ByDavid Cruz, writer at

Since I've never done this before I'd like to get a thing or two out of the way. What follows is an opinion, so you can disagree or ignore me or whatever you want it's your party baby. Secondly complaining about a movie and disliking a movie are not the same thing. Conversely liking a movie doesn't mean there's nothing to complain about. One of my top three favorite movies of all time is Back to the Future, which is riddled with problems (it's a time travel movie, plots holes come with the turf). We have to do our best to remain objective. Oh and Spoilers, globviously.

So what am I doing here? You see when I watch a movie I think it about it with one question in mind. If I were making this movie what would I have done? With this train of thought I've come to the conclusion that sometimes the best thing you can do for a movie is change it's genre altogether. Also sometimes you can come up with some weird and fun ideas, and if we're not trying to have fun than what they hell is the point of all this. So with that in mind let's talk about Chappie.

Here's a rundown of Chappie. (I watched this in theaters and haven't watched it since and while I have no problem remembering the events of the movie, the names of things allude me.) In South Africa a new robotic police force has started policing, and there have been no robot uprisings so that's good. Anyway in the A story, the man who created the robotic police force (or just designed it), let's call him Dreamer is adamantly stating that he is someone who wants to create real A.I (because apparently he's never seen a movie.) On this night he fiddles with his programming and runs . . . an A.I test. (I guess, it was a program that determined whether or not he succeeded.) He fails because succeeding would have been too coincidental and then later that night succeeds because screw the rules let's be coincidental. He wants to test his program but doesn't have a machine to run it on. I mean he has his computer and several robots moving around his house, but none of those facilitate the plot. Dreamer asks his boss to let him test his A.I and she says no because she has seen movies, let's call her Esmeralda. He finds a police unit scheduled for destruction because it's battery pack is busted and it can't switch batteries so it'll eventually run out of battery and die. Why the robot police force don't run on rechargeable batteries is beyond me. It's at this point that Dreamer decides that testing this A.I on THAT robot is totally worth risking his job. He steals the robot in a company van. That's when the B story catches up with him.

In the B story three criminals owe a big scary criminal, let's call him Tommy Big Guns, and if they don't pay up they'll be killed by Tommy Big Guns. So the girl in the group, let's call her Spinderella, postulates that the man who created the robots must be able to rig up a controller for all the robots. So the tall skinny one, The Claw, and the facial hair one, Ricky Ricardo, (and maybe Spinderella too) kidnap Dreamer right as he tries to run away with company property. They tell him to rig up a remote and he tells them, what they should have realized, that if it were possible to rig up a remote for the robot police than the police wouldn't use them. Eventually Dreamer starts uploading A.I to the busted bot under the pretense that if he does that then the three criminals can control it. He does and Chappie is born. This is dragging, lets go into hyper drive!

Chappie is like a kid, but learns English like it's no problem. Spinderella looks at him like a child while the Claw only sees a machine that needs to get it's act together. Dreamer braves the desolate home of the criminals to see Chappie on multiple occasions. Chappie learns that he's got a busted battery pack and asks why he was built to die when he should have been asking why he can't move his head unto a different body, or just his brain, or just his programming. So he steals a bunch of PS4s and hooks them up together and programs a way to download consciousness onto a computer.

C story is a military guy, let's call him Dustin Hoffman, who works at the same company as Dreamer. He's built a machine too, it's bigger has way way more fire power and armor and can be controlled via brain helmet. He presents this to the police force who rightly dismiss the machine for it's size and excessive fire power. (They call it ugly which feels unnecessary, I think it looks cool.) So Esmeralda decides they spent way too much money on this thing already and shuts the project down. Instead of say taking this clearly military robot and trying to sell it to the military, any military. I mean was the movie seriously telling me they were designing that Ed 209 upgrade for the police. The thing is like a drone on meth. Way scary and intimidating on a battlefield especially more than one. (For the record if Esmeralda had done this perfectly obvious and reasonable business move than the entire events of the third act don't happen, so bad writing is bad.) Dustin Hoffman resents Dreamer's success, spies on him, learns about the A.I robot, decides he has to kill it even if it costs the entire country he lives in (no joke, he shuts down the entire robotic police force because to hell with everyone who depended on the entire robotic police force. Incidentally the master control for the robots is possible but since it requires two keys the police thinks it's fine and don't even guard the terminal. Which is just irresponsible), shoots Dreamer, and ends up killing Ricky Ricardo, Spinderella, and Tommy Big Guns as well as some other people who don't matter. Dreamer's not fully dead yet though, so Chappie says, “Hospitals! Where we're going we don't need no hospitals.” (I mean I imagine Chappie didn't know about hospitals but Dreamer could have spoken up.) Chappie takes Dreamer to the brain helmet and uses it plus his laptop to transfer Dreamer's consciousness into a robot, yeah that happens. Dreamer also moves Chappie and in the end Chappie . . . I guess hacks into the robot factory, and makes a robot version of Spinderella with her consciousness that he had downloaded when he was testing his magic machine (magic wand technology is becoming way too common in science fiction). Oh and Dustin Hoffman died or was beaten very badly somewhere in there too.

Sorry for the length of that. In case it wasn't clear I have my problems with Chappie. I'm not sure what it was trying to be, but let's talk about what it could have been. Let's talk about what a genre change could do this for this movie. First let's get down to the bones of the movie. Which are simply, man builds A.I, A.I is scared to die, A.I builds consciousness swapping machine. Feels about right. Those are the only elements of the movie that can't be switched out without changing the movie entirely.

