After setting the Internet alight at the turn of the year with his ‘Alien’ film concept art, Neill Blomkamp’s recent comments have only fuelled speculation that he’d be the right man to rejuvenate the ‘Alien’ franchise.
But this is all speculative, of course. Yet the questions remain: would the ‘District 9’ director a) be the man to breathe new life into the sci-fi/horror series; and b) would he actually do it?
His concepts only came about during some downtime as ‘Chappie’ was near completion, which is out in March, whereby he revealed to us;
"I was in the end process of ‘Chappie’, and when my workload started to decrease, I could start thinking about what I could do next,” Blomkamp said. “I started working on that project without Fox knowing. That’s not a normal process.”
Let’s be honest, as much as there’s a niche out there that, for reasons of loyalty or otherwise defend that latter films, the franchise has gradually gone downhill after Ridley Scott’s brilliant original. Even today ‘Alien’ is regarded as one of the best films of the 20th Century.
James Cameron’s ‘Aliens’ took the franchise in a wandering direction from sci-fi/slasher into horror/action, and it worked well as a scary, tense movie with guns, muscle and, of course, (lots of) xenomorphs.
'Alien 3' and the abysmal 'Alien: Resurrection' saw the franchise really fall from grace, even though they still made a bit of money, they wither in comparison to Scott's facehugger movie that started it all.
'Prometheus' was meant to be the one that took us back to the origins predating 'Alien', but aside from its visual prowess and a strong Michael Fassbender performance, it lacked a lot of what Scott promised and the intelligence he brought to the 1979 original.
So what could Blomkamp bring to the ‘Alien’ franchise?
'District 9' was a superbly crafted sci-fi movie and often features among 'Best Films of the 21st Century' lists. It's well told, amusing, heartfelt and spectacular in both special effects, story and concept. If he could create an Alien-based story as strong as this, then it'd be something worth getting very excited over.
Then there’s his sophomore, ‘Elysium’. While hugely anticipated, it doesn’t quite hit the highs of his debut, but contains some interesting and inventive elements. It’s this jaw-dropping visual style that Blomkamp brings to the table that is one appealing factor, so it’ easy to see why fans would be enthused for him to jump on board.
Blomkamp’s been weary of Hollywood’s franchise machine after his proposed ‘Halo’ movie was shut down, but he retorts with ambiguity: “There’s a lot of franchises I’ve been asked about that I want nothing to do with,” he says. ”And then there’s something that I’ve never been asked about but I really like but I’m not sure I would do.”
But does that mean we’re never likely to see it happen?
If ‘Chappie’ turns out to be a mainstream hit, then there’s every chance the right execs may give then him free reign, just as Chris Nolan was for ‘Inception’. But this is a massive ‘if’, because, after all, Nolan’s previous movie, ‘The Dark Knight’ did gross over $1 billion.
'Chappie' is in UK cinemas on 6 March.
Picture credits: Instagram