[Artificial Intelligence] CHAPPIE Movie Review: A Small Child In The Body Of A Combat Robot

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[Artificial Intelligence] CHAPPIE Movie Review - Photo credit: deviantart, edition by Amber255 via bitLanders

The theme of connecting the human mind and consciousness with a soulless robot has long been living in scientists minds, touched upon in the work of science fiction.

In the future, shortly or in the distant future, a person will probably reach such a peak of knowledge as perfect and developing AI - artificial intelligence. But so far, when such a discovery is still far away, dreamers - directors are trying to develop this idea with the help of films, to dream by using films about the future, the future where humanized robots and ordinary humans will live. Well, until all this scientific mess is far from us, we watch films and get amazed. 

I have always felt it important there be a dialog about computers versus society in general. Neill Blomkamp adds a modicum to this complex notion we must face.

Credit: metacritic

There is an industry of films, and there is art - films that change our vision of the world. In a truly good film, everything is fine: from the plot, cinematography, and acting, to music and the overall concept. What kind of films has not been made about robots - from the most primitive o the super-advanced? Every time it’s a story that the robot is also almost human. And CHAPPIE directed by Neill Blomkamp is all about the same.

CHAPPIE is a film about the robot, a terrific film on education, relationships in the family, and in society. The film also touches on existing social themes through many metaphors. What are consciousness and personality? What you feel if you are a "black sheep among white flocks", what is the role of upbringing in the formation of personality, and can a child have three parents?

This film introduces even the most unprepared viewer into the context of the future for which we all need to strive and prepare.


CHAPPIE Official Trailer - Video credit: youtube

The Plot

Robot Chappie (Sharlto Copley) is one of the police robots developed by young engineer-inventor Deon Wilson (Dev Patel). 

In Johannesburg, in the largest city in South Africa, crime rates have been greatly increased. To eradicate evil in areas, police robots were created, which have become an indestructible force, fighting against crime.

Once the creator of robots and one of the copies was kidnapped by a small criminal group whose goal was to create a gangster robot. Chappie fell into the hands of gangsters who started to train robot as a gangster. In the role of bandits - hip-hop group Die Antwoord (translated from Afrikaans - Answer). They played themselves. In the role of daddy Chappy - Ninja, in the role of mommy - Yolandi. They played themselves. In the role of Chappie's daddy - Ninja, in the role of mommy - Yolandi.


bitLanders AI-Themed Blogging: CHAPPIE - Photo credit: stmed.net

At gunpoint of criminals, Deon creates his dream - the first robot in the world, able to think and feel.

The main villain (antagonist) is the engineer Vincent Moore, played by Hugh Jackman. By the way, I do not remember he ever played villains, but here he played well his personage. Vincent Moore - Deon's colleague, who envies him, as his invention doesn’t even go in comparison with the police robots.

As always, the heroes have a task to collect money in a short time, and they start to climb out of their skin so that they will be not killed later. This motive repeats at least three times in CHAPPIE: at the beginning, when other gangsters pressed Ninja and Yolandi, then when Vincent Moore told Deon to give the security key, and the third time when the gangsters promised Chappie a new body if he gets the money.


bitLanders AI-Themed Blogging: CHAPPIE - Photo credit: imdb

The Idea

Neil Blomkamp is a talented and distinctive director who considers it necessary in his works to communicate with the audience on serious topics of social stratification in general and personal moral decay in particular. CHAPPIE was born from the symbiosis of these features.

The range of topics covered in the film is wide - problems of artificial intelligence are revealed (is it possible to consider artificially created, but independently thinking MIND as a human?); problems of fathers and children (as well as stepfathers and children, even entire foster families), upbringing (that current crime is a direct result of poor upbringing); responsibility (to the future ourselves and others); child crime (in South Africa, children are taught gangster craft from an early age), social inequalities (the so-called lower strata of the population, incapable of getting an education); problems of the little man (influence of the environment, pressure of dual social morality); criticism of the consumer society and religious - legal fanaticism (does a person have the right to judge other people without delving into the reasons for their actions), and much more.


A family film about robots: CHAPPIE - Photo credit: mariaisabeldelarosa.blogspot

It seems strange that critics and ordinary viewers did not pay attention to yet another non-obvious idea - death as an unjust and senseless phenomenon.  

Director Neil Blomkamp shows technical progress, but the emphasis is on the process of growing up and developing our robot. It is on what kind of environment is formed around the robot, how it affects, through which stages of “maturation” the “machine” passes, to be a full-fledged creature.

The genre of the fantastic action movie allows you to bypass some conventions and, through adventures, very quickly guide the viewer to the effective development of the main idea. To do this, first, the director forms a conflict not only within the confrontation of ideas in the world and those who are intellectual. He puts the main character against the most important choice for himself (and any other living creature) - the struggle for life.

Such a challenge already allows the viewer to easily empathize with what is happening and to believe that such a reality is possible. After all, if an artificial mind can see, improve, react, relying on their personal experience, then there is a conflict of understanding. After all, electronic brains allow each time to reassemble their perception of the surrounding world and act more objectively - this already takes artificial intelligence to a more perfect degree than the human creatures closest to it. Constant learning makes the artificial model better, more efficient, and faster.


Science fiction film CHAPPIE - Photo credit: sosmoviers

Artificial Intelligence - Chappie

The film is another attempt to show and equate artificial intelligence to human. If the robot is provided with high-quality algorithms, in a short time, it will be able to repeat human processes occurring in the brain.

Now, in the era of deep learning, it no longer seems that we are far from the future when robots will be able to do actions equal in quality to analysis and acts as in humans.