For the record I haven't thought about this at all. I'm being really lackadaisical about this whole thing. I promise if I do this again I'll give it some real thought. I'm using a random genre generator ( because google knows the answer to all things. The first one I got was, Main Genre: Adventure films Sub Genre: Searches/Expeditions for Lost Continents. I uh was not expecting that, but alright let's think about this. Well looks like the first thing we need is a lost continent. I'm not going to over think it, Atlantis (but like the fantastical version). Alright we have people looking for Atlantis. The group thinks they know where Atlantis is, but they can't reach it. They have Dreamer invent a machine to get there, but the machines keep failing. They need something that can think quickly and adapt to the situation. Dreamer cracks the A.I software and they train a robot that can be their eyes and ears. They don't expect their first model to make it, but it scraps through and reaches Atlantis. The crew loses visual so all they have is audio. (I like the idea of the robot slowly growing more and more poetic in his descriptions as a way of showing it's growing humanity.) Atlantis would have to be abandoned. These people tried to survive, but ran out of resources after being thrust into the ocean. There could maybe be animals but this wouldn't exactly be a stable ecosystem. I suppose the adventure could come from animal life and general exploration. Ultimately Chappie realizes that with getting in being the dangerous and impossible proposition it was that getting out would be much the same. Or maybe Dreamer never designed him for a return trip. Chappie, fearing death, could tinker with Atlantian technology eventually finding a means to swap out his consciousness with a fish or something. Actually this whole thing would work just as well with some distant planet that Chappie was sent too to navigate, and he realizes there's no way to rescue him or something (I like that a lot better swap out the word Atlantis with Europa or something for me). This one obviously needs to be fleshed out more but that's one example of what this movie could have been.

Bad rendering of . . . Chappie: Throne of Atlantis
Bad rendering of . . . Chappie: Throne of Atlantis

Alright the next random genre is Main Genre: Musicals Films Sub Genre: Western Musicals, I . . . what the hell? Alright then moving forward. I have to facilitate a robot in a western so rather than the obvious choice, time travel, let's stay right here in the present. The first bit we can have is Dreamer makes an A.I unit. He had robots in his house so no need for him to steal anything. He uses an early prototype to create Chappie. Dustin Hoffman is still Dreamer's work rival, but it's not the military robot. It's a model just like Chappie that Dustin Hoffman controls with his brain helmet. They're essentially competing in the software that controls the robots. One believes in making them learn, the other believes human brains are the only way to go. Dustin Hoffman figures out what Dreamer has done and tries to destroy his robot because he fears the impact of A.I on his own project (still doesn't really make sense because he has the brain helmet a technical feat in it's own right, like for say VR or general human to computer interface, but I suppose the regular Chappie movie has the same problem.) Dreamer manages to hide Chappie at a western themed musical getaway. Chappie, who was still basically a baby when Dreamer had him, has his first experiences at the getaway. So he just thinks this is how the world is, people occasionally start singing their feelings, people settle their disputes with gunfights, and you have to uphold the law with honor. Dustin Hoffman, via robot catches up with him. In the ensuing gun battle Chappie is damaged. Dreamer tells him that his battery mabob was melted shut, and they can't recharge him because as a prototype they hadn't installed that feature yet. Chappie finally understands he's a robot and what that means. He has moves his brain into another robot by some arbitrary time limit (because the swapping consciousness thing is really just cumbersome and strange in this case), but not before a final showdown Dustin Hoffman that brings us super close to the time limit where by acting honorably Chappie shows Dustin Hoffman the err of his ideals. Oh and there's singing all along the way. I mean it's definitely weird, but I like that Chappie thinks singing is a perfectly natural thing to do and breaks into song around the other characters, but they have no idea what's going on.

Bad Shop of, Sheriff Chappie
Bad Shop of, Sheriff Chappie

Alright let's do one more. Okay then, Main Genre: Drama Sub Genre: Sports Dramas or Biopics, yikes really. Okay set up is easy enough. Dreamer invents an A.I robot. All on his own. He wants to make it a sports player. It doesn't really matter which sport, but since this is a drama let's go with Baseball. Everyone is against the idea of a robot playing in a sports team, but Dreamer argues that it's as alive as anyone else. In order to be a baseball player Chappie is forced to prove his humanity. The whole movie is essentially an extended turing test via baseball. The emotional reveal being that when Dreamer was raising Chappie, Chappie was the one that became enthralled with Baseball. When Dreamer asked his would-be son what he wanted to be Chappie said Baseball player, and Dreamer is giving everything he has to make that happen. Part of his effort to prove his humanity involved the consciousness scanning thing Chappie does in the original. So the end note of the movie involves Dreamer getting shot (let's say by a protestor or something) Chappie does the consciousness swap to save him, and a new era in humanity is born. Yeah Drama isn't really my thing, but that could be a movie.

Super low effort mock up of, Baseball Chaps
Super low effort mock up of, Baseball Chaps

Well that was a thing. There were some interesting outcomes from changing the genre. I kind of like the first one it's the most unique. Two is reminiscent of the Johnny 5 movies. Three is basically just bicentennial man but with baseball. Anyway I know this was pretty long so if you read it all you have my thanks. I hope whoever read it enjoyed it. If you liked this kind of thing let me know I'll do another one, and if you have some different ideas feel free to comment and such. Thanks for reading, and have fun out there. Or whatever, I'm not your boss.


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