Once in a while, I’m in the mood to rant to myself about random things. I was in a coffee shop having an imaginary conversation with Neill Blomkamp and ranting about what a great movie Chappie is despite the reviews (I’ll explain why). I looked up his IMDb page to see what he’s working on and remembered that he’s doing the next Alien film. I clicked on the link for the untitled movie and was kicked in the face by the concept art.
I mean, WTF? Why haven’t I seen these before? Who’s been hiding them from me? Google images has pics from filming, too. I had a mad crush on Hicks. I’m so freakin’ excited he’s back. I didn’t realize that people hated Alien 3. I loved the movie (the theatrical version, not the stupid special edition I bought by accident), but I’m thrilled that the next one pretends 3 didn’t happen. I thought 4 had a great premise (I’m an anthropologist so getting to see how the aliens behave was a great idea) but ultimately it failed to stand with the other films. I am dying to see the new movie.
Chappie got mixed reviews. Brooks and I saw it in Portland in a McMenamins theater, and effin’ loved it! It had tight, well-conceived action, and didn’t drown me in gratuitous explosions and over-choreographed fight scenes. The comic relief made my face sore from laughing. And the story also hits on all the main AI themes (says Brooks, you’ll have to ask him what they are since he’s the Scifi expert).
At first, I didn’t get why people didn’t like it, but then I figured it out. It forced viewers into a series of emotional conflicts, as well as exposed them to the poverty-stricken, criminal side of South Africa. Blomkamp did that in District 9 too but used aliens. Star Trek has always been able to talk about and show real-world issues by using aliens as a metaphor, as a buffer. People living in a more comfortable world feel uncomfortable when their bubble gets popped. I think the popularity of action-driven movies has lowered peoples’ tolerance for cognitive dissonance.
I mean, it was incredible that at the beginning I hated the “thug daddy” and wanted him to die, but by the end of the movie I had formed a slightly affectionate attachment to him. Also, at first, I wanted the “Maker” to raise Chappie, but as the story went on he turned out to not be the best “daddy” figure either. AND Handsome McHandsomeman, Hugh Jackman, who usually plays the role of the dashing hero, played a mullet-wearing-military-psycho bad guy, and did a great job of it! I love when actors play unexpected roles.
I went through the movie wanting what was best for Chappie, but by then end I found myself thinking, “Who am I to say what’s best for Chappie?” It was an entertaining emotional struggle, and I loved it. Who knows what the new Alien 5 movie will be like, but I’m sure as shit gonna find out.