It’s always a little surprising hearing a filmmaker give their honest opinion about one of their own films, especially when that film is less than two years old.
Elysium came with high expectations. Writer-director Neill Blomkamp had blown everyone away with District 9 and had many downright excited for his high-budget, Matt Damon-starring follow-up. While the film didn’t do too badly at the box office, earning over $286 million worldwide on a budget of $115 million, it received a lukewarm welcome.
A 68% Rotten Tomatoes score is nothing to sneeze at, but many thought the film just didn’t live up to what could have been. Blomkamp agrees.
“The thing that bothers me is if I feel like I f*cked it up,” Blomkamp said in an interview with Uproxx.
“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.”
Blomkamp goes on to say that, while he thought he executed the costumes, set design and special effects well, “the script just wasn’t there; the story wasn’t fully there.”
The filmmaker admitted that he simply gets “caught up in concept and ideas.”
“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,” Blomkamp said.
“I can be like, “F*ck, 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.”
It’s certainly an honest opinion. While we didn’t think the film was masterpiece, we quite enjoyed it, and are somewhat surprised to hear of Blomkamp’s disappointment this soon after the film’s release.
Fingers crossed his upcoming film, Chappie, receives a better welcome and that Blomkamp himself is happy with the result.
Chappie hits U.S. cinemas on March 6 and Australia on March 12.