Sheldon Cooper In Alien Form: Adorable Adventure

Home

            When you think of Jim Parsons what comes to mind? Most likely it is Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang theory, as this character become one with the young actor. This weekend, Mr. Parsons has lent his voice talents to the latest animated movie entitled Home that is sure to be a delight for your young ones. This tale is about an alien named Oh (Jim Parsons), who is united with a human girl named Tip (Rihanna) while running from his people. What adventures will ensue in this latest computer generated quest? Read on to find out.

If I had to sum up this movie in one word it would be adorable. Names like Oh, Tip, and Pig are just the surface of the theme of this movie. In what is sure to be the next wave of plush animals, Home contains colorful, cute characters with big eyes, adorable smiles, and cherubic designs. Little kids will love the explosion of rather bright colors in a world that looks very similar to something out of a Dr. Seuss book. Many in my audience loved the Boovs, the aliens essentially walking mood rings that changed from purple to various colors depending on their emotion at the time. Others loved the fat cat named Pig, whose curly tail and rotund form had little girls pining to own a “Pig” of their own, poor parents.

Yet despite the adorable presentation, Home surprisingly has a good emotional spectrum spread in the short 94 minute run time. A majority of the movie is indeed silly fun, where Oh’s childish antics and experimentation with Earth objects had both young and young at heart laughing. Eating urinal cakes, potty humor, and slapstick stumbles had everyone, including myself, laughing at the fun this movie was. For the more adult humor group, there aren’t too many hidden jokes in this film (i.e. Shrek), but there are some clever puns and references in the tale that I think will get a chuckle out of you.

Fun aside, Home also has a combination of happiness, sadness and love. Happiness is the dominant emotion of the movie, and the cast promotes a positive message of hope, kindness, and fun that kept me smiling. Those feelings were occasionally extinguished when the sadder moments hit. In particular when Oh was shunned by his society, despite his good intentions, I could feel my heart breaking at the relatable situations Oh and I share. Fortunately an awkward guy like m loved seeing he and Tip promoting friendship, and promoting the concepts of truth, loyalty, and kindness to have a successful friendship. Sure there were moments this tale got preachy, but the theatrical magic helped taper the cheesiness down, while still keeping the lesson.

All of these great qualities would be nothing though without the voice acting to bring these digital characters to life. Parsons in particular steals the show, integrating Sheldon in both mannerisms and vocal context into Oh. The little alien has all the qualities of our physics genius, and brings plenty of the familiar laughs we fell in love with years ago. Rihanna on the other hand was… okay. The songstress’s voice sounded too out of place on a young girl. She didn’t have Parsons’ finesse and thus didn’t bring the edge others brought to the movie. Oh well, they got some plot elements and a soundtrack from her involvement, the latter adding a little extra to the film.. As for Steve Martin, his voice fit well for an egotistical leader, and had a nice delivery to make me laugh, though his character’s creative use of mundane objects was funnier.

The final things to report are the animation and story. Home’s design team did a great job with their work. Characters flowed, lights flashed in a sea of color, and the world was a beautiful, albeit cartoony, piece of work. The story though is very formulaic though, lacking little twist or surprise that I was hoping to see. The tale is definitely designed with kids in mind, and what little suspense that exists is not that thrilling, but more humorous.

Home is a great family movie that I feel most audiences will enjoy. The cute characters, colorful world, and fun adventure are all elements I feel will rope your little ones in and the great animation will keep them locked on the screen. While the story is not the most engaging, and they rely heavily on Parsons to make the movie, Home is just a movie to have a good time with. I recommend catching this movie in theaters in the near future, especially for a family night out.

My scores are:

 

Animation/Adventure/Comedy: 8.0

Movie Overall: 7.5

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Got Hard On Racial Stereotypes! A Simplistic Comedy That Tries Too Hard

Get Hard

            It seems like comedies are trying just about anything to get a laugh these days, scraping the bottom of the barrel for potential plots. As a result we get movies like Unfinished Business, Ride Along, and now Get Hard. To help breathe some life into the ridiculous tale the trailers show, the casting department has roped comedic legends Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell to help pull in some box office bucks. From the trailers you might expect:

  • A comedy about stereotypical prison motifs
  • Strong racist jokes that most likely know no bounds
  • Crappy plot that is usual of both of these actors
  • Same old comedy styles of the actors

So what do you get?

