Neill Blomkamp’s sci-fi thriller ELYSIUM’s Poster & Trailer Spotlight

Boy oh boy! I’ve been looking forward to this film for quite some time now. In case you didn’t know already, I’m a huge fan of District 9 which was a surprise to me as I didn’t even know much about it when I saw it on the big screen. Well, it’s been over three years since I saw that film and finally, South African director Neill Blomkamp and actor Sharlto Copley are re-teaming for another sci-fi thriller.

I was kind of hoping that Copley would have the leading role this time around, but I understand that with a much-bigger budget, they’d need a movie star. So we’ve got Matt Damon in the lead instead. Check out the awesome poster of him with all that robotic stuff attached all over his body!


I originally thought this was a follow-up to District 9, as I’ve outlined on my Upcoming Flix Spotlight post a year ago. But now it’s clear that this film has a new storyline that’s not related to D-9 universe, though it still carries a similar social issue theme. Now, this film was first scheduled for release in March before being pushed back to August. I don’t think it’s a sign of trouble though, I think that’d give Blomkamp to release some viral marketing for it like he did for D-9 which was a smart move.

Now finally, a trailer!!

WHOAH!! I’m even more intrigued now after seeing this. I really like the look of this and the apocalyptic story looks very promising and thought provoking, with all the visual and thematic elements every sci-fi lovers would love. Blomkamp is working again with Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital so it’s to be expected that the special effect is going to rock! Even right off the bat, I like the stark contrast between the perfect world of the Elysium space station and the left-behind slum that is the Earth. I read that Blomkamp shot the Earth footage in Mexico City, and everything on Elysium in Vancouver.

Per IGN, like Blomkamp’s previous film, this one has a similarly impoverished and segregated society, but this time along economic lines rather than species. Where District 9 was a sci-fi allegory for racism, Elysium is about economic disparity.

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. Secretary Rhodes, a hard line government official, will stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve the luxurious lifestyle of the citizens of Elysium. That doesn’t stop the people of Earth from trying to get in, by any means they can. When unlucky Max is backed into a corner, he agrees to take on a daunting mission that if successful will not only save his life, but could bring equality to these polarized worlds.

Here are four more details I learned from this HitFix article, which summarized the SONY press preview event in L.A. with Blomkamp, Copley and producer Simon Kinberg:

  • Damon’s character is Max, an ex-con who’s working a factory job on Earth. A radiation leak prompted him to be cast off by the authoritarian government. He knows the only way to get rid of the toxic radiation is in Elysium, and he has to find a way to get there.
  • The robotic stuff on his body, and that data port on his head is the result of self-modification Max did as a mechanism to hijack security information from an Elysium citizen.
  • Sharlto Copley plays the bad guy, Kruger. He is an Elysium operative who lives on Earth, waiting to be activated. When an attack on an Elysium citizen occurs, he gets the signal.
  • Jodie Foster plays a Senator, as Foster herself described in Movieline as “… the person who controls who gets to come in [to Elysium] and who doesn’t. She’s methodical, her antagonism has a point.” She also mentions that Elysium is an international place, as its residents comes from all over the earth.
  • Blomkamp said that 2/3 of the film would take place on earth and 1/3 in Elysium to emphasize further that the space station is truly a fantastical place every human being aspire to live in.

Elysium is out in theaters on August 9, 2013. I can hardly wait!

On a related note, two years ago, I wrote this post-apocalyptic sci-fi drama pitch where some humans live in another planet whilst the remaining earth population struggle to survive.
Check it out and let me know what you think 😀

Are you as stoked as I am about this one? What do you think of the trailer?

41 thoughts on “Neill Blomkamp’s sci-fi thriller ELYSIUM’s Poster & Trailer Spotlight

  1. Ted S.

    I’m intrigued and glad that the trailer didn’t show much when it comes to the plot. I thought District 9 looked great for such small budgeted film, especially the special effects ( I still can’t get over how bad the effects in Olympus Has Fallen were considering it’s three times the budget of D9).

    With a $100mil budget, this film sure looks spectacular. I wasn’t a big fan of D9, thought the first half was great but fell apart for me when it turned into shoot’em up action/adventure in the last 40 or minutes or so. I’m pretty sure this one will follow the same formula but hopefully it’ll have a better result.

    1. Yeah it’s a darn good trailer wasn’t it? Ahah yeah, well they worked with Weta and because PJ was producing the film, he probably waived some of the Weta fee 😉 You’re right it’s eons better than the OHF one.

