After exploding into the world with District 9, Neill Blomkamp’s follow up, Elysium, showed potential, but didn’t fully deliver. Still, he’s one of the most exciting and promising young filmmakers working in science fiction, and his next film, Chappie, is quickly coming down the pipe. Though we’re still a few months off, Sony Pictures released this new trailer that not only sheds more light on the story, it also makes Chappie look like not-too-distant relative of RoboCop.
This trailer provides a lot more exposition than what we’ve seen thus far. For instance, now we know that the title robot, voiced by Blomkamp’s frequent collaborator Sharlto Copley, began life as part of a new robotic police force.
Like RoboCop, there seem to be two competing sides for the slot providing law and order. On one side, you have Chappie’s creator, Deon Wilson (Dev Patel), who is a kinder, gentler soul, more concerned with making a machine that can think and feel rather than tool of war. From his perspective, Chappie is a new life form, a new step in evolution.
On the other side, you have Vincent Moore, a former soldier played by Hugh Jackman with a sweet, sweet mullet. His entry into these sweepstakes is an ED-209-looking, mech-drone kind of thing, remotely controlled by a human driver.
As Deon and his crew, including Yolandi Vi$$er and Ninja from rap-rave duo Die Antwoord, teach Chappie to be a real live boy, Vincent spies on them in that very non-sneaky, nefarious-movie-villain way of barely concealing himself around a corner with a pair of binoculars.
He’s somehow connected to Sigourney Weaver’s character, who we don’t know much about, but obviously sits in a seat of power.
This video definitely plays up the action angle. While you have lots of robot clashes, big sweeping shots of the city, and cool looking special effects and high-octane scenes, you also get a good glimpse of what we’re going to get on the more personal, emotional side. Chappie is essentially a child, seeing everything for the first time, imbued with a sense of wonder at the world. But he’s also different, which we all know means he’s going to face massive intolerance from those unwilling to accept him for who and what he is. This allegorical element is right up Blomkamp’s alley.
For instance, Chappie is going to have to fight this terrifying monstrosity…
…and this dude is going to teach him how to fight (and probably cook meth in the trunk of a car).
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.
We’re really looking forward to Chappie and hope that this time around, Blomkamp’s keep the political metaphors more infused into the story, like with District 9, rather than using the blunt hammer approach he employed in Elysium. It looks like it could go either way with some of that too-on-the-nose dialogue.
Chappie opens everywhere March 6.