I can report the first two points are the strongest themes of this movie. The plot for those who don’t know is about Will Ferrell’s character James being arrested for embezzling and fraud.   The eccentric and arrogant millionaire has 30 days to get his affairs in order, which involves learning to survive in prison by local car washer Darnell (Kevin Hart). Already you might be cringing, but I admit some of the prison humor is creative, in particular the prison setup itself. I laughed more at the setting itself than the actual jokes, due to the simplistic setup and irony of James’ staff being the wardens. Unfortunately the jokes weren’t as entertaining, most of the scenes were shown in the trailers and those that weren’t, focused on the same joke themes of sex, sex, and a little prison fighting. Coat all of these jokes with curse-laden frosting and you get a mediocre comedy whose only break comes from Ferrell’s ridiculous rants. For your information, the prison riot scene has some intense strobe light action, which may precipitate seizures. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

How do they attempt to keep the prison jokes fresh? By adding every racial profile and stereotype joke you can think of. Get Hard spares no expense to poke fun at our perspectives of folks that end up in prison. Over the 100 minutes, you’ll get pummeled with mannerisms and lingo that are often associated with African thug life, including Ferrell trying on his “black face” as he calls it. They even threw in a few thug track lists to help seal the deal, some of the songs I do like. I chuckled at a few of these jokes, particular at Hart’s little impressions he plays so well, however like the prison jokes these too became stale, losing their comedic edge. Most of the jokes will be taken okay, but like always they occasionally overstep their boundaries with their jokes, perhaps starting another boycott for racial slurs. So here I warn that if you are easily offense by color jokes, you should skip this movie.

To my surprise the plot actually wasn’t half bad in this film. Get Hard has some a decent foundation for the jokes to hold anchor to mainly in the form of shaping James from pompous wuss into street champion. However there is a cute tale of brotherhood that adds some depth to otherwise one-dimensional characters and gives a little something else to the film, though not as good as Wedding Ringer. Yet it still is shallow and simplistic, and doesn’t have the emotional kick I would have liked to see.

Acting wise there isn’t much unique about this performance. Hart takes a step back towards his roots with a few shouting rants interspersed with his typical F bomb dialog. Fortunately he hasn’t returned all the way back, managing to dial down his craziness with some clever lines and good comedic timing. This allowed me to once again enjoy his comedy without wanting to punch his face in or rip my ears off, a positive thing indeed.. I can’t say the same for Ferrell though. Somehow the hairy, homely looking white guy gets a hot woman and other than money I can’t figure out why? Babes aside though, Ferrell is still the pompous, overconfident boob he always plays in his movies. He still carries his lines with that air of superiority, though in this installment he frequently degrades into a whiney, pathetic baby. I felt he tried to hard in this movie, forcing his lines on me instead of perfecting the delivery like he used to do. Much of his lines were in that high pitched whisper from Elf, only without the over-energetic emphasis that Buddy had so long ago.

If you haven’t guessed it yet, I did not enjoy this movie as much I had hoped. Get Hard is indeed another simplistic comedy, where one is bombarded by endless jokes and derogative laughs. Sure it is fun at first, but most of the funny parts were shown in the trailers, and without the course language. Yet for those who love the comedians’ work, you’ll most likely laugh your heads off with the racial profanities and prison slapstick. You’ll enjoy it even more if you are drunk. Overall the choice is yours, but I recommend saving your money and catching this movie on RedBox in a few months. Believe me you can wait.

My scores are:

Comedy: 6.0

Movie Overall: 5.0

Gunman No Funman

The Gunman

            When you hear a movie titled the Gunman what do you think of? For me I think of a few scenarios that come to mind: an action pack shoot em up movie, something on the lines of James Bond, or following down the rogue agent Bourne pathway. So I can’t help but say I was excited for this movie this weekend, especially with Sean Penn leading the cast. With few trailers to give me insight, I eagerly headed to my local theater to give this film a try.

