I initially had no interest of watching this but seeing that I do love robots and have previously watched District 9 and Elysium, I figured I’d give it a go. And boy did it not disappoint!
Johannesburg, South Africa. Having no way of controlling the city’s crimes without injuring their own man, the Police department takes a chance on a new robot program that sends in Scouts alongside the humans. These Scouts assists in becoming the first at a scene; protecting the humans from danger. Following the success of his Scout program, engineer Deon Wilson (Dev Patel) successfully created a new program that could give robots a conscience. Wanting to see if his program worked, Deon went to his boss, Michelle Bradley (Sigourney Weaver), to sell the idea and ask for a test robot. Unfortunately for him, she wasn’t open to the idea of having her robots think for themselves. At the same time, Vincent (Hugh Jackman), is looking for a way for his robot, Moose, to be used in the field.
Driven by the desire to see if the program worked, Deon decided to take things in his own hand and brought home Scout 22, a robot that had been damaged badly in a mission and was slated to be scrapped. While on his way home, he gets kidnapped by three gangsters, Amerika/Yankie (Jose Pablo Cantillo), Yolandi (Yolandi Visser) and Ninja (Watkin Tudor Jones), who needed Deon to shut the Scouts down for their heist to go on uninterrupted. It was at this point where they discover the broken Scout in Deon’s van. He explains that he took the Scout back to test out his program and having nothing to lose, they allowed Deon to successfully install the program, giving Scout 22 or later known as Chappie (Sharlto Copley), life.
Chappie is probably my favorite one out of the other two. The simple idea of a child-like robot learning life from two different groups of people shows just how easily we humans start to lose our humanity. With Deon and Yolandi’s teaching, we see Chappie learning how to read, how to say different words, distinguishing what’s right and what’s wrong. A child beginning to learn in a safe-guarded world. But with Ninja’s teaching, we see Chappie being thrust into reality, learning to defend himself when the time comes. A child beginning to learn that there the world is harsh and real.
It’s easy to love Chappie as soon as you see him move and talk. He is really just like a child that you grow to love with time. So, it was exceptionally hard for me to watch when Chappie gets left alone, not able to defend himself from hooligans and Vincent (who sawed off Chappie’s arm). I was crying and feeling angry with Hugh Jackman for doing that (because kudos to Hugh. You really CAN play a villain!). But in reality, I realized that it shows what we humans are capable of. When given a chance to taunt and bully because we think we have the right to, we do it. We never stop to realize that what we are doing might hurt others. The scene where Chappie interacts with the dog warmed my heart because his innocence showed that despite what he had gone through, he was afraid that the dog might hurt him. But when he touched and felt the dog, he realized that not everything was bad and there were still good things in the world.
To me, Chappie is one of those movies that shed light on humanity in a subtle way. With all the hostility, terrorism and war going on in countries, we never once stopped to see what’s become of us. The innocence and trust we had for one another slowly disappears, making us lose sight of what makes us human.
I highly recommend Chappie to all. A great movie with action, slight comedy and gentle cuteness of a robot.