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Byron Shire
February 29, 2024


Latest News

Investment fraud charges – Gold Coast

Detectives from the Financial and Cyber Crime Group have arrested and charged five people in relation to an alleged ‘boiler room’ investment fraud operating on the Gold Coast.

Other News

Nixie Ryan takes second at Port Stephens Pro

Lennox Head surfer Nixie Ryan was a good wave short in the final of the Port Stephens Pro so had to settle for second place behind World Junior Champion Sierra Kerr last week.

Israel Palestine

Audacious, humane, sensible, permanent. Achieving such a solution to the present Middle East crisis would require persons of state,...

Damning 2022 flood housing audit released for Northern NSW

A performance audit of how effectively, or not, the NSW government provided emergency accommodation and temporary housing in response to the 2022 floods has been released by the NSW Audit Office. 

Doing it for Dunkley

The eyes of Australia turn this week to the electorate of Dunkley in Victoria, historically the site of the Frankston riot and just down the road from where Harold Holt disappeared. Now it's the location of an all important federal by-election.

Sleepbus service opens in Ballina

Sleepbus, the innovative solution for rough sleepers, has opened in Ballina after relocating from Byron Bay.

Knitting Nannas get behind Save Wallum campaign

With porcelain tea cups, lace-covered tables and plenty of knitting the Knitting Nannas Against Greed (KNAG) headed to the...

There is an ‘all that glitters is not gold’ moral here: Unheralded South African director Neill Blomkamp caught everyone’s eye with his confronting futuristic drama District 9 (2009).

As so often is the case, its success resulted in his being lured to Hollywood where, with a quadrupled budget, he came up with the less challenging Elysium, a blockbuster in which CGI typically took precedence over the sort of dark, worrying narrative that drove D9.

Back in Johannesburg again, with much less money at his disposal, he has returned to form.

The inhabitants of the city (in reality, Joh’burg is one of the world’s most violent) are kept in check by squads of police robots, including the astonishingly believable Chappie (voiced by Sharlto Copley).

When Chappie is captured by ‘gangsta’ drug dealers, Blomkamp, without foregoing the thrills and spills expected from the genre, is able to take his story to a philosophical level rarely attempted in mega-bucks sci-fi flicks.

Intelligence – artificial or otherwise – love and learning, identity, creation itself all come under the spotlight as Chappie becomes aware of his own being, and his shelf-life.

So convincing is the walking-talking hunk of metal that the scene in which he is beaten up by street thugs elicits genuine despair (I was more distressed by it than I would have been if Chappie were a normal flesh-and-blood screen hero).

From there, the battered Chappie staggers to a junkyard where his encounter with a stray dog is in every way as poignant as when Frankenstein’s monster found comfort in the cabin of the blind peasant.

This is a fabulous movie that manages the perfect balance between brawn and brain and in which Blomkamp is handsomely rewarded by exceptional performances from his big-name stars – Dev Patel, Sigourney Weaver and Hugh Jackman (fantastic as the bullying Aussie tech-head) – and local actors alike.

Yo-Landi Visser, ‘Mummy’ to Chappie, is adorable and it is only fitting that she is the focus of an end shot that pays rightful homage to Avatar.

~ John Campbell

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