Unfortunately the movie did not go down the expected path, and even worse it took the wrong direction for this reviewer. For those uncertain of the plot, Gunman is about a sniper named Terrier who is targeted for assassination by an unknown group. In order to save himself and his loved ones, he must dig deep into a convoluted scheme that may related back to an incident. I know sounds awesome right, if old hat, but Gunman held some promise of action mixed in with good old fashioned spying.

Not the case my friends. Gunman is actually a snooze fest, being one of the first movies to make me nap in almost half a year. It starts with the pace of the movie, not necessarily too slow, but just enough that you start to lose interest. For me, it wasn’t that the plot was boring, but the details they tried to lay out for us were very convoluted, many details ambiguous and confusing in their presentation. Many of the scenes involved him obsessing over his former love, which after a few arguments and an unnecessary sex scene, started to grow staler than month old bread. Now don’t get me wrong, convoluted plots can be a good thing, but they require a good presentation that keeps one engaged in the movie. And this film did not do it for me.

Perhaps I could have been entertained more if the action had lived up to my, I’ll admit, high expectations. The opening shot scene was nothing special, but the following skirmish held some promise for excitement down the line. And in truth, two or three battles brought the flash in the pot, bang in your ear entertainment that I so crave. Despite being an elite shooter, Terrier didn’t have perfect accuracy, and had to pull some creative stunts to take down his killers, who by the way could actually hit him. Taking away our hero’s invincibility was a smart move, but some battles get led down the wrong path, or are a repeat of an earlier fight. Kills are graphic, the camera not shying away from someone’s head getting a new hole, as torrents of red litter the ground. If you are up for this kind of stuff, then by all means stop reading this review and head down to the theater. Looking back over the movie though, I can’t say the action was as on point or exciting as I had hoped, nor as fast as these scenes sometime need to be.

Helping save this movie from complete failure was the acting. Sean Penn as Terrier was good. The actor was able to transition across the emotional spectrum, being a relief worker with a little troublemaker streak to an angry killer on the loose. Penn has always had a talent for playing well developed characters, and while annoying as this role is, he still plays it well. Jasmine Trica as Annie was a decent addition to the cast, though I must say her character could have been much stronger than they made her. Trica’s main talent involved huffing, puffing, and crying as people died. Her dialog was too shallow for me and they threw her as nothing but an object for Terrier to protect. Javier Barden brings his Hispanic background back to the screen, but his role was very short and unfortunately very sad as a love obsessed, drunk who loses his min. Not my favorite role, but again he does okay. As for Idris Elba, he is hardly in the film for fifteen minutes, really only to bring some “coded” advice and a means to end the movie. No offense Elba, but had you been tailing Penn for the whole movie, I might have boosted your score.

Special effects wise, the editing worked for me in this movie. Stable camera angles and detailed fighting helped bring the action to life. The battlefields that became the stage for our fights were also beautiful, crafted or located in a variety of settings. Some were cool like a mansion, and others were ridiculous, like at a matador arena. Nevertheless we had an epic soundtrack to add some slight touches of excitement to the mix, as well as high definition pings, twacks, and booms to nearly deafen your ears. Unfortunately the team’s cuts of the footage were nowhere near perfect for me, even though they were under the 2 hour mark. I don’t know why they kept half of the dialog heavy scenes in, especially when they kept us going in circles. Oh what a waste of good film.

The Gunman is not the movie I expected it to be, and despite the assembled cast of actors, the potential was lost by poor pace and story. With an overly ambiguous plot, and a pace that moves like a snail, the execution of this movie was below par. Those who are fans of extreme violence and profanity, as well as shots of African poverty are at home in this film, but otherwise skip this for something better. A trip to the theater is not recommended from me, but we all know enough desire can make you see anything.

Overall my scores for Gunman are:

Action/Crime/Drama: 6.5

Movie Overall: 5.5

Diverging From the Plot, Insurgent Lacks On Some Needed Elements

Insurgent

We start this weekend off with the latest novel turned movie that is supposedly the best seen in years. Yeah I’ve heard that line before, so naturally I’ve been sent to scope it out. As always, what might the trailers have you expect:

  • A movie that sticks close to the book
  • Action sequences that are exciting
  • Dramatic dialogue that will bring memorable quotes
  • Well edited shots and scenes.

