In retrospect, director Neill Blomkamp’s sophomore directorial effort, Elysium, was a disappointment. While not a bad film, it certainly does pale in comparison to the filmmaker’s debut - District 9 - and was ultimately a rather forgettable sci-fi feature. As it turns out, these failings aren’t lost on the movie’s filmmaker, and now he’s come forward to admit that he "fucked it up."
Blomkamp is currently on the promotional tour for his latest movie, Chappie, and it was while sitting down with Uproxx that the South African filmmaker revealed his disappointment with the way that Elysium came out. Rather than putting the blame on an external force, however, he instead acknowledged that the real issues with the movie came from core script issues that should have been worked out before the film got rolling. He told the site,
The thing that bothers me is if I feel like I f*cked 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.
On the brighter side of things, Neill Blomkamp did admit that he does have appreciation for the work that was done on the movie aesthetically. He's still proud of the costume and production design, as well as the special effects, but feels that they hung off of a "not totally formed skeletal system." Given these issues, the filmmaker was asked why the release of the movie wasn’t delayed while more work was done to make it better, and the simple explanation was that the director didn’t really recognize the issues until he got some distance from the project. "You can’t tell," Blomkamp said. "You don’t know. You’re just in it."
I will still happily defend Elysium, as I still see it as a thoughtful bit of sci-fi armed with great action and solid performances from Matt Damon and Sharlto Copley. That being said, its issues are pretty clear, from the fact that the story stays Earth-bound for far too long, to it’s at-times messy logic, to the fact that it just didn’t have any kind of real resonating impact that stays with you after exiting the theater. It also doesn’t help that the nature of Hollywood is to compare the movie to District 9, which is one of the best science-fiction movies of the modern era.
Do you agree with Neill Blomkamp's in-retrospect assessment of Elysium? Hit the comments below with your thoughts.