Is Neill Blomkamp Right For The 'Alien' Franchise? It Might Just Be Time For His Unique Vision
Neill Blomkamp’s aspirations as a science-fiction writer and director hold consistent throughout his big screen work. In the venerated District 9, he used human-alien cohabitation to tackle racism. In the maligned Elysium, he used satellite societies and futuristic technology to speak on classism. His next go, Chappie, looks once more to be a portrait of discrimination and unbalanced scales of justice. Though still in the morning of his tenure as a filmmaker, Blomkamp’s ideology behind his utilization of the genre seems founded concretely in the sociopolitical. As such, his interest in the Alien franchise — ditto its interest in him — is somewhat curious.
Blomkamp has been tagged with Alien sequel rumors for some time now, jumping between affirmation and denial, eschewing confirmation in lieu of kooky concept art. The latest word has Blomkamp solidified in his position to tackle a piece of the canon meant to take place and release following Prometheus 2. This timeline could potentially involve the casting of Sigourney Weaver (as teased in Blomkamp’s artwork), who famously played hero Ripley in Ridley Scott’s 1979 original, which is set several years after 2012’s Prometheus — also directed by Scott after relinquishing his universe to filmmakers and screenwriters including James Cameron, David Fincher, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and Joss Whedon.
And while it might not seem too far out of left field to call in another original sci-fi innovator to take the wheel on the next in line for the series, Blomkamp’s sensibilities don’t quite fall in line with the psychology of the Alien movies. Speaking generally, Blompkamp’s interests lie in the external facets of human nature; Alien, on the other hand, pioneered a seething and rich look into the internal.
Having ostensibly assigned himself to the school of sci-fi upheld by the likes of Vonnegut, Bradbury, and Dick, Blomkamp seems like another of the genre’s hopeful couriers of social change. His stories approach humanity from a macro lens, using the external toils of the human race as the foundation for creative assault. Blomkamp’s interests lie in deconstructing society and its constructs, as well as allocating the toxins inherent thereto.
District 9 wasn’t so much about the journey of a man, but the journey of a victim of oppression. You can say the same for Elysium, turning the focus away from the “racial” and toward the economic.
Although Blomkamp’s prowess with social sci-fi doesn’t necessarily preclude him from the capability to handle more intimate material, Alien’s is a high bar to reach. Scott’s sci-fi classic operated at a sub-societal level, paring into the psyches of a selection of endangered individuals, drawing from them and their circumstances the tenets of human desperation.
Prometheus reached the other extreme: super-societal. Instead of taking to task human civilization, it takes to task the human species, inviting the questions of its origin and destiny, playing all the while with the scraps that amount in between.
It would be unfair to allege Blomkamp as a filmmaker unable to attain a degree of internalization necessary to ring harmonious with the symphony that is Alien based on his first journeys into original sci-fi alone. While character isn’t exactly his strongpoint — Sharlto Copley’s District 9 antihero and Matt Damon’s hairless rocketeer in Elysium play more as working cogs than breathing, emotive, examinable organisms — perhaps an established universe calling less for the castigation of modern prejudiced than for a probing examination of mortal duress might render Blomkamp a little handier with the pen.
In any event, it might be worth a shot just to see this art design come to life.
Images: Columbia Pictures; 20th Century Fox; Tristar Pictures