The first trailer for "District 9" director Neill Blomkamp's robo-fable "Chappie" made it seem like a sweet, humorous riff on the same kind of existential conundrums that have defined science fiction stories that center around artificial intelligence. (Also: it looked kind of like "Short Circuit 2.") With the new trailer for the March 6th release gives you a deeper sense of the world and emphasizes the story's darker elements, which is odd since we've heard that it's easily the filmmaker's funniest movie to date.
In the world of "Chappie," set in the near future, robotic police officers have been deployed in war-torn South Africa. On one side of the debate is a corrupt law enforcer (Hugh Jackman) and on the other, a deeply feeling scientist (Dev Patel). The titular robot (Sharlto Copley) is "the new step in evolution," and one that is kidnapped and partially raised by two thugs (played by South African rap group Die Antwoord). It looks violent and weird and very, very heavily indebted to "Robocop" (none of that is a bad thing).
The marketing department behind "Chappie" still hasn't given a great representation of what the film will be, tonally, but that's always a problem with Blomkamp's films. Hopefully this will be a lot livelier than his last film, the bloated studio movie "Elysium." And despite some mild hesitation (and the fact that our girlfriend is very confused by all things "Chappie"), this film looks like it could be really, really special.