What are we to make of the 'Chappie' trailer, which looks to promise a funny, thoughtful and original science-fiction tale about a robot who "grows up" in the South African slums? On one hand, it's from the director 'District 9.' On the other hand, that same man also directed 'Elysium.' The fact that the trailer name-drops the former and not the latter gives us hope that this is Neill Blomkamp returning to form after his sophomore misfire.
Sharlto Copley (another 'District 9' vet in need of redemption) stars as the title robot, a "reject" who finds his way into a dysfunctional family who decides to raise him as one of their own. Chappie begins the film with the mental capacity of a child and steadily learns more, nurtured by his new loved ones and tormented by seemingly everyone else. It looks surprisingly sweet, which is something we never thought we'd say about a Blomkamp film.
Although Hugh Jackman and Sigourney Weaver play roles in the film, Chappie himself and his lesser known family members seem to be the real stars of the show. Putting focus on unknown performers (Ninja and Yo-Landi Vi$$er of Die Antwoord), strong storytelling, incredible visuals and biting social commentary was a formula that worked well for 'District 9.' Hopefully, it'll work well again here.
Here's the official synopsis:
Every child comes into the world full of promise, and none more so than Chappie: he is gifted, special, a prodigy. Like any child, Chappie will come under the influence of his surroundings - some good, some bad - and he will rely on his heart and soul to find his way in the world and become his own man. But there's one thing that makes Chappie different from anyone else: he is a robot. The first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself. His life, his story, will change the way the world looks at robots and humans forever.
'Chappie' opens in theaters on March 6, 2015.