Sigourney Weaver on stage for the “Aliens: 30th Anniversary” Comic-Con panel on July 23, 2016, in San Diego. (Photo: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Neill Blomkamp’s first film, 2009’s District 9, received an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture, but the reception for his subsequent films hasn’t been quite so celebratory. His most recent feature, sci-fi effort Chappie (2015), about a law enforcement robot in a futuristic Johannesburg, South Africa, reprogrammed to think (and feel) by local gangsters, was largely dismissed (only 32% positive on Rotten Tomatoes). But one high-profile defender has stepped up to make her case the movie didn’t get a fair shake.
While celebrating the 30th anniversary of Aliens at last weekend’s San Diego Comic-Con, Sigourney Weaver — who’s planning to team with Blomkamp on a forthcoming Aliens 5, which will function as a follow-up to James Cameron’s 1986 sequel (thus ignoring Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection) — gave Collider’s Perri Nemiroff her appreciation of Chappie:
“I’m astonished when I read the ‘disappointing Chappie.’ If you’re expecting a big movie with huge special effects instead of this small movie about this robot who the inventor changes to be more of a human being than the human beings, then you realize that all of those reviews that said, ‘Well, there’s no special effects…’ It’s like … no. This is a very meaningful movie about a young robot who cares and feels, and is much more human. And they didn’t talk about any of the issues, they just talked about what it wasn’t.
It’s like … dudes, think of what it is! See it without these expectations. A director is allowed to make all kinds of movies, right? Jim Cameron went on to make Avatar. And Chappie had to happen, because now he’s on to The Gone World and then Alien 5. Thank God he made Chappie! Chappie was the movie he needed to make. And I really love the movie, I love it. I love all the actors and everything.”
No doubt Blomkamp appreciates the support, although given the film’s $31.5 million domestic haul, it’s clear audiences weren’t inclined to give it a chance when it was in theaters; maybe new viewers will seek it out for a reassessment based on her recommendation? Watch Weaver’s entire interview at Collider.
‘Chappie’ flashback: Sigourney Weaver talks about her character:
‘Chappie’: Watch the trailer: