I’ve just worked my way through the available videos in Neill Blomkamp’s Oats Studio project on YouTube and I think they’re really worth your time. Like his earlier short films all the videos are full of ideas and wonderful / haunting images, and their incomplete concept feel is part of the charm. Unlike his feature films they don’t outstay their welcome.
Rakka is clearly the stand out but every short does it’s own peculiar thing and it’s an hour well spent that’ll leave you looking forward to the release of the next video, Zygote, on 12 July.
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.