The Alien franchise has seen better days. In recent years, all the films featuring the iconic H.R. Giger creature have been sub-par at best, with the Aliens Vs. Predator movies being a true low point for the series. But there is a glimmer of hope: Neil Blomkamp and his vision for Alien seems to be taking hold in the hearts and minds of many people, including those in Hollywood. The most recent person to praise the South African director’s concept is none other than the actor who will be playing Ellen Ripley herself – Sigourney Weaver. Working with Blomkamp on his recent film Chappie, Sigourney mentioned to MTV that she would be open to working with Blomkamp on this project and that if he were to make a new Alien movie it “would be very organic and very original, and because of that, it would make me want to do it. If it was someone as talented as Neil, I’d certainly listen.”
As of February 18th, Neil Blomkamp has confirmed that Alien will be his next film. Now if you are a fan of the Alien franchise, this all sounds like fantastic news, yet we must all hold on to the fact that nothing is certain. There have been many amazing ideas out of Hollywood that seemed like a sure thing, only to have the plug pulled at the last possible moment. There have also been many amazing concepts that go forward with the best of intentions, and due to studio involvement, mismanagement, or just a flawed script they end up producing an underwhelming product.
That all being said, let’s take a minute and play the “what will happen game”. Now that Blomkamp has the film – if the studio lets him construct it the way he wants, and that’s a big if – what will the final product look like? From all reports it would be a film that allows Ellen Ripley’s worst fear to come to fruition; the Xenomorphs will have made their way to earth. This could be a film that shows the true destructive power of the Xenomorph. With the arrogance of the Weyland Yutani Corporation, these creatures finally touch ground on Terra firma only to cause the worst possible outcome – the near extinction of the human race.
The best Alien films are ones where the Xenomorph is a threat that cannot be stopped. They are the “other” – a creature with no sense of morality – and are built for one thing: destruction. They consume the human host and slowly spread like a virus. Like a virus, there is little that the population can do to stop them. It is a truly horrific idea, one that has captured imaginations since the first film hit theatres in 1979. Sadly, the menace of these creatures has been diluted with recent works, and the series is in dire need of some fresh blood.
This is where Neil Blomkamp comes into play. It is clear from all his leaked work that he has an obvious reverence for the source material. He enjoyed the series and wants to create something new and exciting. Looking at his past works, he has proven himself capable of building worlds that are believable and that hit disturbingly close to home. From everything he has shown, he is more than capable of capturing that sense of wonder and horror that the early abstractions of H.R. Giger presented in the series. They may only be ideas, but they manage to spark the imagination – which is something that has been missing from the series for years. With modern technology and a mix of classic movie making tricks, Blomkamp has the opportunity to craft something rarely seen: a sequel that lives up to the original films.
As with any “geek property”, there will be those that are never satisfied with what directors and creators do. Yet if some series of events leads to Blomkamp losing control of the reins, I can only imagine what new insanity may end up on the screen. I for one would welcome Alien back into the realm of hard science fiction and adventure, and look forward to seeing it finally shed the stink of B movie camp horror that Fox has managed to shroud it in. If done right, this could be the next great Alien film. If not, we may just have another fun popcorn flick. Either way, I am excited to see the results.