South African director Neill Blomkamp is ready to unleash his third full feature film, Chappie, onto the world this week, and filmmaker is hoping to see a reception much like that experienced with District 9 rather than the mixed response he got with Elysium.
Chatting to Uproxx, Blomkamp has been looking back at 2013’s Elysium, and said that “any frustration I feel with Elysium is with myself”. In specific reference to whether he feels under extra pressure because his first film did so well, and then his second underperformed, Blomkamp said that he didn’t, but added “the thing that bothers me is if I feel like I fucked it up”.
So is that how he feels about Elysium? “A little bit”, he admitted.
“I feel like, ultimately, the story is not the right story”, he said. “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”, he said.
Asked when he first realised that Elysium wasn’t quite working, he said that “I don’t remember. I think, on some level, you probably innately know. The problem with me is I get so caught up in concepts and ideas”, but he added that “as a director, I could have done better”.
We seem to like Elysium a lot more than Blomkamp did, although many people felt it never lived up to its potential.
Blomkamp now moves onto Alien 5 next, which will reunite him with Sigourney Weaver, who stars in Chappie.