a group of gangsters.  Photo courtesy Columbia Pictures
A robot with feelings, Chappie must prove his toughness to a group of gangsters.
Photo courtesy Columbia Pictures

Wilson’s robotic police force is a success, but he has been working on a program on the side that would allow the robots to have a conscious mind. While leaving Tetravaal to go test his new program, a trio of gangsters kidnaps Wilson, and the fun begins.

After Wilson is kidnapped, the movie starts to fully parallel three different storylines. It follows the development of Chappie, who gangsters take from Wilson to be used for a heist, Wilson’s attempt to keep the robot from a life of crime and antagonist Vincent Moore (Hugh Jackman) and his attempts to sabotage Wilson and kill off Chappie.

Although three storylines are going on at once, the center of the movie is always Chappie. When Deon’s program is installed, Chappie starts out at a child’s developmental level and must grow up quickly in the destitute world around him. The gangsters even drop Chappie off to be beaten up by other criminals in an attempt to “toughen” him up for the big heist.

Watching Chappie forced to grow up so quickly keeps viewers rooting for him the entire movie and humanizes the robot. He grabs viewers emotionally and doesn’t let go.

The gangsters in the movie — Ninja, Yolandi and Amerika — are a particularly goofy trio. They have a taste for neon-painted guns and a funny use of profanity. Yolandi and Ninja take Chappie on, becoming the mother and father figures. At the end, Ninja becomes fond of the robot after hating him, much like the development of his own character.

Moore is the perfect bad guy. Because Deon’s bots are so successful, Moore’s gigantic robot Moose is seen as obsolete. As a result, he does nothing but cause Wilson trouble and tries to find a way to use Moose. Not only does he make the audience members grit their teeth every time he is on screen, he’ll have them praying for his demise.

Chappie’s three paralleled storylines are enough to make this film a good one. Viewers will not be disappointed. Chappie’s surprise ending is a nice touch as well.

Add goofy and unorthodox gangsters, a despicable villain and the development of a humanized robot in a crime-ridden world, and it’s a winning combination.

All movie goers who like a heartfelt story will leave Chappie impressed with the film’s quality.