First Trailer for Chappie Shows Neill Blomkamp Getting Back to His Roots
"People are always fearful of things they don't understand."
In this trailer we meet Chappie, a childlike artificial intelligence that can learn, think, feel, and have original ideas. Chappie creates art, he likes animals, and he's essentially a human being, except he's a robot. From the footage, it seems to be part-coming-of-age story, part-discrimination parable, with many unwilling to accept the idea that a robot could be as "human" as anyone else. The film is essentially an anti-Frankenstein; where Frankenstein and stories like it warn against creating life, this film seems to celebrate it, or at least celebrate the existence of the life once it's created.
Sharlto Copley, who starred in both of Neill Blomkamp's previous films, District 9 and Elysium, plays Chappie, while Dev Patel plays his creator/proud father figure and Hugh Jackman plays some kind of anti-AI activist. Sigourney Weaver also appears in an unknown role.
Hopefully this film will be as weighty as his first feature. Blomkamp's District 9 is a modern classic, a quirky, dark sci-fi tale that seamlessly doubled as an allegory for apartheid and other similar human rights abuses. He struck gold with that movie, likely because it was a small indie feature with minimal studio interference. Then, with the success of District 9, he was tasked with the big sci-fi blockbuster Elysium, which had an intriguing premise but was unabashedly dumbed down for mass consumption, complete with a hamfisted ending that bordered on insulting. Judging by Elysium, conventionality doesn't seem to suit Blomkamp, but it seems that Chappie is more left-of-center, closer to District 9 in its blend of disparate genres. That being said, the coming-of-age story is often weighed down by convention, and this apparently sentimental film may not match District 9 in its truthful appraisal of human nature. We'll see.
Chappie is set to be released on March 6, 2015.