Thursday, March 12, 2015

My thoughts and feelings on Chappie

This weekend we went to see Chappie. This is an interesting film from Neill Blomkamp, who did District 9.

After looking at the 3 films that I know of his: District 9, Elysium, and now Chappie; Blomkamp obviously loves films that explore prejudice of some sort. I'm not sure why, I couldn't find a lot on him aside from his career work, but I'm not really here to talk about his fascination, just the connection, and how I feel Chappie explores nature vs. nurture, and how this effects our children.

I find, it refreshing, a man from Johannesburg is fascinated with and exploring prejudices and environment. Exploring prejudice and environment may not have been his outward intent when taking these projects on, but I would like to think deep down, that is what drew him to these projects. He is from South Africa, a place that is no stranger to unrest and prejudice. In today's world, experiencing prejudice whether you are a bystander or a participant happens daily. I always wonder why do these occur? Is it media? Is it how we were brought up? What causes people to act the way they do, would they act differently if they were brought up in a different environment?

Nature vs. nurture, is a concept asking if environment or heredity most affects human psychological development.

I am here to tell you it is definitely both {obviously} but I think ones environment {nature} can have a huge impact upon psychological development, and Chappie is a fantastic example of this.

***Warning***If you've yet to see Chappie and want to, you may want to refrain from reading this. I will do my best to not give away the ending, but I am taking an in-depth look at the nature vs. nurture concept of the movie as a whole, so I cannot guarantee I won't spoil it for you.

In the beginning Chappie is like a new born, scared, doesn't understand anything around him, and isn't sure who to trust. As time goes on he realizes there are some people around him who love him and some who scare him.

As children we all learn this, but the people who scare us we often don't have to come into contact with if we don't want to; in Chappie's case though he lived with one of these individuals who scared him in the beginning. Chappie, being naive was still trusting of this individual since he was constantly around and believed anything he was told.

His "maker" gave him a good foundation by telling him not to use guns, participate in heists, or crimes of any nature, but when someone gives Chappie an order and masquerades it as a nice activity or that he is doing someone a favor Chappie falls in to a life of crime and poor speaking habits. His general spirit of goodness stayed the same, but his outward personality was "tarnished" due to being in a poor environment.

Now, by "poor" I don't mean lack of money, I mean a not as positively nurturing an environment as his maker would have provided him. He learned mannerisms like wiping his nose after speaking since the people he lived with were drug users, he was taught cuss words, and how to handle weapons. He was judged and the majority of those in his home became annoyed with Chappie easily and yelled at him a lot, making him crave acceptance and love. There was one person in the home {mommy} who loved him no matter what {nurture}, just for who Chappie was or who "he" would become or the person "he" desired to be.

Chappie experienced a lot of prejudice because of his outward appearance. He was not taught to bully people or that you shouldn't accept people for who they are so when he experiences people throwing rocks and boards at him, Chappie doesn't quite understand what was happening or why. His outward appearance labeled him, but who he was on the inside was completely different. But, in today's fashion, the group judged him by his outward appearance and decided appropriate action would be to throw stones and hurt him, simply based on looks. Once Chappie finds his way home, those that supposedly loved him took hold of this insecurity he learned during his time alone in the real world, a position they put him in, and taught him that hurting someone before they hurt you is okay. Which we all know isn't okay.

Chappie experienced other abuses, he was also picked on because of his maker. Since someone didn't like Chappie's maker, he suffered by being abused and tortured. This individual didn't take the time to understand Chappie and that he was completely innocent, this man just knew who the maker of Chappie was so Chappie needed to be destroyed.

As a teacher, I have had the opportunity to work with some interesting individuals, as an expat I have had the opportunity to observe people from all walks of life all over the world. I have always asked myself when people behave the way they do is it just their true inner personality or is it how they were brought up? If certain people were placed in a different, more watchful or more nurturing environment would they be better learners? If they had less responsibilities as young adults would they be better mannered?

I don't have the answers to these questions, I think most everyone's behavior definitely has something to do with their life experience. I do feel though, who you are deep down inside will always resonate throughout anything you do. For me, I have always been a deeply feeling, caring person and no matter where I am in life, that has been the number one personality trait to stand out. For Chappie, it was his ability to accept people for who they were without question and to give himself selflessly for those he loved. Even down to his last moments he was thinking about saving those he cared for before himself. When I taught, there were kids you could definitely get through to because deep down they were naturally caring, but, like Chappie had been taught that survival is key, so many times that inner caring gets covered up by a steel exterior to protect their feelings.

I love the intricacies of this movie and how it got me thinking about past students and what they were up to, how their lives may have panned out, and how their lives could have been different if they had been in a different environment. Or how they may not have, how some people, even given everything can still manage to dig themselves into a hole.

So, what do you think, does environment and how one is brought up play the biggest role in personality and life success or is it personality and perseverance?


  1. I haven't seen Chappie yet, but I'd like to! It sounds amazing and thought provoking, much like District 9. Thanks for this in depth review! And as far as your question goes, I don't know the answer. Truly. It's a lot to think about!

  2. I saw Chappie and didn't really enjoy it too much, but your post encouraged me to look at the movie from a new perspective. Thanks for sharing. :)