I don’t get all the hate for Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 follow up, Elysium. Yes the film had its issues, but as a second feature, it proved that Blomkamp’s first film was not a fluke. It also proved that sci-fi had a unique and visionary new and exciting director, and I for one applauded Elysium.
It may have turned into a bit of a cliched finish, but the ideas, the special effects, the characters, the pacing, it was all really well executed, and I had a blast with it. Many didn’t, and Blomkamp understands those frustrations, and has expressed what went wrong in an interview with Uproxx:
“I feel like, ultimately, the story is not the right story. I still think the satirical idea of a ring, filled with rich people, hovering above the impoverished Earth, is an awesome idea. I love it so much, I almost want to go back and do it correctly. But I just think the script wasn’t… I just didn’t make a good enough film is ultimately what it is. I feel like I executed all of the stuff that could be executed, like costume and set design and special effects very well. But, ultimately, it was all resting on a somewhat not totally formed skeletal system, so the script just wasn’t there; the story wasn’t fully there”
With his third film, Chappie, due in cinemas shortly, and now bagging Alien 5 as his next feature, it is refreshing to hear a director openly discuss his faults so early on in his career. It is also brave to speak of issues with a film less than two years old. Good on you Blomkamp, but I for one feel he is being too hard on himself.
“The problem with me is I get so caught up in concepts and ideas. Like I just said, the ring is so cool. The satirical idea of a diamond encrusted ring above, like, slums is such a satirically cool idea – I’m not like a normal person in the sense that I have to have a story for something to be interesting. Concepts are just as interesting to me as stories are. Where, to normal people, stories are more interesting. So, that’s an example of what I mean. I can be like, “F*ck, I love this ring, I love all the visual effects related to it, I love these images and how they’re juxtaposed with one another.” And then be like, “as a director, I could have done better.” And you sort of realize that all these people prefer this element I didn’t pay as much attention to, but I paid a lot of attention to this”
His latest feature Chappie seems to be struggling to find an audience, but I think it looks incredible. However, the big news now from the director is that he will be making Alien 5, something I am very, VERY excited about.