Neill Blomkamp opens up about the "unbelievably painful" failure of Chappie

Neill Blomkamp Chappie

Neither ELYSIUM nor CHAPPIE garnered the sort of praise which DISTRICT 9 received, but for Neill Blomkamp, it's the failure of CHAPPIE which stings the most. The sci-fi flick followed an artificially intelligent law enforcement robot, nicknamed Chappie, as he was captured and taught by gangsters. While speaking with Den of Geek, Blomkamp opened up about the critical and commercial failure of the movie, saying that is was "unbelievably painful for me" as he thought that he had succeeded in making the film which he had in his head.

But the thing with Chappie was, it felt like it was extremely close to the film I had in my head. Up until the film came out, I felt like I had given my all, and that I’d tried my hardest to make the film I had in my head, and I felt like I achieved that. It put me in an interesting place, where I was needing to decide how I felt, when I create a piece of artwork that I feel positive about, and then the audience really rejects it – what does that mean? That puts you in an incredibly interesting space. I’m not judging the film based on box office merits or pure Rotten Tomatoes scores. I’m doing it because I love it, and I’m basing how I feel about it on what it makes me feel.

Creating art is an interesting thing, not everyone is going to like what you do, but if you create for yourself and produce something that you're happy with, I would count that as a success. Of course, I'm not film director with the responsibility of generating a return for the studio and satisfying fans. Neill Blomkamp admits that his previous film, ELYSIUM, "wasn't actually that good," but that the negative reaction which it received didn't bother him as much the reaction to CHAPPIE because he thought that he gotten it right.

Although Neill Blomkamp was able to execute CHAPPIE exactly how he saw it, audiences didn't exactly clue in to the vision he had for the film.

The main reason for Chappie existing in my mind is because it has the most farcical, weird, comic, non-serious pop-culture tone, that is almost mocking or making fun of the fact that it’s talking about the deepest things you can talk about. The fact that those two things exist in the same film is what the film is about. Because that’s what the experience of life is about. It’s an unknowable question, and no one’s going to answer it for you. So it’s almost a grand joke, in a sense. That was the main thing. People confuse that by saying the film was tonally all over the map. And it’s because they couldn’t comprehend that the tone was existing as one, united thing; it was saying, “Here’s the most important thing you can talk about, wrapped up in a farcical giant joke that looks like we’re all having a big laugh.” And that was the point. Because that’s how I view life in general.

I certainly don't find CHAPPIE to be Blomkamp's best work, but neither do I consider the film to be a disappointment. It's clunky and nowhere near as profound as Blomkamp seems to think it is, but there's plenty to like about a naive robot's search for purpose and family. Hugh Jackman's bitchin' mullet certainly doesn't hurt either.

Source: Den of Geek



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