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Neill Blomkamp Talks ‘CHAPPIE’ Failure

June 10, 2017


Two years ago, writer-director Neill Blomkamp released Chappie, which wasn’t quite a success especially among critics and audiences. Reviews were negative and the box office results were quite poor.

Blomkamp recently spoke Den Of Geek about Chappie and he’s conscious that it was a failure.

“CHAPPIE was unbelievable painful for me. That was difficult on several levels. 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… [The negative reviews] put me in a very strange place for a while. I think that I completely came out of it making the right choice, which is that I’m just going to do stuff that I love. And that could actually lead to me living in the gutter. I mean it could literally lead to complete and utter collapse. But I would rather live in a dumpster, I think, being creatively honest and true to myself than not. So I think overall the result of CHAPPIE crystallized or congealed ideas in my head in a good way.

But I’m still upset the fact that it didn’t work. I wish that it did, but it just didn’t, and I still love it. I don’t know what else to say, but the audience didn’t get what I was going for. It didn’t work.”

Blomkamp believes that the film was misunderstood and makes quite an interesting distinction about what the film is about and what it’s not about.

“For whatever reason, there were many elements that critics in general don’t pick up on them. One of them is that it’s an artificial intelligence film, and it isn’t. It’s anot about AI. EX MACHINA about AI. CHAPPIE not about artificial intelligence– it’s mean to be asking questions about what it means to be sentient. That doesn’t mean AI, that means sentient at all. If you are sentient, if you are conscious, first of all, what does that mean? Because you’re watching the birth of consciousness with CHAPPIE. And the idea of experience is a huge, huge part of it. I chose AI because it wasn’t easier way to say, ‘If, say, is something else is sentient or conscious, is it any more or less important than a human consciousness or sentience?'”

Following the flop of the film, it hurt his standing in Hollywood.

“We could go on for hours about CHAPPIE and where it sits. But it definitely hurt several parts of my career, I think. Those are all secondary to just the repositioning myself as an artist and just thinking about that. I mean, ELYSIUM, I didn’t feel that way. I feel like ELYSIUM wasn’t actually that good. That’s the difference. I feel like I got it right with CHAPPIE, and then when the audience turns on you, that puts you in a different place.”

Don’t expect any upcoming big length projects from him. He’s focusing all his energies on Oats Studios, his own production house where he’ll pursue his own ideas and projects. You can check out the full trailer for his experimental short film. 


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