There are some films where everyone looks at each other and just thinks "What went wrong?"
With alarming regularity, a film with a lot of talent attached with no reason not to be a smashing success comes out, but then turns out to be a complete and utter waste of time.
Looking back through the past few years, there are multiple cases where a film is riding on a tidal wave of hype and then suddenly all the bad reviews start coming in. That's when everyone realizes: it's going to be another Phantom Menace.
These are the films in the last few years where everyone was fully expecting them to be a smash-hit but was instead greeted with a disappointing waste of potential. Not all of these are bad, but they all - frustratingly - had it in them to be brilliant and just weren't.
And that's why you should never get your hopes up too high...
What Was Expected
Chappie looked like a thought-provoking and unique depiction of AI, with a strong cast, an interesting setting and a new adorable robot for the ages with Chappie. It also suggested a bounce back up for director Neil Blomkamp.
What We Actually Got
If Neil Blomkamp wants to destroy all the good-will he earned through District 9 he's certainly going the right way about it.
When you watch Chappie, prepare to be frustrated as the many interesting ideas about AI are neglected in favor of a bland, generic gangster plot. The movie is an endless mumbo-jumbo of different ideas with none of them truly being explored.
Viewers must be warned not to expect much actually to do with the AI themes the trailer appeared to hint at as the film is dominated by some excruciatingly annoying rappers who give very irritating performances. Meanwhile, Dev Patel and Sigourney Weaver are sidelined while Hugh Jackman gives a terrible performance. .
Chappie isn't terrible as it brushes up against a lot of interesting things, but whenever this happens all we get is another messy, generic and confused sequence focussing either on explosions or those blasted rappers.