We’ve all wanted to make a movie at some point. We’ve all thought it through in our minds, from story to characters to the final act that would shock audiences around the world. Our own personal dream movie. A movie we would love to see, but never will.
As it turns out, well-known science-fiction directors are humans as well, because Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium, and the upcoming Chappie) took to Instagram a few weeks back to upload a set of conceptual drawings of a Alien movie he wanted to make. The only difference between Blomkamp and you (and me) is the fact that Fox took notice and now he’s getting to direct it.
So, as Blomkamp Instagrams his way into the director’s chair of a new Alien movie, we sit back in our worn-out sofa to type a few words about the things we want from this project.
Remember the story…
While some (okay, most) dislike Alien 3 and Resurrection, and would have them burned in a fiery lava pit if possible, I say, “Damn you! Let them be canon!”.
We still don’t know what Blomkamp has planned for his movie, but it’s become a popular theory that he’ll take some liberties with the story, say, “forgetting” the existence of the last two movies. I beg to differ; I hope to see him remember them. Not only because this is one of my all time favorite franchise (I like Alien 3 better than Aliens), but also because it’s too easy to simply erase them from the timeline. It will, without a doubt, be difficult to make a decent story kicking off where Resurrection left it, but should Blomkamp rise to the challenge, I believe he can make a truly memorable movie. I have no idea how, or in which direction I want the story to go. All I know is I don’t want to see Alien 3 and Resurrection be forgotten in the dust.
It’s a vast universe, and they have tons upon tons of things to work with. To forgo two movies out of four, is to forgo a lot of this.
But don’t necessarily cling to it
It’s a science-fiction universe, and I think most people can find it in themselves to forgive certain backpedals in the story. Should Michael Biehn return as Dwayne Hicks, a death has to be altered, but movies do this all the time, with variable results. Sure, it’s an incredibly cheap way to force pathos into a movie, but it’s been thirty years since we all cried over Hicks’s death, I think we can find it in ourselves to accept his resurrection.
I’m conflicted when it comes to clone-Ripley, as she couldn’t carry the torch in Resurrection at all. Also, do clones age? Sigourney Weaver is still talented and beautiful, but there’s no way around the fact that she’s not as young as she was thirty years ago. We’ll be seeing something like that next year when Twin Peaks returns for a third season. I just hope Blomkamp wants, and is allowed, to take a few liberties, because there’s so many crazy things to keep in mind with the timeline that it would probably be impossible to stay completely true to the fiction.
Alien, not Aliens
One of the reasons I love the Alien franchise is the fact that every movie feels different. Ridley Scott’s Alien is pure horror. James Cameron’s Aliens is pure action. David Fincher’s Alien 3 is pure pseudo-philosophical mumbo-umbo, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Alien: Resurrection is pure, unadulterated hilarity. I hope Neill Blomkamp’s Alien X will continue this pattern and be something unique. Still, I’d prefer it be more in line Scott’s original horror masterpiece.
Yolandi Vi$$er is hot stuff
Chappie is out in theatres around the world in just a few weeks, and it’s not the political commentary (an oppressive mechanical police force) nor the Hollywood faces (Huge Jackman and Dave Patel) that interest me the most; it’s Die Antwoord’s Yolandi and Ninja. Two of the most unique and zef people around today. As they play Chappie’s surrogate parents in this movie, it’s impossible to shy away from the possibilities of seeing Yolandi as the new bad-ass female character in the Alien franchise.
As much as I love Bill Paxton and Michael Biehn, it’s Ellen Ripley, Vasquez, Newt and of course, the Xenomorph Queen I remember the best. The Alien movies, even Prometheus to some extent, are brilliant when it comes to female characters, and I can’t even imagine how cool it could be to see Die Antwoord’s frontwoman side by side with Sigourney Weaver. The possibilities are endless, as she could play a totally new character, or even… a grown up Newt (!!). Again, timelines and logic aside, it could be incredible.
Keep it simple
Blomkamp’s movies are grandiose, both in terms of narrative and aesthetics. They tell countless tales within their narrative, and it seems he is unable to do it otherwise. The Alien movies are the opposite; they are incredibly simple, especially the first two. Sure, Aliens is bigger in scale, but the story is kept simple; A group of people go to another planet – this group of people try to survive.
It’s safe to assume there’ll be a lot of sociological and political commentary in the movie, but hopefully he’ll dial it back. While I loved the geopolitical commentary in District 9, Elysium suffers from overemphasis, as it seemingly tries to make a comment on every injustice in the world. That will not work in a alien movie, because…
… It’s all about the alien
We can love Ellen Ripley and every other character from the franchise as much as we want, but in the end, it all comes down to the alien. The xenomorph. The monster-creature from hell. It’s the star of the franchise, whether it’s silently creeping down a desolated hallway to kill a oblivious victim, or running in a pack, headfirst through turret fire in an attempt to massacre our beloved space marines. It is THE movie monster we all know and remember.
It’s also very different from movie to movie. The special effects in Alien 3 may be the worst in the series, but I still love the design of the alien. Less humanoid, the feline-like xenomorph differentiated from the ones we saw in the first two movies, but was equally bad-ass and efficient when it came to slaughter. The final scene in Prometheus is the best in the entire movie – and I like it as a whole – because a new, Xenomorph-like creature, a Deacon, bursts from the chest of an engineer.
Blomkamp’s previous movies underlines the fact that he understands special effects and creature design perfectly. The prawns in District 9 were impossible to dislike. They inhabited the frame and their environments, and thus became real. Could Blomkamp translate this to a xenomorph? I’m sure – in fact, I’ll do as Matt joked in our Kickstarter article, I’ll actually eat a shoe if the xenomorph doesn’t look incredible – everybody will lose their minds over it.