As far as debut features announcing yourself to the world of cinema go, Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 remains one of the 21st Century’s finest examples. Unfortunately, the filmmaker couldn’t maintain his phenomenal early momentum, and the majority of the buzz surrounding his status as Hollywood’s newest wunderkind had all but evaporated in the wake of Chappie.
District 9 earned rave reviews, a hefty box office haul, and four Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, which was one hell of a way for Blomkamp to put himself on the map not long after his 30th birthday. His follow-up Elysium upped the budget but rehashed many of the same sociopolitical and economic sci-fi themes, with critical returns diminishing as a result.
Chappie would go on to do much the same thing again, and it wasn’t long before folks began questioning how many times the writer and director could tell the same basic story over and over again with a different coat of genre paint. Unfortunately, a 32 percent Rotten Tomatoes score and 56 percent user rating answered that question, and it would be six years before Blomkamp helmed another feature. When he did, though, Demonic was positively savaged.
The tale of the titular robot attempting to evade the authorities and try not to fall into a life of crime isn’t as horrendous as its reputation in some circles may suggest, even if it’s comfortably the weakest of its creator’s sci-fi trilogy. Streaming subscribers are at least willing to give it another shot, with FlixPatrol revealing that Chappie has resurfaced to take a spot on the global watch-lists of both iTunes and Rakuten this week.
Next up for Blomkamp is Gran Turismo, with the video game adaptation potentially cementing his fall from grace as he moves into director-for-hire territory.