Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I'm Wondering if You'd Like Chappie

My daughter's tweet appeared in my timeline:

Valerie Taylor (@lackadaisygrace)
Just got back from Chappie. The rest of my night will be spent lying on the floor staring at the wall contemplating existence.

Knowing her as I do, my curiosity was piqued (not peaked; I double-checked) about this film I had heard about on the edges of my consciousness.


Subsequent texting included her telling me I absolutely should go see this movie. I went because I wanted to be impacted by the visual and aural experience. I went because I wanted to feel.

Arriving just three minutes before the show started, I passed the line at the popcorn counter right by. The line helped my resolve, because I really didn't want all that chewing, and salt, and trash.

Theater 5 was all the way at the end, past four other theaters, and directly across from the one showing 50 Shades of Grey, a movie I am happy to avoid at all costs. One other patron was seated in the theater, surrounded by her refreshments. I found a seat (finally!) in the front row of the upper section.

The trailers started almost immediately. Aloha, ok maybe; Paul Blart 2, not in a million years; Fantastic4, quite possibly; Furious 7, about as much chance of seeing this as there was Furious 1-6, but hey, parachuting cars is a rad stunt; Mad Max Fury, uh, not even; Ex Machina, not so much; And oh, good golly, Terminator Genisys, maybe if I want to feel like I have been pummeled for 104 minutes in the face, ears, and chest. But that's not the type of feeling I am after.

I usually read as little as possible about a movie before I go in, so as to avoid spoilers and pre-conceived prejudices. I did check out some reviews and wow, the reviewers HATED this film. Then, Mr. Google took me to a Reddit thread where the Redditor asked why so much hate? I read a few of her lines and knew I wanted to go.

Did I feel? Yeah, I sure did. You can read the plot line a million other places, so I'll just move on to my impressions.

The lifestyle of crime; the ugliness of humans who are without any mooring other than grabbing everything they can, mostly money, sex, drugs, power, darkness. I know that exists here and now, and I wonder if there is any solution. Certainly my religious upbringing portrayed the darkness in humanity as simply a result of the fall, and just a part of the fulfillment of the whole story.

But what if that isn't the whole story? What if there are people who are taking their turn to create, and to connect, and to try new solutions to old, old problems? Places like the Mondo X communities in Italy are doing something different. From their webpage: (Note: their language is not gender inclusive. Perhaps we might give them grace and understand that it was written many years ago when "man" was understood to mean "all people." )

We do not wish to steal anybody's
power money Empires vanity
We are quite satisfied
to see even one single man
pass from slavery to life
with our help (because of us) Mondo X 


Director Neill Blomkamp is only 35 years old! Talk about taking his turn. 

A tiny bit of research shows me that feature films can cost upwards of $250 million to make, and twice that by the time the marketing is done. Chappie cost $49 million, but certainly stands tall against any other film I have seen. 

What a creative story! I can't necessarily parse all the deeper meanings, but I can surely recognize the beauty of imperfectly perfect love and forgiveness, even in such a heavy, dark film. I was fascinated by Blomkamp's decision to feature two South African rap-rave group musicians as key characters. 

(If you're still reading, thank you.) You've made it all the way to the "the part that touched me deep." 

"Craft life, Don't let life craft you."

"Be moved."

So, yes, I did feel. And I want to live today as someone who has been moved and who is crafting life. Today and every day, actually. How about you?






1 comment:

Valerie Taylor said...

I'm glad you liked it. I still don't understand why the people hated it so much.