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What Will Neill Blomkamp Bring To The Alien Franchise?!


One of the bigger pieces of movie news last week was the reveal that Neill Blomkamp is to helm the next movie in the Alien franchise. This came off the back of the director releasing concept art for what his take on Ripley & Co. would look like, and obviously stirring up enough fanboy fervor to get a studio to sign on the dotted line with him.

Now, I'm unashamedly one of his biggest advocates, and have been since the days of his YouTube Halo shorts (see below) that showed an eye for sci-fi action and getting the most out of a limited budget. I was lucky enough to be one of the first in the world to see District 9 and and I've been championing Blomkamp ever since, so as a film fan I should be ecstatic at the thoughts of him taking control of the Alien universe. However, there are a few things to consider before I start drafting my 5 star review...

Blomkamp has proven himself adept at giving us gorgeous visuals that belie the money he's had to accomplish a movie with, but he's also had a lot of creative licence up to now on his movies, and working within an established franchise is going to bring it's own set of problems to the table. He's already spoken about the fact that Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection's timelines could be an issue as he wants to work within the universe that Alien and Aliens created, which may force him to either ignore the last two movies or try and work a story around their respective narratives that doesn't ignore the events that happened within those films, but also doesn't rely on the outcomes of them to dictate his own starting point.

Another issue that may come to the fore is that Blomkamp has, up to now, focused his work in his native South Africa and also handed the limelight to his good luck charm Charlto Copley. The very nature of the Alien franchise is going to require more time spent off world and centre-stage taken by Sigourney Weaver, at least as a starting point for his movie. While I have no doubt that he will find something within the Alien universe suited to Copley's talents (Vic thinks cyborg, I'm inclined to agree), it's going to be a big departure for him to finally take the leap and put his faith in another actor.

Sigourney has shown us that no one does kick-ass heroine as well as her, and she's familiar enough with the role of Ripley to jump in feet first with whatever Blomkamp wants to do, but the fact remains that he has yet, in any of his films, to deliver a strong female character. Jodie Foster was horrendously misused in Elysium and as much as I want to ignore this fact, the niggle is there. If he is to succeed and to deliver on the promise of a return to form for the franchise, then Blomkamp will have to put a lot of his trust in Dan O Bannon who's been a writing stalwart on all of the Alien films so far, and Weaver herself, who's guidance will be key to getting Ripley right.

So far, so doom and gloom, but I don't want you to think I'm all cynicism on the project. As I've said, Blomkamp is someone I admire greatly and I consider him one of the most exciting sci-fi directors around at the minute. His sketch notes, concept art and his passion for this franchise speak volumes of how much he wants it to succeed and do justice to Ripley's ongoing fight against the Xenomorphs. He quite obviously he has a clear idea of what he wants to do with his story and that's half the battle right away for a writer and director. Visually, I think we're going to get an Alien movie unlike anything we've seen so far; more action packed and with a much grander scope than the movies up to now.

Given the right help and advice, Neill Blomkamp has the capacity to reinvigorate a franchise that has become jaded, and for that alone he deserves our support and trust. If nothing else we're going to get an Alien movie crammed full of cool new tech, and maybe introducing some new species or creatures into the mix. We'll get fucking cool robots with fucking cooler weaponry and a Ripley armed to take take the fight to her alien nemesis for a change. If done right, we could have a movie to rival Jim Cameron's installment, and that's something that should have every film fan dripping goo from the mouth!

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The Movie Bit: What Will Neill Blomkamp Bring To The Alien Franchise?!
What Will Neill Blomkamp Bring To The Alien Franchise?!
The Movie Bit
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