Chappie (2015)

So, I know nothing about Die Antwoord but they are just about the most interesting thing in this mess.  Yeah, five minutes in their company is enough but you can’t deny that they bring something interesting with them even if you can’t figure out what that is or if you actually want it.

The real problem with Chappie is that it does not have a convincing bone in it’s body.  Like Elysium (2013), it’s District 9 (2009) reheated and contains a lot of the same furniture minus the solid sense of place that grounded Blomkamp’s first feature.  There’s just so much nonsense here (from ‘I’ve created 97% artificial intelligence, give me a Redbull! yay I’ve created artificial intelligence!’ to someone pulling a gun on a co-worker in an open plan office then pleading ‘joke’ and no one mentioning it again, etc etc in most scenes) that you care about nothing.  And why should you when the film constantly undoes itself?  There’s no ‘off switch’ for the robotic officers, until there is, and it’s a handy device the size of a big gun.  The ‘Moose’ (think ED209) is an invulnerable wrecking machine, until it isn’t.  Why should I care when the writers don’t at any point?  There’s so much stuff here that is ripe for a political, smart, genre crunching, door smashing piece of sci-fi conspiracy gem and it’s squandered, just thrown away.

Sigourney Weaver plays ‘business lady’, Hugh Jackman plays ‘sports / religious bad guy’, no one plays a security guard at any point, so just walk in and take stuff from the weapons firm and Die Antwoord wear Die Antwoord t-shirts.

The worst film I’ve seen at the cinema in years and one of the cashiers knows my name because I go so much.

Film: Elysium (2013)

This blog has existed in a few different forms but what I’ve settled on, the version you are reading now, can be best summed up with the question ‘have you seen?’  This is because I want to write about films in the same way that I chat about them, with enthusiasm and interest.  I just didn’t want to be sat here ranting like a brat about things that are not to my own particular taste.  But that’s not to say that I’m not going to write about films that frustrate me, because they also make me want to chat… have you seen Elysium?

Elysium is one of those films that I can’t help but feel I should like a whole lot more than I do.  It pushed all the right buttons (the one marked sci-fi geek, the pastel coloured one with the words ‘insufferable liberal’ printed on it and the red gore covered switch in the corner etc) but, following District 9, a smarter film about the mistreatment of the poor, it all seems a bit underwhelming and, at the same time, overcooked.  This is most notable in the portrayal of the antagonists, a right-wing politician and a ruthless soldier, who are both overwritten and underdeveloped until they are meaningless.  The give away, as ever, is the rather tediously cheap inclusion of rape threat.

…but I’ll watch it again because in a couple of years I’ll still be intrigued.  I’ll enjoy William Fichtner and the data robbery, I’ll marvel at Elysium itself as it reminds me of my Dad’s old copies of Science Now and the scene where Max is shown an image of Earth from space will still get me but, by the end, I’ll still be left feeling that I should like it more and soon afterwards I’ll turn to a friend and say ‘have you seen Elysium?’