This spring sci-fi fans have are being treated to two movies that explore the future of artificial intelligence: The Beach author Alex Garland’s filmmaking debut Ex Machina, and District 9 director Neill Blomkamp’s third feature film, Chappie. The latter follows the early life of a law enforcement robot who is reprogrammed by his creator (Dev Patel) to be a free spirit and original thinker, which also makes him a target for destruction by Vincent Moore (Hugh Jackman), one of the figureheads behind Johannesburg’s mechanized police force.
While many fans of District 9 were less enamored with Blomkamp’s follow-up Elysium, Chappie looks like it could be a return to form for the director. A new set of TV spots for Chappie frame it within a bunch of clichés, with Chappie himself depicted as some kind of Chosen One and the leader of a revolution against the bad robots and their overlord, but there’s a definite sense that the film could be more nuanced than the marketing suggests.
Regular Blomkamp collaborator Sharlto Copley provided voice acting and motion capture for Chappie, and the film also stars South African rap group Die Antwoord members Ninja and Yolandi Vasser as Chappie’s “parents” – a pair of local gangsters who take the little metal guy under their wing and teach him how to be not only sentient, but cool.
Check out additional TV spots for Chappie, below:
Between Chappie, Ex Machina, The Avengers: Age of Ultron and Terminator: Genisys, 2015 is shaping up to be the year of the robot movies. Overall, Hollywood can’t quite seem to decide if AI technology is going to be the next glorious step in evolution or the thing that will turn us all into slaves to the robot overlords and/or destroy the planet.
With the rate that robotics technology is developing in the real world, it might not be long before we find out which movie was ultimately right. As a precaution, we should probably stop kicking the robots now.
Chappie opens in U.S. theaters on March 6th, 2015.