Chappie: Why did you build me to die maker?

Deon: I didn't. I built you to live.

Credit: imdb

Director Neil Blomkamp focuses on the other - learning is an important step towards the formation of a full-fledged personality.

According to the plot of the film, the genius developer Deon dreams of creating machine intelligence that will develop, grow, and adapt - repeating all stages of human development. He develops the program and, by chance, he manages to test it on an operating robot. The results are impressive.


Science fiction film CHAPPIE - Photo credit: makezine

The robot Chappie looks cute - even when it throws drivers out of expensive cars because the “father” convinced him that all these people stole from the "father" a collection of luxury cars. And he is amazingly animated - it is impossible to believe that on the screen is not a man in a suit and not a real robot, but a creature drew on a computer.

Chappie is the robot endowed not only with artificial intelligence but also with the ability to feel and empathize. He is “born” with a children's world outlook, but he quickly “grows” and develops, absorbing, like a sponge, the norms of behavior for those around him.

On Chappie, any parent easily recognizes himself, and then his child - here he is touching and naive, still a little boy, who is so easy to frighten and deceive, who loves the world, thinking that he will respond to him in return. Chappie-teenager: rebellious, wanting to be cool, with only his right opinion. Chappie as an adult who knows how to think, to separate the good from the bad, to pass each situation through the prism of his inner world, able to appreciate what he has and make very complex decisions that can harm him, but necessary for the situation. 


A film about the future CHAPPIE - Photo credit: wallpapersafari

Three stages of maturation, and on each he is great. There were moments when I recognized myself in him. It is so interesting to see yourself from the outside: your growing up, your first disappointments, your personal development.

Expressive mimicry and childlike spontaneity of Chappie disposes the viewer to some sympathy, and in some places to real empathy for his fate. I feel him when he confronts with a reality that he presented quite differently.

Robot Chappie himself turned out to be a touching person, in which kindness, the ability to empathize and purposefulness coexist with gullibility and self-doubt. With what childish naivety he tries to please and how sincerely he does not understand why people are so cruel.


CHAPPIE: Switching Human's Conscious - Video credit: youtube

It is the machine that personifies humanity in the film. Yes, it is more human than many people.

Overall Impression

CHAPPIE - sometimes cute, but for the most part brutal film. Spectators in various ways are forced to empathize with a soulless robot, which is constantly being bullied. As one friend told me, when a person begins to experience similar feelings towards inanimate objects, this is one of the signs of schizophrenia. So remember that it is a film; Chappie is not alive, it's a robotI liked the idea that consciousness can be copied and then transferred to another body. 

The film is done with special effects and intense scenes in the spirit of the action movie, which Michael Bay himself would envy, to the music of Hans Zimmer and the wonderful Die Antwoord, which, as it turned out, are not only musicians, but also actors capable of playing worked characters that you empathize with.


CHAPPIE Movie Review - Photo credit: icloudpicture

The action scenes are not as many as usual in fantastic thrillers, but energetic, discerning, and dramatic. Particularly cool looks, of course, the battle with the other robot, where, in addition to the two robots, warring gangs are forced to take part.

So many colorful characters, all the actors perfectly performed their work. A huge plus of the film lies in the characters - they are ambiguous, and the opinion about personages changes throughout the story. Particularly pleased Yolandi and Ninja. The musical group I followed for a long time (their songs are often heard in the film), without much experience, is an adornment of the film. According to the game, you can even say that they are new to the world of cinema.

It was very unusual to see Hugh Jackman in an atypical negative role for him - sometimes it would be desirable to strangle him directly, how disgusting the character was. Other actors were not lost at all against his background - each turned out to be colorful and interesting in its development.

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I liked the last third of the film very much - straight breathtaking in some moments. But the finale did not please me, although it had to. Too much sugar syrup was poured on us by writers. Maybe it is right, of course, for a family film, but I did not like it.

The film turned out to be exciting, driving, touching. In the film, there is a place both to tragedy and morality. You want to think about our future because yesterday's science fiction is becoming a reality with each day. It makes you think about humanity. It is not news but the fact that people destroy themselves.

I liked that Chappie is shown not as a super robot but a robot with the soul and intellect of a child who is just starting to learn.


A film about the future CHAPPIE - Photo credit: vanityfair

 On A Final Note 

A wonderful, kind, touching film that combines a variety of genres - comedy, melodrama, drama, fantasy, and criminal action organically coexist in the film. And still, this is the right family movie.

CHAPPIE blurs the line between science fiction and reality, capturing in a singularity the idea that even a bit more and robots will walk among us, think, learn, and easily solve even our most complex problems.

This is the embodiment of the anthem to transhumanism, the transfer of consciousness into artificial intelligence and eternal life. At the same time, the film manages not to create the sensation of something prohibitively distant, unreal and unattainable, but, on the contrary, to fit all the fiction into the reality surrounding us.

The authors of the film do not apologize for bold thoughts and ideas, but speak frankly: there must be a technological singularity, an explosive growth rate of scientific and technological progress! And that's how it happens.


[Artificial Intelligence] CHAPPIE Movie Review - Photo credit: imdb

CHAPPIE is an impressive and touching film. And let the critics coldly met the film, it should be given a chance. Watch, and maybe you will love it, just like me. I recommend watching.

Chappie: I don't want to die. I want to live.

Ninja: If you want survive Chappie, you must fight!

Credit: imdb

My rating: 7.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 32/100
Metacritic: 41100
Critics average: 56/100
IMDb: 6.8/10

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