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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Action > Drama > Technology > Robots > CHAPPiE (2015/Sony Blu-ray)

CHAPPiE (2015/Sony Blu-ray)

Picture: B+ Sound: B+ Extras: B Film: B

Neill Blomkamp is one of Hollywood's brightest and visually talented filmmakers, who has really pushed the boundaries of big budgeted Science Fiction filmmaking. His first film, District 9, was a huge hit and had incredible special effects to help back its tightly written screenplay that lent itself to both the fake documentary realm and the narrative science fiction realm. It also introduced the world to actor Sharlto Copley, to whom Blomkamp has used in every film of his since.

His second film, Elysium starring Matt Damon (with Copely as the villain this time), was something of a disappointment due mainly to the hype surrounding it and several plot holes despite an impressive (again) display of Special Effects. While mainly critics were disappointed with CHAPPiE, I found it to be way more entertaining than Elysium however, not quite on the same level as District 9.

CHAPPiE boasts an impressive cast, incredible special effects, and one of the more human and like-able android characters in recent memory. Copely stars as CHAPPiE, behind the guise of Motion Capture Computer Generation and bestows a performance that even Mo-Cap god Andy Serkis would have difficulty matching.

Set in Africa, like all of Blomkamp's films thus far (he is a native there), in the near future, crime is patrolled by an oppressive mechanized police force created by Deon Wilson (Dev Patel of Slumdog Millionaire and HBO's The Newsroom). 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 though under the bad influence of a gang who is holding him as a ransom piece and soon as an accessory in grand theft auto and robberies. As powerful, destructive forces start to see CHAPPiE as a danger to mankind and order, and a jealous co-worker (Jackman) who has a robot fighting machine that he hopes to blow CHAPPiE out of the water with, the deadly forces all around will stop at nothing to maintain the status quo and ensure that CHAPPiE is the last of his kind.

The film stars Copely, Patel, Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, and Die Antwoord band members Ninja and Yolanda to whom bring some of their bizarre music to the fold here as well. Borrowing some elements from Robocop, Short Circuit, and even iRobot, the film manages to bring up exciting new ideas in the robot genre and give you a character of artificial intelligence that you actually begin to feel for more and more as the film progresses.

Sony has done an incredible job with the sound and picture quality in this Blu-ray release, sporting a glorious 4K transfer in 1080p high definition with a 2.39:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a tight, lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 mix that doesn't disappoint. The details throughout are breathtaking as Sony remains as one of the leaders of the format with incredible high definition details.

In addition, there are some great extras on the disc including an alternate ending and over an hour of extras including Character Design featurettes, and others exploring the making of the film. If you are a fan of the robot cycle of the science fiction genre as I am, or just love big budgeted science fiction films, then CHAPPiE one I would definitely recommend checking out. It's above and beyond that awful Robocop reboot last year and while the script isn't perfect, it still creates a very detailed world and a character that you can rally behind. I'm very excited to see what Blomkamp does with the Alien franchise in the future.

- James Harland Lockhart V



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