So what did I get from this movie that the trailers made look so good.

  1. When it comes to following the book, Insurgent only loosely captures the complex infrastructure the novel set up. Most of the important plot elements are portrayed, while neglecting some of the specifics. The real element this film leaves out is the involvement of the other characters, and the important relationships pertinent to the story. Many of the divergent faction appear briefly, throwing out a few lines before they blend into the background with the other gun-toting rebels. Fans of the series will be disappointed to find key players in this second tale reduced to mere backstory, effectively removing their influence in the tale. Many of the story elements lacked emotional depth, the big revelations and twists not that engaging for me. Also a few parts were ambiguous, left unanswered or unexplained that left me scratching my head. I think the main reason for this was because of the missing details from the story, many if included would have probably made for more excitement.
  1. Another factor that failed for me was the action. The trailers called this tale action packed, with excitement in every moment. Big shock, this emphasis is a lie. When there are action moments they can be good, the train battle in the beginning was the kind of excitement I liked. However, most of the battles are brief skirmishes, with fake looking guns firing aimlessly as the bad guys surprisingly lack any skills. A few hand to hand combat moves helped relieve some of the mindless shooting, but not enough for me to agree with the promises the trailer made. What is the positive side of this? Well it means your preteens and young audience members won’t have to worry about too much violence, always a plus in my book. I can also say that the action pretty much had a purpose in this movie too, rather than just putting the fight in for no reason. Thus, despite the action promised in the trailers, Insurgence did not provide the adrenaline rush I thought it would
  1. Instead of action, the bulk of the movie is over dramatic dialog and lots of talking between two attractive actors. While the book does have a lot of drama, it at least gives enough drive and deception to keep you guessing at what will happen next. In the movie that wasn’t the case. A lot of the tone was very flat, only diverging from bland when anger escaped in bouts of screaming. The exception to the rule would be the dialog between Tris and Jeanine, which has enough zest and ire that symbolizes their relationship. Again not the best emotion, as Tris continues to suppress her anger and guilt. Yeah there are a few sappy moments that might jerk some tears from you, but this movie was a bit too monotone for me. Luckily the dialog has some mix of planning and backstory to help dilute the rather lackluster emotion they seem to show.
  1. One main strength of this movie is the editing involved bringing this world to life. The costumes and settings are a combination of computer generated images and detailed set work. I’m impressed with their work and found the integration of the actors in the movie both realistic and well animated. Sure a few of the scenes were obviously fake, the floating room in the trailer being one moment where CGI wasn’t completely detailed. However, the superior technology and warfare were creatively visualized and portrayed from the book.. It is just unfortunate that more of the book could have been adapted, but then again this might have led to an incredibly long movie, or even worse a second part. I think audience members will feel apart of the dystopia that is this story, and will become immersed in the setting.
  1. As a bonus point we’ll quickly talk about the acting. Shailene Woodley leads the assemble in this tale and she does a decent job. She doesn’t have as much emotion as her other roles, but her cries and screams are quite funny at times. Theo James as Four definitely brings eye candy to the role, as well as the rogue attitude that girls fall for. However, he too falls into one emotion, only breaking the mold when he has to get angry. Then there is Kate Winslet who played the superiority role to the letter. I hated her character, wanting to punch Jeanine in the face multiple times before the film was over. I found her a perfect casting for the role.

Overall this movie is okay, but it’s deviation from the relationships in the novel left the film lacking in plot elements. While the dialog is great for drama lovers, and some big points are there, the lack of action, pace, and dramatic flare dulled the shine I hoped it would have. My opinion the first movie is better, but chances are you will still see this movie in theaters. Worth a trip to theater? I would say yes for the effects, but for quality better left to home watching.

