I’m excited about the Alien film. Very excited. Incredibly excited. But also terrified. Very terrified. After South African director-genius Neill Blomkamp posted some concept art for a possible sequel with Sigourney Weaver and Michael Beihn in tow, the internet exploded and Fox signed him on for a sequel. With Sigourney Weaver. And maybe Michael Beihn. Set between Aliens and Alien 3. And there might be another film after that. This means everything for the Alien fanatics, the people who binge watch the first two films and stick a middle finger to the rest, the people- well, people like me.
The Alien franchise is something equally endearing and painful to me, as the first films represent so much by way of suspense, action, cinematic wonderment and Michael Beihn. Ahem. However, the following atrocities ruined what momentum the initial two films had created, and the franchise ended up stodgy, unforgiving and hard-to-swallow. Could its saving grace be Blomkamp, an until-recently unknown South African director?
Neill Blomkamp shot to popular significance with the success of his debut feature District 9, after Peter Jackson spotted his previous animation work and slated him for directorship. He was completely unknown beforehand, and yet has produced perhaps the most impressive features both sides of the South Atlantic Ocean. Now a Hollywood darling with Matt Damon-fronted blockbuster Elysium under his belt, Blomkamp is not a director to be sniffed at. And with those snapshots of what he originally had in store for an Alien sequel, a lot of us are salivating.
Blomkamp, though, is but one of the many South African exports that have found success at home and beyond. ZA rap duo Die Antwoord saw a meteoric rise to fame thanks to their singularly unique brand of freakery and oddness; author J. M. Coetzee has seen his work receive international acclaim and a Nobel Prize; Ladysmith Black Mambazo became a household name after appearing on Paul Simon’s Graceland. South Africa’s cultural footprint is only getting larger as films like Blomkamp’s District 9 and Gavin Hood’s heartbreaking drama Tsotsi find their way to global appreciation. Leisure of South African provenance is no longer a mystery to the rest of us – even ZA online casinos are staking a claim on international territory! Springbok are worth a try in this regard; it might even see a new career path form, since some have found success that way.
Long story short, if Blomkamp messes this up he’ll be pissing off at least 2 generations of franchise fans who now hope he is the Messiah of Ridley Scott’s initial, horrifying idea. But something tells me he won’t. Well, he’d better not anyway. With the original cast by his side, some ideas that circumvent the awful choices post-Aliens films made, and an attitude to work that sees success follow him wherever he goes, he can’t fail!