- 10 April 2013
- By John Howell
In Neill Blomkamp's Elysium, his second film after the science fiction classic District 9, the year is 2159 and two classes of people exist: the very wealthy living on a luxurious, man-made (and beautifully landscaped) space station called Elysium, and the poor and downtrodden, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. Crime and poverty make life on Earth a nightmare and anti-immigration laws and a well-armed elite keep the majority trapped, cut off from state of the art medical treatment and a luxurious lifestyle they can barely imagine.
Max (Matt Damon), an ordinary guy who has been exposed to radiation and has little time left to live, desperately needs to enter Elysium to survive. With his life at stake, he assists a rebellious force on a mission to break into paradise. His mission could help millions on Earth and alter the balance between the haves and the have nots forever.
The space station habitat in Elysium is based on the "Stanford Torus" idea proposed by NASA in 1975 that features an approximately 2 kilometre doughnut-shaped ring (torus), that rotates once a minute to generate artificial gravity on the inside of the ring using centrifugal force. A system of mirrors provide sunlight to the habitable surface. The ring itself is connected to a hub via a number of spokes, allowing people and material to easily travel to and from the hub.
Max comes up against Elysium's mayor, Secretary Jessica Delacourt (Jodie Foster) and her impressive technology and specialised armed forces. The spacecraft shots and the weaponry are very District 9 like, while the ruined Earth settings clearly bring to mind the alien immigration slums in District 9. Matt Damon is bald too and needs a good shave.
To undertake his mission, the trailer shows Max equipping himself with a heavy duty robot exoskeleton – a more plausible version of Iron Man's suit.
While I liked the Elysium trailer, I wasn't as taken in as I expected to be. I'm not going to underestimate Neill Blomkamp though, District 9 is one of science fiction's classic films, one of the iconic genre productions of the last decade. And what exactly do trailers tell us anyway?
Elysium is due to be released internationally 9 August, 2013.
Interestingly, I read on Yahoo that the planet scenes were shot at a massive 975-acre landfill outside of Mexico City. Bordo Poniente houses more than 76 million tons of trash. The landfill received 12,700 tons of garbage daily before being shut down in early 2012 when it reached capacity. Elysium was shot there only days before they closed it for good. The ruined Earth is likely to look all too real...
You can find the official Elysium website here and you can watch the first trailer on YouTube below. Impressed or not? Let us know.
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