Hollywood

Elysium: Neill Blomkamp Fools the Critics Again

August 14, 2013

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Matt Damon

(Here’s Die Antwoord’s recent video in which a Lady Gaga impersonator visiting South Africa gives birth to a baby prawn from District 9. Blomkamp is now working on a comedy with Die Antwoord and is also planning a mysterious fourth movie which he warns is likely to get him banned from Hollywood.)

Up in space, French-speaking Jodie Foster (who, along with Robert Downey, Jr., remains Gibson’s loyal friend) is the muscle behind the weak liberal President Patel, a childless, perhaps homosexual politician who flinches at the tough-minded Foster’s insistence upon blowing up illegal infiltrators to preserve Elysium for her children.

Back in 2009, I reviewed District 9 for Taki’s Mag and remarked upon Blomkamp’s sardonic Boer pride:

The message seems to be: Okay, we Afrikaners are dumb and evil, just like everybody says, but we do make conscientious bureaucrats and hellacious mercenaries.

Thus, in Elysium, Blomkamp’s best friend from his Johannesburg days, Sharlto Copley, who played the bureaucrat in District 9, now portrays a Mad Max-worthy “military contractor.” He’s a South African mercenary inexplicably based in Los Angeles, where Foster employs him to shoot down the coyotes’ space shuttles.

Blomkamp’s debt to George Miller’s Mad Max movies is even clearer than in District 9: Copley looks like a character from Road Warrior, and his accent is even less comprehensible. As Kruger (a reference to Oom Paul Kruger of Boer War fame), Copley turns in the movie’s best performance, although that may be because his working class Zef dialect is so incomprehensible that you can’t understand Blomkamp’s unwieldy dialogue. (In contrast, Foster, with her clear diction, is being widely criticized.)

Elysium is a pretty good movie, but the Boer’s understanding of Mexicans falls short of the Catholic Gibson’s in movies such as Apocalypto and Get the Gringo.

Blomkamp is the most glaring example since the primes of Gibson and John Milius of the overlooked fact that the creative guys who make big-budget movies aren’t necessarily on the same page politically as the nice liberal dweebs who write about them.

For example, Christopher Nolan (director of the last three Batman movies) is slightly to the right of the Duke of Wellington, but liberal journalists seldom perceive that.

When I was in college, Apocalypse Now was being sold as the ultimate antiwar film. Yet it was actually beloved by the jocks and ROTC cadets in my dorm, who came back from it humming Wagner and shouting, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning!” Meanwhile, my more cultured friends seemed perturbed by it.

When I finally saw Apocalypse Now, I realized why: It was a based on a far-right script by Milius (who went on to direct Conan the Barbarian and Red Dawn) about how the US could have won in Vietnam if we only had the guts to unleash Kurtz. (Apocalypse Now was directed by Francis Ford Coppola, who won his first Oscar for writing Patton.)

The notion that art is about equality and niceness is just a cover story put out by artists to keep us poor schlumps from realizing what they are up to. Art, from the Great Pyramid on down, is actually about the most talented and/or self-confident bullying the rest of us into furnishing them with the resources to realize their visions, while the nice liberal dweebs pass on to us the artists”€™ self-serving justifications.

Blomkamp, however, is unusual in that he barely tries to hide his worldview. So the NLDs just make up for him a worldview more acceptable to themselves. In dumbed-down 21st-century America, who will notice?

Not the nice liberal dweebs.

 

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