The Reviews Are In

At the time of writing, just past 0200 GMT, Chappie has a 32% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I haven’t seen the film, since I am not an actual critic, so I cannot say if I agree with the score.

That being said . . .

The trailers looked awful. I mean, way worse than Edge of Tomorrow. I have seen the Chappie trailer in front of every movie since what, Guardians of the Galaxy, maybe? At least, Gone Girl. Or, at least it feels that way. People talk about trailer fatigue, but in this case, it was self inflicted, since I chose to go to the theatre. It’s not like I clicked on a link or anything. The third and supposedly last trailer for The Avengers: Age of Ultron was set forth on the world yesterday, and of course I saw it, since most of the review show I watch on YouTube were going to be discussing it. I don’t want to be any more out of the loop than I already am.

Neill Blomkamp’s first film, District 9, is at 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is an excellent score, as I am lead to belive. Blomkamp was touted as the “Next Big Thing,” or whatever term critics choose to use to describe a director whose first film is universally acclaimed. Many of those same critics said the same of M. Night Shyamalan post-The Sixth Sense, which was also a great film. Shyamalan followed with Unbreakable, which some reviews thought was even better than The Sixth Sense. Many also liked his third film, Signs, right up until the last ten minutes or so. After that, things started going downhill at a rapid clip.

It seems no one believes that Shayamalan has a good film left in him. While others may want to have a big rethink about his first two efforts. But it’s always easy to see the clues to the plot in retrospect. Almost always. I have seen The Usual Suspects at least thirty-seven times, and I always think that Dean Keaton is Keyser Soze.

Blomkamp’s second movie, Elysium, has a Tomatometer rating of 68%, more than twice that of Chappie. Everyone seemed to talk about how disappointed in the film, and how, in a way, it was a retread of District 9. I heard on AMC Movie Talk the other day that Blomkamp recently addressed the story problems in Elysium, and he felt he could have done better. Good for him; and I am not being sarcastic. Many directors and/or writers would ever admit shortcomings. The problem is: This admission led some to feel that Chappie would be a return to form. Well…

I am not rooting against Blomkamp–far from it. I don’t want to see anyone fail, not even Michael Bay. I doesn’t help me one iota, and I do not derive any pleasure from seeing others fall flat on their face.

What I wonder is this: What if the order of Blomkamp’s films had been reversed? Chappie would probably been even less well recieved, since there would have been no previous work to compare and contrast it to. Elysium would be seen as a vast improvement, and critics would be looking forward to the next project. District 9 would be hailed as a triumph by many, while some may still see Blomkamp as the guy who foisted Chappie upon an unsuspecting world.

Next up: Blomkamp will direct the next installment of the Alien franchise. After the last two movies, both his and Alien, there’s nowhere to go but up.


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