Exploding onto the scene with “District 9” in 2009, filmmaker Neill Blomkamp’s follow-up 2013 effort “Elysium” was met with a much more muted response. In fact, the film has often been cited as evidence in arguments between fans as to why Blomkamp should not be tackling the next “Alien” film.
It turns out even Blomkamp himself is unhappy with how “Elysium” turned out, and admits in a new interview with Uproxx that he only has himself to blame:
“I feel like I f–ked 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.”
Indeed, Blomkamp is straightforward and blunt about his own weaknesses as a filmmaker and what he knows he has to work on going forward:
“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–k, 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.
The artists I really respect are the ones that are able to very objectively stand back from work and critique it. So, that has been something I’ve always been good at. I don’t assume something’s good because I did it and I get all cloudy and f–ked up by it. There’s a separation and you got this really right and you got this really wrong – and learn from it and adapt.”
Have the lessons worked? We’ll find out next week when reviews for “Chappie” start going online.