My scores:

Action/Sci-Fi/Thriller: 7.0

Movie Overall: 6.0

Much Like Taken, This Film is An Entertaining Action Flick

Run All Night

            It’s hard to remember time when Liam Neeson wasn’t playing the loose canon agent role. But unfortunately with the way Hollywood works, it seems we are going to continue seeing this part for many years to come. His latest gung ho adventure is entitled Run All Night, a movie that snuck up on me until just last month. After seeing the trailers, quite a few times, here is what I, and maybe you, have come to expect:

  • Liam Neeson playing his typical role
  • Lots of exciting gunplay and action
  • A typical crime/drama plot of some sort

As always, my job is to do my best to inform you about what you get. So here we go.

  1. If you haven’t grown tired of Liam Neeson playing the fearless bad boy than chances are you won’t be disappointed with this role. This time around he plays Jimmy, a hit man for his best friend Sean (Ed Harris) who runs a corrupt set of businesses that essentially cover the city. As always, his character has some traumatic past that has ripped away his emotions, with only one or two things to keep him tethered to his life. Neeson still brings that intense, smooth, isotonic tone to the big screen, seldom deviating from the voice that won so many in Taken. It’s old hat by now, so don’t expect too much difference other than he is not the hero in this tale.
  1. Also carrying over is the typical action that Neeson is associated with these days. Now I admit this action is not consistent between films, but for the most part they follow a similar formula. Fortunately, director Jaume Collet-Serra decided to return to the action roots of Taken and learning to balance gunplay with plot. Fans will enjoy the epic stunts pulled off in this movie including a fast and furious car chase, strategic fleeing from an army of cops, and shoot outs spread throughout the entire New York city scape. While it is still amazing how accurate our hero is, the bad guys for once aren’t completely incompetent when working a gun. Jimmy and his son (Joel Kinnaman) take a near brush with death once or twice in this film. With the lack of immortality that is usually bestowed to our heroes, the suspense of this movie kept me intrigued. Even better was the introduction of different types of thugs ranging from nameless henchmen to special grade professional killers (aka rapper Common). The thugs bring about their own set of skills that Jimmy has to fend off and brings some diversity to a series that is desperately needing it. What else does that mean for you? Lots of blood and close up shots of Jimmy taking down bad guys one body at a time.
  1. The plot itself has the same structural framework of Neeson’s character being pulled into some dark scheme that he has to shoot his way out of. The twist this time is a vendetta that is set up when Jimmy shoots his best friend’s son, who was already in a lot of mess before the movie. A simplistic tale of protecting family and shooting bad guys follows, which should please many an action fan alike. The plot is balanced with just enough details to keep the action going, but not dragged out to ebb the adrenaline. Despite it being predictable, I must say that this movie is one of the better Neeson films in terms of character development. Sure there are some details that are skimped or left unanswered, and some plot elements are quite redundant and unnecessary. However, for the most part the information is kept in check and supportive for the whole movie and a decent action plot nonetheless.
  1. I can say the sound and video editing are also well designed in this movie. The camera work, for the most part, is steady and stable, capturing all the glorious action for you to see. Fans may jump out of their seat, either in joy or fear, as the guns blare in glorious high definition, the bullets ricocheting off the numerous metallic walls. In addition, the editing team also did a great job finding shots that helped add a subtle taste of drama to the mix, once or twice attempting to fool you as to what would happen. The team also managed to do all this in a convenient 105 minutes, something that most movies fail to accomplish.

I could talk more about things like acting, but aside from Liam Neeson most aren’t going to care about the assembled cast. So why don’t we wrap this review up. Run All Night is a decent movie that brings the adrenaline of Taken rushing back to you. Neeson’s typical character will lead you on an adventure that should please action junkies until Fast 7 arrives. While the story could use some more development in terms of characters, it is not the worst plot I’ve ever seen. Still fans of the Scottish actor’s past films are not going to want to miss this movie as it stands high on my list of his movies. Worth a trip to the theater? For the special effects and movie magic, I have to say yes. However, you could probably get by watching Taken at home until the movie comes out on Netflix.

As always here are my scores:

 

Action/Crime/Drama: 7.5

Movie Overall: 7.0

Movie, Makeup, and Acting Bring Magic To This Film

Cinderella

            Disney is at it again this weekend, remaking a classic movie with a modern twist. This time they continue the real life princess momentum with Cinderella, a tale that is close to my heart. Numerous advertisements and television specials have painted what looked to be a promising movie, and seemed to leave nothing to the imagination. With little mystery left of this movie, I had doubts as to whether this movie would impress me. So taking a trip back to the old style, let’s get down to business.

