RELEASE DATE: March 6, 2015
STUDIO: Columbia Pictures (Sony)
DIRECTOR: Neill Blomkamp
MPAA RATING: R (for violence, language and brief nudity)
STARRING: Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Dev Patel, Sharlto Copley, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Ninja and Yo-Landi Visser
GENRE: Action, Adventure
Chappie, on it’s surface looks like a movie about a self aware robot with lots of action in it. That is not true in the least. What you get is a movie about some crazy concepts. The film questions what happens when you make a sentient being of a robot who has to learn like a baby (at an extremely accelerated speed mind you). You go through the film as Chappie has to figure out who he is and what his place is in the world like every person born has to. Except from day one he is exposed to the best and worst of humanity. What would that do to you or me if we came in to the world that way ? It also deals with how far technological science should be pushed. It makes for a film that asks good questions in some of the wrong ways.
Sharlto Copley plays the title character of Chappie. He and a team of animators bring Chappie to life in an incredibly real and awe inspiring way. Copley plays the robotic police scout with a depth and innocence that draws you in and makes you care about him from the start of his consciousness. He makes you laugh and (I’m man enough to admit) cry. His overall performance should get him some sort of recognition. Dev Patel plays Deon whom created Chappie and his kin. He is kind but determined to prove that artificial intelligence that are conscious of themselves is a good idea. He plays the part decently but it just seems too cliche. Yo-Landi and Ninja (of South African rap group Die Antwoord fame) pretty much play future versions of themselves. Granted, without money or fame and some extensive criminal activity under their belts. They act as surrogate parents for Chappie and represent almost the best and worst in humanity. With Yo-Landi being the loving mother teaching and nurturing Chappie. On the other hand, Ninja is the bad influence that seems intent on showing Chappie how bad the world can be and use Chappie for his own self serving purposes. The parenting scenes offer some of the best parts of the movie but are sometimes a little too silly to an eye rolling effect. Hugh Jackman plays a jealous engineer being out shined by Deon. The part is fairly shallow and isn’t much for the talented Mr. Jackman to sink his teeth in to. Also Sigourney Weaver is a straight forward business woman with little to do in this film.
Neill Blomkamp seems to think the near future is bleak for us as is evidenced by this and his two other films District 9 and Elysium. The near future Johannesburg, South Africa portrayed here is dingy and almost Mad Max like in it’s appearance and structure. It looks as down trodden as the people that inhabit it. This gives the world the right tone for this movie to play out in. It makes for a disturbingly plausible view of the future.
As a sci-fi movie I think it’s good, not amazing, but good. It asks serious questions about the consequences of technological advancement and how far is too far. Also, it speculates on how exposing a child to the craziness and harness of the world too fast can cause harm. The special effects are done well as Chappie never seems computer animated in his scenes. If nothing else the performance of Chappie by Sharlto Copley is worth you watching this one.
No Question Mark Box Here; Super Mario Delivers a 1-Up in Theaters
If you were born in the ’80s, ’90s, or literally ANY decade after those, you know about Super Mario. A cultural phenomenon was brought to life on the big screen this last weekend. One that has not only stood the test of time but reinvented itself time and time again. This wasn’t even the first time it’s been made into a movie but, well, let’s be honest.. some of us choose not to acknowledge the LIVE action adaptation of the beloved game from 30 years ago.
It was pretty bad… But this was animation. ILLUMINATION animation at that. The Universal company that brought us Gru and his Minions, showed us the Secret Life of Pets, and gave us a reason to SING! Still, I had my reservations and even some concerns, especially when the casting was announced.
Eyebrows were raised. As big of stars as they were on paper, could they really deliver on voicing characters from a staple of our childhood? They did.
Chris Pratt and Charlie Day may not be Italian, and Jack Black may not be a King or Turtle creature from the Mushroom Kingdom, but they make the characters their own all while paying homage to the lore of a video game.
From the jump, the story reintroduces us to the brothers that just want to save Brooklyn one clogged sink at a time. We feel an instant connection and relate to these “underdogs of the plumbing world”. The movie is riddled with easter eggs, each of which tugs on the heartstrings of every generation of Mario fandom. And the soundtrack was beautifully put together to not only make us feel like we’re taking a walkthrough of the game but like an experience all its own with some familiar favorites thrown in.
Every word in the movie is pure eye candy for both those that are casual fans, and those analyzing every frame to see what they’ll catch next. Bowser’s ship, the Mushroom Kingdom, Kong’s arena, and the Rainbow Road.. They’re all meant to give us just enough of a “new” look at these amazing worlds, but stay true to how we remember them.
The movie itself moves along at the perfect pace. Although, if you don’t really know ANYTHING about the Super Mario Bros, you may have gotten a little lost and felt left behind in the green tunnel. But that’s ok! It’s an adventure of the imagination and a classic story of a boy that meets a girl and tries to save the world from a monster that wants to destroy it.
What’s funny is that you could easily say this is a story about two characters who couldn’t be more opposite if they tried, battling to win the heart of a princess. Who would’ve thought that the King of the Koopas was just trying to impress his crush?
And that song? Ohhh THAT song! It’s my new ringtone and deserves the Oscar for Best Original Song.
Back to the movie.
Universal and Illumination clearly understood the assignment. Is it missing some things or could things have been done differently or even better? Absolutely! We’re the worst critics of the things we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts. But if you’re up for going on a 90-minute adventure through amazing worlds, with awesome music, and characters that’ll make you smile and laugh, then this is the perfect movie to spring you into that warm summer feeling.
Plus there’s the whole part with karts and shells, and banana peels and oh my goodness how amazing was that?? It’s enough to make you want to stand up and cheer, then go home and destroy your friends and family on your favorite track haha.
The bottom line, it pays homage in all the right ways to the little guy with the mustache, while giving us something new and exciting. Take the kids and go see Super Mario Bros. You’ll be glad you did!
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023
Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Opening Act Saturday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. on North 200A. Talent confirmed so far to participate in the post-screening panel is Natalie Alyn Lind (Big Sky, The Goldbergs, Gotham) as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince and longtime RWBY cast member Lindsay Jones (Camp Camp) as Ruby, Kara Eberle ( RWBY: Ice Queendom) as Weiss, Arryn Zech (Detective Now Dead) as Blake and Barbara Dunkelman (Blood Fest) as Yang – along with Jeannie Tirado (Soul, Saints Row) as Green Lantern and Tru Valentino (The Rookie, The Cuphead Show!) as a cyborg. Also attending the panel will be producer/director Kerry Shawcross (series RWBY) and writer Meghan Fitzmartin (Supernatural, Justice Society: World War II).
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023 with the big screen debut from DC Animated Films: highlights this year include the world premieres of the highly anticipated Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham and Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Part One the weekend of March 24-26 in Anaheim, California. Both screenings will be followed by panel discussions with actors and creators. Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham premieres at The Arena on Friday, March 24 at 6 p.m. Tati Gabrielle (Kaleidoscope, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Uncharted) as Kai Li Cain, Christopher Gorham (The Lincoln Lawyer, Insatiable) as Oliver Queen, David Dastmalchian (Dune, Suicide Squad, Ant-Man) as Grendon, producer/co-director Sam Liu (The Death and the Return of Superman), co-director Christopher Berkeley (Young Justice) and screenwriter Jase Ricci (Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem Across the Multiverse).
Both films will have encore screenings in the Arena on Sunday, March 26. Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One will screen at 12:15pm, followed by Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham at 2:00pm