I think it would be fair to say Neill Blomkamp's Elysium was a divisive film. I certainly didn't think it was quite as terrible as some of its most severe critics, but I definitely was left feeling the film was lacking 'something'.
Now, in an interview with Uproxx, Blomkamp has opened up about Elysium and is surprisingly - and refreshingly - candid about the whole thing. Although he still loves the concept, he does accept the execution could have been better. He explained:
...I feel like I fucked it up. I feel like ultimately the story is not the right story. 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…
One of the more common complaints I've heard fired at the director's sophomore effort is that its over-arching themes were dealt with too heavy handedly. This is something Blomkamp partially agrees with, as he knows he can often get carried away with the ideas behind his films. He continued:
The problem with me is I get so caught up in concepts and ideas. Like I just said, the ring is so cool. The satirical idea of a diamond encrusted ring above, like, slums is such a satirically cool idea —I’m not like a normal person in the sense that I have to have a story for something to be interesting. Concepts are just as interesting to me as stories are. Where, to normal people, stories are more interesting. So that’s an example of what I mean. I can be like, 'fuck, I love this ring, I love all the visual effects related to it, I love these images and how they’re juxtaposed with one another.' And then be like, 'as a director, I could have done better.' And you sort of realize that all these people prefer this element I didn’t pay as much attention to, but I paid a lot of attention to this.
Despite only releasing two mainstream movies to date, Blomkamp has already solidified himself as a director who isn't afraid to deal with issues in his films - many of which concern his native country of South Africa.
It would certainly be shame to see him abandon these principles in favor of becoming a more generic action director, but at least he seems he is aware of the issues of weaving these satirical elements into a narrative framework. Hopefully, his experience with Elysium will pay dividends in his upcoming robot-action-comedy, Chappie, as well as his recently announced Alien movie.
Chappie enters theaters on March 6th.