Much in the same way that District 9 was about the struggles of apartheid, Elysium takes aim at the battle between the 1% and the 99% and presents one possible outcome of how the distribution of wealth could create a terrible situation for this planet. Matt Damon looks awesome as a man put in a tough spot and forced into action, Jodie Foster looks suitably evil as Elysium’s leader, but one thing we didn’t see too much of was D9 star Sharlto Copley, who plays the utopian society’s lone security officer. His sword-wielding character is a total badass, and if the footage we saw at Comic-Con is any indication, he’s going to become an instant fan favorite.
Along with Looper writer/director Rian Johnson (who just announced his newest movie will probably be another sci-fi flick), Blomkamp is one of the freshest voices working in science fiction today. By working on his own material and letting these amazing worlds spring from his own imagination, he isn’t beholden to any corporation or board of trustees that has to micro-manage every element of the brand like what happened when his attempt at directing a Halo movie fell apart a few years back.
The writer/director created an entire graphic novel of the story and a complete write-up of tech schematics, weapons details, and vehicle plans before filming started, and that level of devotion to building a cinematic universe is something to be proud of. (In fact, Blomkamp’s detailed descriptions are what caused Matt Damon to sign on to the project.) I liked Prometheus more than a lot of my colleagues, but it’s still a little disheartening to see pioneers like Ridley Scott working on more prequels, sequels, and adaptations. Blomkamp is a creator, not an adapter, and that’s a huge part of the reason he’s already a hallowed name in the genre.
I’m guessing a lot of people will underestimate Blomkamp’s film, but there’s a good chance Elysium will become the surprise hit of the summer. Audiences are always complaining about how they wish Hollywood would step up and make something original instead of just recycling formulas over and over again, so now it’s time for them to put their money where their mouths are. Damon’s star power should be a draw for those who aren’t entirely convinced by the story, and the visual effects alone are fantastic enough to pull the geek crowd in (myself included). With a slate full of sequels set to arrive in the next few months, it’ll be awesome to see something new and exciting tear into theaters and shake things up.
What do you think of the trailer for Elysium? Are you excited for the film? Sound off below.
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