JoBlo.com gets a 10-Minute sneak preview of Elysium and it looks awesome!
With DISTRICT 9, Neill Blomkamp proved that he has a way of telling a powerful – and socially relevant – science fiction tale. And with the recent unveiling of the trailer for his latest out of this world feature – which will be available for all to witness today at 7 PM EST - it looks as though Mr. Blomkamp hasn’t lost his touch. This is ELYSIUM.
Set in the year 2154, the planet Earth has become the bottom of the barrel for humanity. While those that are well-to-do have found sanctuary on a man-made space station where there is no crime, no anger and no violence. This fictional tale has all the elements of great science fiction however there is a certain reality to the writer/director’s vision which sparks the same style and intensity that his debut feature did, only with a much bigger budget. Monday, we had the opportunity to take a look at a ten minute sizzle reel of ELYSIUM – the film stars Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Diego Luna and William Fichtner. And yes, I thoroughly enjoyed what I saw.
While you will all get a chance to weigh in on the trailer very soon, here is a look at the footage presented – but if you have no desire to read about the ten minute preview I give you this, WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD. In the footage we are introduced to Max (Matt Damon). He is an ex-con who is trying to rebuild his life in a society that is falling apart. He is hassled by the police (which in this case are over-sized robots controlling the lower-class denizens on Earth) who do some serious damage to him thus he ends up at the hospital tending a busted arm. Once there he is taken care of by a nurse played by Alice Braga that he clearly shares a past with, - and possibly a daughter as well.
After his trip to the hospital, he goes in to work and is threatened by his boss – the man definitely has it out for his ex-con employee. His job is in a factory where he manufactures what looks to be the same police robots that attacked him earlier. While on duty, the machine gets stuck and his jerk of a boss forces him to go inside a “danger area” where he gets radiation poisoning. The consequences are severe as he is given five days to live due to the accident – this is one hell of an evil factory. There is a cure however, but it is nowhere on earth. Desperate, Max is convinced he must get to Elysium to find a way to save his own life.
Soon Max meets up with a couple of radicals played by Diego Luna and Wagner Moura who enlist the desperate Max for a little recreational “data theft.” Max agrees to have a mechanical armor of sorts surgically attached to his body in order to accomplish this dangerous mission. This looks to be a very painful process indeed. Once the exoskeleton is attached, the men set out to steal data from Fichtner, like one would a computer. This, not unlike most of the footage, is an eerily effective look at an all too possible future. Sure the attached body armor seems to feel like a cross between Mickey Rourke in IRON MAN 2 and Peter Weller in ROBOCOP, however it is designed especially well. And to be honest, Damon has never looked this intense – or physically fit for that matter – before this. Near the end of the footage, he is battling it out with one of the robot police and it looks to be an impressive scene.
With an incredibly detailed aerial show from above the underprivileged and decrepit Earth and the pristine and privileged Elysium, we see too very different worlds. And most importantly with all the space ships and more sci-fi elements on display there is a very strong reality based quality to the look of the film. The dirty, grimy world below is littered with the poor and destitute, with haunting scenes of people covered in filth that are hungry and in despair. On Elysium however, you find people living the glamorous life in what could be mistaken for Bel-Air, with the rich and the beautiful enjoying a dip in the pool on a sunny and perfect day.
Jodie Foster is the cold and calculating rich baddie looking to keep her unspoiled world clean without any intruders who may dirty up her little slice of heaven. When unidentified space ships find themselves close to Elysium, she orders them to be shot down. However, she is not alone in her battle to procure beauty and wealth in Elysium. She has a fighter in the form of Sharlto Copley who plays Kruger, a hired gun who works for Elysium but lives down on the Earth below. When there is a shake-up in the system, he is summoned to make damn sure that nobody can get too close.
Here is the official synopsis for ELYSIUM: "In the year 2159, two classes of people exist: the very wealthy, who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. The people of Earth are desperate to escape the planet's crime and poverty, and they critically need the state-of-the-art medical care available on Elysium - but some in Elysium will stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve their citizens' luxurious lifestyle. The only man with the chance bring equality to these worlds is Max (Matt Damon), an ordinary guy in desperate need to get to Elysium. With his life hanging in the balance, he reluctantly takes on a dangerous mission - one that pits him against Elysium's Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster) and her hard-line forces - but if he succeeds, he could save not only his own life, but millions of people on Earth as well."
This impressive 10-minute preview certainly did its job for me. The way it was edited together however, it felt like it took only a few moments from the first part of the film in order to give an idea of what we were in for. It is hard to gauge an entire film on such a short time, but all the elements are there. This includes the extremely impressive visual effects, as well as Blomkamp’s impressive camerawork. Damon makes for a solid lead and while we didn’t see too much regarding the villains of the piece, both Foster and Copley look to be at their best. And of course you can’t go wrong with Fichtner.
After the screening over at the Arclight in Hollywood, the press spent some time with Blomkamp, Copley and producer Kinberg as well. However it was mostly Blomkamp that spoke to us about his latest starting with whether or not the film’s back story was explored and how the cinematic world has come to this, “I like films that just put you there and you are kind of forced to just deal with it. There was an even more aggressive version of the film where the introduction was almost nonexistent and there was just this space station and you were forced to keep up and deal with it. I shot some footage that explained a little bit more, but I decided that I didn’t want to use it. I would say that it maybe meets you halfway. There is some sort of explanation, but it’s definitely not drawn out.”
When it comes to the film’s solid grasp on keeping this real, Blomkamp explained, “I think if you really try and make a proper speculative action piece of science fiction, it’s a very different product that you end up with. In this film, and to a certain degree, DISTRICT 9, both times proper science was going to get in the way of metaphor or story and plot. So, building a space station out of marble is definitely not that smart, but the metaphor of this thing in space is correct, so I just kind of worked towards that. So, I start out with something ridiculous and then I try to use the most realistic portrayal of the ridiculous that I can. Of course, with all the visual effects guys, I had something I was able to reference, but no matter the scale and the ridiculousness of it, as long as it’s shown in a realistic manner, it succeeds.”
With Kinberg on hand - screenwriter and producer of X-MEN: THE DAYS OF FUTURE PAST – the question was brought up whether or not the two films are similar Simon responded, “No, they’re such different movies. The things that this touches on as far as health care and class issues aren’t really issues that this superhero movie is going to delve into and the aesthetic is totally different, too. That’s pretty consistent in Neil’s work and as soon as I started working with him, I could see that he wanted to take a lot of first world images and third world images and combine them into one landscape and that collision informs so much and is such a method of storytelling that was really, very unique. This film is unlike anything else.”
When it came to the all-important question on whether or not Blomkamp has any interest in returning to either of the worlds he has created on film he added, "In terms of sequels to my own stuff, a lot of what it comes down to is the question, "Is there more to say?" I think the world of District 9 has a lot of very race and oppression based ideas that I would still like to explore in that world."