Neill Blomkamp Says He “F*cked Up” ‘Elysium’

Neill Blomkamp fucked up elysium

For his second film, Neill Blomkamp chose to follow District 9 with a vision of class warfare as seen through a sci-fi lens. Elysium, starring Matt Damon, Sharlto Copley, and Jodie Foster, has some great concepts and in many cases is executed well. But the movie faltered significantly, with Copley’s over the top villain contrasting with the grimy and ugly underclass seen in detail in the first act, and then, well, whatever Jodie Foster was doing, which just didn’t click. Now Blomkamp is being more candid than we ever see from most directors, saying “I feel like I f*cked it up” when talking about the movie.

Blomkamp was very up front about Elysium when he talked to Uproxx in a very candid interview that is worth reading in its entirety. He said “any frustration I feel with Elysium is with myself,” before saying, bluntly, “I feel like I fucked it up.”

Asked more specifically, Blomkamp went into detail:

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; the story wasn’t fully there.

That’s not the sort of thing we hear from a director, at least not a couple years after the release of the film in question. Blomkamp says he was too deep inside the movie to realize it wasn’t working, and that “I get so caught up in concepts and ideas,” going further to say “concepts are just as interesting to me as stories are,” and noting that concepts aren’t enough for people in a film like this — the story has to be there, and in this case it wasn’t.

All of which makes us wonder about his new film, Chappie, which arrives in a week and has been nearly relegated to a conversational background by quotes like this and all the talk about Alien. Hopefully it will be a long while before Blomkamp feels like he needs talk in such a way about another one of his films.

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