Neill Blomkamp is back, and this time he's brought an alien invasion along for the ride. Since announcing Oats Studios, Blomkamp has been hard at work on a series of short films which express his creativity in a self-sustaining and cost effective way. The first of four planned shorts dropped this week, and it's one hell of an introduction to the Oats Studios world. With horrifying aliens, gruesome human experimentation, and Sigourney Weaver, Volume 1: RAKKA showcases everything we love about the sci-fi director.
RAKKA introduces us to a world we know but barely recognise; one completely emaciated by the invasion of a race of particularly cruel and sadistic aliens. Along with building methane monoliths, polluting the air and destroying the eco-system, these extra-terrestrials also have the ability to manipulate human willpower, effectively rendering the remnants of the human race powerless to stop them — except for a band of ragtag survivors, who are clinging on to every last shred of hope they can. Furthermore, these aliens are performing horrific experiments on the last humans, and enormous caverns of bones show the limited success they've had.
The film definitely pulls on elements from his other well-known projects, most notably the aliens of #District9 and the machined body mods from Elysium. However, these extra-terrestrials are hardly incapacitated and this world is a hell of a lot darker than ones we've seen before. In an interview with JoBlo, Blomkamp explains that Oats is his way to explore some of his wilder ideas without the constraints of Hollywood studios:
A huge component of the reason to create Oats and kind of the insanity and freedom about it is that discussions with people about things like ideas being too complex or too far-fetched or whatever, we don’t really have to get into those. As long as we watch it in the company and we’re like ‘yeah, that feels cool.’ That’s all that really matters. So, what I’m getting at is where some of the pre-written or pre-decided story of RAKKA goes, becomes incredibly complex and does go down some roads of science fiction that you don’t always see in today’s Hollywood, I think, in terms of level of complexity in terms of how much it’s asking of the audience.
Despite recently lamenting over the critical failure of Chappie, Blomkamp's decision to head back to his roots is a brilliant move — one which shows he definitely ain't crying over scrapped Alien 5 scripts anymore.
Watch Oats Studios Volume 1: RAKKA:
The intricacy and depth of the world Blomkamp created in just 21 minutes is so typical of the director's style. The subject matter is one we associate with his usual storytelling approach, and yet it still feels fresh. #OatsStudios has only planned Volume 1 so far, but there are three more 20 minute shorts on the way that will flesh out this world, and perhaps answer some questions we have after watching RAKKA. Episodes will be released weekly via Oats' YouTube channel.
What did you think of Volume 1: RAKKA? Let us know in the comments!