The thing about Cinderella I always remembered was how cute the whole tale was. In this modern version that cuteness remains with through the fun little quirks the team has designed. First off the budding romance between the prince and the princess, which you know is coming, is very sweet, holding all the qualities that true love SHOULD be. Cinderella focuses on the important qualities love and curbs the movie glamour to emphasize inner beauty despite the gorgeous outer beauty. Second factor is Cinderella herself. She has a bubbly personality, coupled with kindness that brings that heartwarming effect that these movies need to bring more often.   And for once it didn’t cross into the cheesy love that also is common in these stories. Yet the cutest factor for me was the integration of mice back into Cinderella’s life. Yes you heard me; the loveable GusGus is back, though this time without the digitally mastered voice. Along with a feminized Jacque, now Jacqueline, the small family of rodents provides some comedic relief in the form of slapstick comedy. While not the remotely close to funny, the mice are definitely adorable in all their squeaks and big eyed antics that only the heartless, or those with an aversion to mice, can hate.

Yet cuteness alone does not make a good movie, it requires a strong cast to bring the characters to life. Fortunately the casting director did their job as the Cinderella’s teams of performers are well grouped. The star of course is Lily James, the lovely woman whose physical and inner beauty shines throughout the entire movie. She captures the inner strength and kindness that Cinderella is famous for, bringing a positive energy that radiates from the screen into you. I couldn’t help but smile and feel the hope she promised with the good-natured soul she had, her smile in particular mirroring those values. However, she wasn’t some high on life hippy, as Cinderella’s suffering was the stronger of the two emotions. Making me empathize with her. Enough about the star though, let’s get to the charming prince of the tale. Richard Madden makes a good prince, handsome, wholesome, and actually representative of the characteristic he is supposed to have. He carries the pride of a prince, but also remains humble and has the good inner qualities that are truly noble. I can’t say if girls will be attracted to him, but this reviewer liked the realistic nobility that defied the stereotypical tools we usually get. Cate Blanchett’s poise and deceptive demeanor rings strong in this movie. That haunting tone she makes famous returns, with a little cruel humor thrown in to mix things up and tickle some funny bones. And of course we can’t forget the talented Helena Bonham Carter can we. The multifaced actress again blows the roof off an iconic role, bringing a refreshing taste back to a tried and true part. Her time as the Godmother brings the humor all ages will love, her klutzy demeanor and honest to a fault lines perfect to uplift the “depressing” scene she appears in.

However the biggest strengths of this movie are the special effects, costumes, and makeup of the movie. Cinderella is filled to the brim with fireworks, scenery, and magical spells of light that will make you feel you are in Disney world. I was pulled into the setting with the colorful creations the effects team made, and how well integrated they were into the movie. While the effects pulled me in, the costumes and makeup were what kept me impressed in the movie. The beautiful gowns and dresses were crafted to match the personalities of our characters in both color and flare factor, as I like to call it. My favorite dress in particular, definitely goes to the classic blue gown of Ella’s, the modern upgrade to the sapphire blue a very beautiful choice that I agree with. And as for the makeup, well the artists get another round of applause from me. From the subtle touchups to make our cast sparkle to Carter’s hag makeup, there were plenty of touchup that impressed this reviewer. The goose and lizard makeup in particular were my favorites as they blended both animal and human qualities together in a way that reminded me of a Face Off challenge.

I had low expectations going into this movie, but Cinderella did entertain and impress me. Yes it is predictable, and doesn’t quite capture the fun the animated film did. However, the cast and crew have recreated the world and added a few twists to revive the drab Disney tale. It lacks a lot of driving factors, especially the danger and darkness to help keep up the suspense, and it also could have favored from some wittier comedy to bridge the audience gap. Family’s will enjoy this tale though, and if you are like me, will feel as if they were living in a Disney World dream. Is it worth a trip to theater? I have to say yes, especially a movie that little ones will enjoy, but please gage your child’s attention spans before making the trek.

