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Neill Bloomkamp to Direct New Alien Film: How He’ll Put His Stamp On It

Neill Bloomkamp has been tapped to direct the next 'Alien' movie. Will he infuse it with the social themes that are evident in his earlier films 'District 9' and 'Elysium?" (Photo: Getty)

Neill Bloomkamp has been tapped to direct the next ‘Alien’ movie. Will he infuse it with the social themes that are evident in his earlier films ‘District 9’ and ‘Elysium?” (Photo: Getty)

Neill Blomkamp established his science fiction cred with his film “District 9,” a stunning twist on the genre that sheds some light on how he might put his stamp on the new “Alien” movie that he’s just signed on to direct.

Blomkamp, 35, grew up in South Africa and originally worked as a 3D animator, creating images for shows such as “Stargate SG-1.”

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He also worked as the lead animator for “Dark Angel,” the Jessica Alba TV series about a woman with genetically enhanced powers. He was also the lead 3D animator for the movie “3000 Miles to Graceland.”

He directed and co-wrote, his breakout film “District 9,” in 2009. The sci-fi film drama also doubled as a study of racism, xenophobia and social segregation, inspired directly by his experiences with apartheid in his home country.

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The film was a sleeper hit that quickly became a cult classic. It won the 2010 Saturn award for Best International Film and was nominated for four Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Visual Effects, Best Editing and Best Adapted Screenplay.

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It’s one of only eight science fiction films ever to be nominated for Best Picture. The last was the George Clooney, Sandra Bullock film “Gravity” in 2013.

Bloomkamp’s next directorial effort, 2013’s “Elysium” failed to match “District 9’s” success. The two films, however, shared similar themes about social inequality and discrimination.

His latest effort, the upcoming film “Chappie,” is about an artificial intelligence robot. It can think intuitively and has super-human strength.

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Chappie also possesses many positive human traits. Yet it is misunderstood by human authorities, who are hell-bent on destroying it. Again, the overall themes are fear and intolerance.

Bloomkamp’s early influences include director James Cameron , with whom he worked on “Dark Angel.” As a sci-fi director, Cameron is best known for his 2009 movie “Avatar,” which expounds similar social themes.

It’s about an avaricious corporation that invades a planet inhabited by peaceful humanoids to exploit their natural resources. The film’s themes parallel real life issues: Environmentalism, racial discrimination, social upheaval and even the plight of Native Americans.

In fact, social themes, generally, have reemerged in modern science fiction, a trend that was evident in classic ’50s-era films like “The Day the Earth Stood Still” and “Forbidden Planet.”

This gets a little complicated, but the new “Alien” film will actually be prequel to the original 1979 film. It will be set after the sequel to Ridley Scott’s 2012 film “Prometheus,” also an “Aliens” prequel.

Some early reports said “Prometheus 2” would return to the series’ traditional horror genre, but so far, a script hasn’t been written for either “Alien” or “Prometheus 2,” according to deadline.com.

Given Bloomkamp’s previous work, there’s a good chance he may try to humanize the alien monster and more fully explain its origins, why its such a deadly killing machine and how it was set loose to wreak havoc on the universe.

It will also be interesting to see whether Bloomkamp weaves”The Engineers” into the new movie. They’re the alien beings, who created humans, and then set out to destroy them before falling victim to Alien creatures in “Prometheus.”

So, should we expect a kinder, gentler Alien? Let us know your thoughts and be sure to follow IM on Twitter for the latest movie news and analysis.


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