Thursday, 28 April 2016

Chappie (4½ Stars)

Warning! This review contains spoilers!

People who only watch films on streaming services miss out. Today I watched "Chappie" on Blu-ray for the first time. The special features menu listed an alternate ending, and I had to watch it. Deleted scenes don't usually add much to the enjoyment of a film, but alternate endings fascinate me, especially if they put a different twist on a story. For instance, "Scott Pilgrim vs The World" has an ending that's better than what we see in the film. Edgar Wright made the wrong choice in what he put into the film. The film "Chloe" has several alternate endings, which all highlight the story's conclusion from a different angle, and watching them one after another adds to the enjoyment. "Joy Ride" also has several alternate endings, but these give a totally different resolution to the story.

In the case of "Chappie", I found the alternate ending on the Blu-ray so hilarious that I had to laugh out loud. In the official ending Chappie's life is saved by uploading his consciousness to the closest robot. In the alternate ending Chappie's life is saved by uploading his consciousness to every robot, resulting in hundreds of Chappies walking around Johannesburg.

I prefer the alternate ending, but I suspect that the director Neill Blomkamp wanted to end the film on a serious note. Apart from this, the official ending is a better hook to a sequel. Originally "Chappie" was intended to be the first part of a trilogy, but it received unfavourable reviews, so it's unlikely the other two parts will be made. That's unfair. I find "Chappie" brilliant.

Watching "Chappie" on Blu-ray today something seemed strange to me. The picture was somehow sharper than what I'm used to from other films. That's not meant as a criticism, it just looked unusual. It wasn't until half way through the film that I recognised what was different. Usually when a film is shown the foreground is in focus, and the background is slightly blurred. That mimics the way we see with our eyes; we focus on one point, and everything else is less clear. "Chappie" is filmed differently. When there's a city scene, everything is in focus, whether it's in the foreground or far in the background.

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