Director: Neill Blomkamp
Cast: Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, Hugh Jackman
Release Date: Now Available on Blu-Ray & DVD
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9.5/10
Disc Rating: 9/10
In the near future, crime is patrolled by an oppressive mechanized police force. But now, the people are fighting back. When one police droid, Chappie, is stolen and given new programming, he becomes the first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself. As powerful, destructive forces start to see Chappie as a danger to mankind and order, they will stop at nothing to maintain the status quo and ensure that Chappie is the last of his kind.
In the not too distant future, the police force is comprised mostly of robots that are stronger, incorruptible and most importantly easily replaceable. When the robot’s creator Deon (Patel) finally discovers the proper code to artificial intelligence, he is immediately refused the right by his superiors to test it and therefore decides to steal a recently broken robot shell to test it himself with or without permission. While en route home to begin testing, Deon is attacked by a group of colorful gangsters and in order to save his own life he reluctantly agrees to give them the AI. Soon, the AI is alive and now named ‘Chappie’ is more human than Deon could have ever imagined possible. Now Deon must do everything in his power to prevent his impressionable creation from assisting these gangsters in their criminal activity, while also trying to keep Chappie safe as his colleague, an ex-military rival creator (Jackman) will stop at nothing to put Chappie out of commission in order to hopefully acquire a contract for his own creations’ use in the police force.
Neill Blomkamp directed and co-wrote (along with Terri Tatchell who previously co-wrote with Blomkamp on his debut film ‘District 9’) ‘Chappie’ and he does a truly impressive job at the helm, guiding this beautiful and emotionally riveting tale seamlessly. While there has been some argument as to the liking of Blomkamp’s recent films (something I personally don’t understand in the slightest)it would be hard to argue against his growth as a filmmaking with the capable and experienced way in which ‘Chappie’ is handled. ‘Chappie’ is also greatly complimented by the incredibly talented cast, including regular Blompkamp collaborator Sharlto Copley who is at the top of his game with his portrayal of the title character, delivering a magnificent and moving performance. Dev Patel and the rest of the cast deliver more than capable performances in each of their respective roles as well, especially Hugh Jackman who delivers a notable performance in a significantly different role than that of which we commonly see him in.
‘Chappie’ is downright phenomenal and (I’m sure many will be happy to argue this point with me) easily one of the best films so far this year. It’s a powerful and uncompromising emotional rollercoaster that manages to get into your head and really make you feel for this robot as he struggles through his first experiences in this world amidst the most trying of circumstances. It’s a rare occasion when a film manages to so thoroughly worm its way into my head and affect me so drastically on an emotional level; ‘Chappie’ managed to take a situation which one wouldn’t initially imagine to be so emotionally effective and really makes you feel for Chappie and suffer or smile along with his every moment of struggle or happiness. Overall, ‘Chappie’ is a remarkable exploration of humanity and its often baffling choices through fresh eyes and I can’t possibly recommend this film highly enough, it’s well worth a watch at the very least.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Chappie’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks outstanding and easily up to Sony’s usual high standards. It delivers a sharp, colorful and richly detailed presentation throughout, never suffering from any flaws or issues of any sort; holding up impressively even during the numerous action-oriented sequences. Overall, this is a top notch high definition video presentation that should easily satisfy the casual viewers and diehard quality fanatics alike.
The Blu-Ray release features a lossless 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack is clean, discrete and incredibly active, utilizing all seven available channels to their fullest potential to immerse the viewer with the score and numerous action scenes, while additionally taking full advantage of them in every other possible opportunity presented. There appears to be nearly constant activity coming from one speaker or another throughout the film, yet never causing any dialogue that might be occurring simultaneously to become negatively affected or distorted. Overall, this 7.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack sounds wonderful and contributes notably to the overall experience of this fantastic film.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Chappie’ includes a pretty solid collection of extras. Included on the Blu-Ray release is an ‘Alternate Ending’ which runs approximately 5 minutes in length, along with an ‘Extended Scene: Very Bad Man’ (90 seconds) and ‘The Art of Chappie Gallery’ which can be viewed in Slideshow Mode or controlled manually and is separated into sections for simplified browsing. We are also treated to 80 minutes worth (individual approximate runtimes listed below following each title) of Behind the Scenes Featurette’s exploring numerous aspects of what was required in bringing the film to life and featuring behind the scenes footage in addition to members of the cast and crew discussing the film. The included Featurette’s are: ‘From Tetra Vaal to Chappie’ (7 minutes), ‘Chappie: The Streetwise Professor’ (10 minutes), ‘We Are Tetravaal’ (6 minutes), ‘Keep It Gangster’ (7 minutes), ‘Rogue Robot: Deconstructing the Stunts and Special Effects (14 minutes), ‘Arms Race: The Weapons and Robots’ (6 minutes), ‘Bringing Chappie to Life: the Visual Effects’ (8 minutes), and ‘The Reality of Robotics’ (5 minutes). It should be noted that the entirety of the included bonus content with the exception of the Featurette ‘We Are Tetravaal’ are Blu-Ray exclusives and will therefore not be included on the DVD release.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They additionally will suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Film Rating: 9.5/10
Disc Rating: 9/10
‘Chappie’ is Now Available to own on Blu-ray and DVD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
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