Neill Blomkamp Knows He Really Messed Up With ‘Elysium’
Following Neill Blomkamp’s impressive debut with District 9, we couldn’t wait to see what the inventive new filmmaker would deliver next. Four years after District 9, Blomkamp gave us Elysium, a visually stunning but ultimately disappointing sci-fi film with bad performances from pretty much everyone except Matt Damon. With Chappie about to hit theaters and all this talk of his new Alien movie, Blomkamp has our full attention, and he’s using this opportunity to discuss what went wrong with Elysium.
It’s only been two years, but apparently that’s enough time for Blomkamp to reflect on why Elysium failed. Like District 9, Elysium also explored class disparities and conflict in a sci-fi setting with impressive mech and set designs. Unlike his first film, Elysium faltered due to a weak script, as well as some terribly tone deaf acting from both Jodie Foster and Sharlto Copley.
In a new and surprisingly candid interview with Uproxx, Blomkamp cops to his mistakes on Elysium, admitting that he only has himself to blame for the film’s problems before adding that he “f—ed it up”:
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.
Blomkamp appears to be very aware of the specific issues with the film, which is good, but it isn’t exactly a promise that he won’t repeat the same mistakes. We’ve hardly heard anything about Chappie, and the director has spent more time talking about his other films instead of promoting his new one, which isn’t a particularly good sign this close to release. Blomkamp is a strong designer and director with some interesting, excellent concepts, but perhaps he needs a stronger screenwriter to help him fully realize those concepts on the big screen.
That said, we’re still intrigued by his upcoming Alien project, even if it is a bit troubling that he’s ignoring Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection. Here’s hoping Blomkamp can provide a script on that film that’s just as stunning as his concepts.