My scores for this charming film are:

Adventure/Drama/Family: 8.0

Movie Overall: 7.5

Chappie Want To Know Why Dark?

Chappie

            Fans of Neil Blomkamp rejoice, another tale has arisen to slap us in the face about the pessimistic place the world is. This time his vision is in the form of a robot, who obtains artificial intelligence that will, as always, revolutionize the world. While we all know the usual consequences of this motion, you never know what twists Blomkamp’s movies will have. Thus for this movie called Chappie, the trailers may have you…

 

Expect: A dark, cynical tale about how humans suck, action, and something weird will happen.

 

What you get:

 

Blomkamp has an obsession with darker films, as seen in District 9 and Elysium. Chappie from the start brings out that darkness, plopping us in the middle of civil unrest and death as war breaks out between thugs and the robotic police force. For nearly two hours, this darkness continues to grow as we are subjugated to heavy dialog that begins to question the roles and responsibilities of humans. Why is this dark you ask? Because Blomkamp chooses to address the negative side of things, often emphasizing the less attractive qualities of greed, anger, jealousy, and arrogance to a fault. We get it humans suck, how many times do you have to deliver the same message? His efforts to further analyze the flaws of humanity are further exaggerated by panoramic shots of shacks and grime filled buildings, as well as curse laden dialog. I indeed did feel some of the message, but the movie went too far on some of the characters that I grew annoyed or laughed at the ridiculous direction the film took. Some of the scenes were a bit too much for me at times, especially the bouts of torture or slander that Chappie, the one ray of hope in this movie, had to endure. His innocence was supposed to offset the darkness, but Blomkamp and crew quickly washed that away and left me more depressed than anything.

I think the darkness was further enhanced by the impressive editing the team did on the movie. In particular Chappie was animated beautifully, his detail and movements flowing without flaw. The robot is human all on his own, and shows the gullible side of our selves, in particular when we are children aiming to please. Throw in the gut wrenching orchestra work and the sadness and dismay of the plot continues to unfold and leave you a little morbid at being humans. His message is clear we need to take action, but come on a little more happiness could have gone a long way.

Action wise the movie follows the same formula his previous installments have. The movie starts out with pedal to the medal shootout excitement to help establish how Chappie comes to be. However the adrenaline quickly ebbs as the ethical discussions begin and we are left to sit through about an hour and half of dialogue before the next bout of fighting begins. The end game is not quite as exhilarating though, the epic shoot out turning more bloodbath and bang as our cast of characters are tortured. Again darkness seems to be the calling of this tale, and the action is not spared of the honed, ruthless edge of blood and death. The scenes are also melodramatic as well, the actors falling in cascades of slow motion screaming and running. I wasn’t impressed with the promise the trailers held, but again you never know with Blomkamp.

As for the weird factor… well the entire movie is pretty much weird. The artificial intelligence angle has been played a bunch of times, but this one is a bit weird in terms of Chappie thinking the humans are its parents. Another twist was discussing the nature of consciousness and its involvement in making us human. You’ll find this is centered once again around death, and is relayed to what a soul is. Such concepts may be a little too much for some audience members, and I admit leads to some very “interesting” albeit philosophical paths. You will find that the ending is very similar to some other big blockbuster plots. I can say that the ending provides some light at the end of the dark tunnel, but it also leaves it on an ambiguous note as well, most likely to open for another potential sequel.

I can say Chappie is a very well produced movie, with fantastic special effects, animation, and a reassessment of humanity. Yet the cynical approach to this movie left me depressed, which when combined with the morbid dialog bored me at times. This film is definitely an artistic, with much symbology and passion captured on screen, but I still look for more entertainment in my movies. So who can I recommend this movie to? I will definitely recommend this film to fans of District 9 and Elysium, as well as those who like a dark approach to their science fiction movies. In addition if you like having a philosophical blow out during a movie, again I recommend this. Otherwise, skip this film and wait for next weekend’s releases as they hold more promise.

 

My scores for this movie are:

 

Action/Sci-Fi/Thriller: 7.0

Overall: 6.5