Chappie could have been the best robot-family-action-drama of the year

March 5, 2015 6:42 PM

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It's tempting to compare Chappie to Spike Jonze's 2013 film Her, a pointed exploration of how humans can grow to love AI. Both reflect a shift in Hollywood narratives about AI: we're no longer scared of it, we're just worried that it won't love us. But Her has an advantage, because it is entirely about that relationship, with no big sci-fi action plot that it has to intermittently entertain. Her's human character, Theodore, is lonely and a little strange. Her's AI, Samantha, is perky and knows little of the world; a perfect foil. Samantha gets Theodore into the world and gives him something to talk to. As Theodore grows, so does Samantha.

Her is able to make us care about Samantha and Theodore's relationship because we feel like we know both of them. Samantha isn't lacking in knowledge, but Samantha is lacking in experience. Samantha has to learn the same tough lessons about love and life that any human does, and that means an audien...

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