A project that never had an official production marked a setback in the director’s career
Currently, science fiction films see in the figure of three particular filmmakers the responsibility of supporting the genre with works that manage to balance popular appeal with technical sophistication, namely Christopher Nolan, James Cameron and Denis Villeneuve. The former has already proven from A Origin, and notably Interstellar, that he has an extreme interest in discussing almost abstract scientific concepts in his works without sacrificing the appeal to the largest possible audience, and therefore resorting to tools. exhibition narratives for this.
The second is already a veteran in the field, having been responsible for cult The Terminator and its groundbreaking sequel to Judgment Day (quietly preferred in all discussions of the best action movie ever made). After conquering the world with the spectacular Titanic, Cameron once again revolutionized the still shy 3D technology in 2009 with Avatar; this time around, both hitting the record for highest turnover in history and leaving the promise that the sequels will revolutionize again.
Villeneuve, on the other hand, becomes a reference in the field through adaptation, the filmography of the beginning of his career being very focused on dramatic approaches on a smaller scale. The change would only come after the release of The Arrival, in which the filmmaker combined a very traditional sci-fi theme like aliens with personal dramas referencing the protagonist of Amy Adams.
“Avatar” is arguably one of the most important science fiction fictions of the 21st century
Then, with Blade Runner 2049, the director delivered both one of the greatest examples of the genre over the past decade and one of the best sequels ever to be produced. Finally, with Duna, the promise is to climb the ladder to a level never before reached in his career, delivering his most daring production to date.
However, in the last decade there was a name that stood out in the sci-fi arena before Villeneuve and even Christopher Nolan to deliver approaches with clear critiques of the current model of society, brushed with technological elements. or fantastic; this filmmaker is none other than Neill Blomkamp.
Originally from South Africa, Blomkamp revealed himself from the start of his career (in the early 2000s) as a representative of the science fiction niche in the most critical current possible; a common theme in his early works was to show how a certain technological advance dialogues automatically with the society presented to him, without always having positive consequences for man and machine.
In 2004, for example, he released a short film called Tetra Vaal about the reflections of a robot designed to monitor a certain extremely poor area. In just under two minutes, he presents ideas such as the question asked by the machine about the non-existence of a system that would respond to all the poverty it observed around it. The idea of a machine designed for combat but raising questions would form the basis of the 2015 film Chappie.
The short “Tetra Vaal” defined Blomkamp’s trend towards socially critical stories.
Throughout the 2000s, Blomkamp built his career, as well as a legion of fans, around his opinions on how science fiction could reflect the real world. After producing a few short films, he had his great moment with District 9; the work which presents a scenario where an alien race comes into contact with the people of Johannesburg but, due to a problem in their spaceship, they are unable to leave Earth.
In this way, visitors are forced to mingle with local society and even participate in the city’s criminal life. As a result, the government locked them in a ghetto known as District 9 which quickly became a place where criminal actions take place as often as security forces enter the place in violent operations.
Shortly after, he signed Elysium, a work full of well-known names (even that of the Brazilian Wagner Moura) and which does not depart from his traditional way of weaving critical comments. While the artwork, in the long run, didn’t become a cult classic like District 9, it did show that Blomkamp would have no problem ordering stellar casts or big-budget artwork.
From that moment on, the director gained worldwide recognition, which led to the year 2015 when it was announced that he would be directing Alien 5; which would be the next chapter in the franchise that started in 1979 with Alien, The Eighth Passenger. According to the director, the plot would bring Sigourney Weaver back as Ripley, after the failure of Alien: The Resurrection, and Michael Biehn, of Aliens.
Concept art shows return of Sigourney Weaver and Michael Biehn in “Alien 5”
Also in 2015, the filmmaker confirmed that Fox had given the green light to production, which would have directed him and Ridley Scott as producer. Along with this, Blomkamp often released concept art of sets involving the xenomorph’s ship and Lieutenant Ripley herself. The first red lights, however, came in April 2016 when Sigourney herself reported that Ridley Scott allegedly asked the South African director not to start production on Alien 5 until Covenant (the franchise’s second prequel) led by Scott) is out.
From the start of 2017, the feeling that the project was not going well was evident through statements from Blomkamp, who became quite pessimistic about the possibility of even starting recordings. In the middle of this year, Scott delivered the final blow by claiming that there had never even been a finished script for the film, just vague concepts.
The point is that after the cancellation of Alien 5, Blomkamp’s career suffered a marked setback, moving away from the big feature films he had become accustomed to and focusing again on producing short films. That doesn’t erase the fact that he was a very prominent name in early 21st century science fiction, long before other heavyweights established themselves in the field.
This year, Neill Blomkamp will release his first feature film in six years. Demonic will be his first horror film of his career. With Carly Pope, the film features a young woman joining a technological experiment capable of introducing her into her own subconscious. Oh yes, the director hasn’t forgotten his connection to science fiction, and the plot uses him as a motto for demonic liberation.
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