When Neill Blomkamp’s project, Oats Studios, was first announced I was looking forward to seeing how the future of film-making might look in the hands of one of Hollywood’s most innovative directors.

Blomkamp’s films so far have divided opinion.  He stormed onto the scene in 2009 with District 9, which gained rave reviews for turning the alien invasion movie on its head. However his following films, Elysium and Chappie, didn’t garner the same level of praise despite also being innovative.

Now, finally the first volume from Oats Studio is brought to life in this 20 minute film Rakka.

Rakka is set in a world that’s been taken over by aliens, the humans slaughtered, enslaved and experimented on. Only small bands of free humans survive while trying to develop technology to fight back against the invaders.

The aliens seem to have everything going for them. They can control the minds of humans, they are changing the atmosphere to make it unbreathable for humans, and their technology seems to be all derived from a black goo that can flow and form into any shape they want, and harden into solid shapes. It also seems capable of forming working parts as this seems to be the substance that the alien space ships and planes are made from. Presumably this is some sort of nano-material that can be controlled by the aliens’ minds.

So with that in mind, all seems a bit futile for the remaining humans.  They have developed technology to block the alien mind control, but there seems little else they can do to fight back.

Enter Sigourney Weaver’s Jasper, the leader of a band of rebels that is trying to fight back against the invaders using tech provided by a technical wizard / pyromaniac loner name Nosh. They’ve also captured / saved Amir, a human who has survived the experiments of the aliens and has their technology embedded in his brain.

I’m glad these fuckin’ things came here. They mean I get to burn whatever I see.

Can it really be considered a short film though? It’s clearly the first episode in an ongoing story that surely must expand on the roles of Nosh, Amir and the strange new angelic arrivals.

It seems more like the first part in a TV series. So is it just another Colony or Falling Skies? It has similar themes to both, but until the story plays out further it’s hard to tell how similar it is. One thing’s for sure though is that the aliens in Rakka are designed beautifully and the special effects surpass anything I’ve seen on either of those TV shows.

Weaver and is ably supported by a number of faces familiar from District 9 and Chappie and the acting throughout is of a high standard.

It’s a strong start to the Oats Studios output and I’m looking forward to seeing what future episodes will bring.