Fair is Foul and Foul is Fair: finding God in a Sci-Fi Movie. A Review of Humandroid, directed by Neill Blomkamp

Casale Monferrato, April 19th, 2015.

Daniele, 8 years old, is growing up just as the nerd son I always wanted. So good,he often proposes science fiction and related  genres films to go and see together to Cinemas, for example. After telling him that as soon as the new Avengers movie was released, he and his sister would have taken me to see it (that’s it), yesterday he turned to me and said: mom let’s go and see Humandroid! Considering that it’s a long time since I haven’t been watching nothing more than English TV series online or cartoons, I admitted my ignorance about the existence of this new film but I accepted willingly to go, trusting my little Sheldon Cooper and anticipating an afternoon at the movies with him, saying to myself, maybe it’s just another science fiction film that su**s, but if he is happy …

For nerd I am, yes indeed, talking now about my tastes, but I am also quite a demanding one: having somehow inherited this passion for science fiction from our father, all of us (me, my sister and my brother) we lived and breathed2001 A Space Odyssey (with the result that wes till flinch any time we see a monkey). What we have in common, however,  is the critical sense too: Sci-fi omnivores we are, that’s ok, but films like The Inseminator, apart from the bad choice about the plot, are just unwatchable, let’s face it. Back to us, on this Sunday afternoon, I take it and I leave with Daniele and we go to the movies, with some fruit juice, water and a chocolate bar, which is always the best treat, in my bag – in a relaxed mood, and empty of any particular expectations by my side …

Casale Monferrato, April 25th, 2015

SPOILERS ALERT: IF YOU HAVE NOT YET SEEN THE MOVIE AND WANT TO GO AND SEE IT, PLEASE DO NOT READ THIS ARTICLE OVER. IF YOU WANT TO CONTINUE READING IN ANY CASE: DO NOT SAY THAT I HAVE RUINED YOU THE SURPRISE THEN !!!!

You can read a very good summary of the plot on Wikipedia, therefore I will not talk about it here. I fore say that before watching this film I did not know who was director Neill Blomkamp, and ​​I still do not know who he is, and I had not seen his previous films. I do not know if I’ll watch them one day, too. But, after nearly a week, the idea of ​​writing my thoughts on this film, which was born immediately after seeing it, now comes into life on my blog.

I would invite you in any case to go and watch it, forgetting, when possible, any comparison with previous films such as AI, I Robot, Wall E, and above all, Robocop or Terminator. Especially because such artistic comparisons are always harmful, such as those between brothers. And also because, to give examples that make a sense, the artificial intelligence of Chappie, created by Deon (which is pronounced Dion, and in Italian Dio is the word for God) not only does not respond to the laws of robotics: he is undeniably good, up to transcending orders that humans want to impose him (he disobeys to its creator remaining with the clan of the “bad guy” Ninja for the love of Yolandi, Ninja’s girlfriend, who treats him as a loving and patient mother would do with her own child), but his goodness is not lacking a particular sense of justice (if you consider the scene where he fights nearly to death Vincent Moore, because he killed Yolandi with the Moose). Of course, as a child, he trusts, and he literally interprets the messages that are addressed to him, especially at the beginning. But Chappie evolves, thinks, chooses, exceeds his creator managing to transfer his consciousness on a laptop, bringing then back to life even Deon, himself in a new “body”, and the same Yolandi.

But, hear ye, in the aforementioned scene, Chappie not only does not kill Vincent. Chappie forgives him.

Talking about comparisons with other films, trying to explain the whys and wherefores of director or authors … Some critics even wondered why Deon decides to create a robot with its own conscience! Let’s not forget that science fiction starts precisely from imagination, and not everything has to be explained, otherwise where does the senses of surprise, discovery, curiosity go, when it is often torn apart by too complex plots (plotswhich, instead of simplifying stories, make them even more unlikely)? Is reality itself, not to mention human spirit, decipherable with an algorithm? The only sensible question that could come out from the vision of this movie would be precisely that, and for those who believe in God and for those who do not believe in him: could anyone possibly reduce human consciousness, our sentient part in a series of strings, transferable from one body (or a machine) to another? But we’re still just talking about science-fiction … Can we for once enjoy watching a movie without becoming all film critics or Rita Levi Montalcini?

Otherwise, how sad my friends …

I came to the conclusion that what also strikes bad about this film could be that, taken for granted a provocative intent of the authors, there is not a radical departure between good and bad. Or, talking about complex human beings living in a complex world, influenced not only by family environment, economic and social status, education and so on and so forth, anyone can decide his own future because we make choices determined by our personal sense of justice. Still someone wrote it was annoying that Hugh Jackman played the villain in this movie: first of all, he is an actor, and actors’ skills include also the capacity to play different parts. Talking about the character he plays, again, he is not definitely bad: he is really convinced that with its big reinforced robot he can eliminate the cancer of violence from his world – as when we say to our children to stop to scream, and we tell them screaming …

Refusing to be aware that the nuances of the human soul are certainly not only fifty and they have no definite colors, makes us certain less aware than Chappie and his consciousness, which would therefore come out as higher than human’s. And maybe is this the disturbing matter of this film? Personally, I think there is more humanity in this story, that in many other films or television shows of mold indulgent-philosophizing which are proposed to us every day. I conclude here quoting my friend Giulia,  who I “forced” to go see Humandroid. After watching it, she said that one thing she could say for certain, if the film was made with the sole intention of proving that, once again, the good side is the winning one, the authors of this film are perfect Christians without even knowing it. And Daniele, who states that the his favorite part of the movie is the one where Chappie saves Dean, he wondered why in a particularly bloody scene I instinctively covered his eyes with one hand, “Mom, but why? You know that I can understand very well the difference between reality and fantasy!”Good boy. Probably he will never become a critic.

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