      I actually don’t mind the more action-packed part of D-9 as I was quite fascinated by Copley’s character transformation… and there’s a big emotional pay off in the end too.

      1. Ted S.

        That was my problem with D9, I didn’t care for Copley’s character, I actually wish he becomes the villain as the story goes on. I just didn’t buy his transformation to become the hero since he’s such a jerk in the beginning. I thought the story sort of contradict itself by making him the good guy in the second half. Hopefully Damon’s character in this movie won’t be like that.

        1. What?? You didn’t care for Copley’s character?? 😦 He’s the reason the movie worked for me, I really sympathized w/ Wikus though he was such a jerk. But that scene where he had to shoot the alien in the lab, man that was heartbreaking!

          I think Damon’s role would be much more heroic, y’know typical Hollywood where the protagonist gets to save the day, ahah. Well hopefully it won’t be as formulaic.

  2. Loving the look of this. It’s not often that we get treated to this kind of epic science fiction film and this certainly looks like it has the potential to blow me away. I like Sharlto Copley but I’m loving Matt Damon as the lead here.

    1. Hi Castor! Glad you’re as excited as I am. Yeah I’m ok w/ Damon in the lead too, and fingers crossed this would blow me away as it did D-9, and it won’t be as gross. Certainly it has the potential!

    1. Glad you’re on board Fernando! Yeah, the marketing is pretty cool so far, I was quite impressed by what they did w/ D-9 a few years ago despite its minimal budget.

  3. Looks promising from the trailer! If Elysium receives positive reviews as his last film District 9 did, then I’m in. Hopefully a solid story.
    I thought Jodie Foster said at Golden Globes she was done with acting(probably Elysium was filmed prior to GG). I wonder how many more films she’ll star in.

    1. I actually went to see D-9 before I read any reviews and was seriously impressed. I’ll definitely be all over this one when it comes out, hopefully there’s a press screening for it. Yeah I think Elysium’s filming has started a couple of years ago, bummer that she’s retiring though.

  4. As you know how I feel about In Time, this one feels the same. I am just not into a movie which has story of how the wealthy and the poor lived in diffrent world…however, just like In Time, I will watch it and hope for the best because Sharlto … glad to see him on big screen again 🙂

    1. I’d think this’d be eons better than In Time just from the cast standpoint. The concept might have similarities but I think it’s pretty different in terms of focus and scope. Yeah, I wish Sharlto stars in more films!

        1. Yeah, I sure hope Blomkamp delivers but I think he will. D-9 was eons better than In Time with no star in it and a fraction of its budget.

  5. Looks interesting but I don’t wanna get too excited. District 9 wasn’t really my thing. In fact I never made it through the entire film. The visuals on this one look amazing. You can tell they are playing with a lot more money this time. I’ll be checking the comments on it and still may check it out though.

    1. That’s probably wise Keith, but I REALLY like D-9 and I’ve been waiting for quite sometime so I’m more optimistic on this one 😀 I think Blomkamp has the talents for intriguing sci-fi and yes, it certainly helps to have more funds for his vision.

        1. Oh yeah, it’s amazing what he could do with a tiny budget. I love the premise of this one, I was like, I wish I had come up w/ that, ahah.

            1. Ahah, yeah I wish he’d *steal* my idea. I actually did a sci-fi movie pitch for a blog-a-thon event which has some similarities where it’s also set in apocalyptic times where some earth residents live in another planet, but in mine there are some aliens who look like humans & they’re trying to take over the human race. Now I wish I could do a script treatment for that one. In my “vision” I have Viggo Mortensen as the chief alien leader, and Chris Hemsworth as a human soldier 😀

  6. I had to Blomkamp throwing in the Halo ring in there at the 30 second mark as if to say “See what I could have done.” Kind of a middle finger to Microsoft for holding up the Halo movie to the point where he no longer wants to be involved..Brilliant. This should be a good one.

      1. Sadly Neill’s basically come out and said that he wouldn’t do Halo now even if asked.

        “The answer is, I probably wouldn’t do Halo if it was offered to me. But creatively, I would like to do it. It’s kind of like I’d be sad to not work on it, but I would still say no… I worked on it for five months… I put a lot of sort of sweat and blood into Halo. Creatively, it’s very compelling. I love it. But, when you work that long on something and you have it bottom out and collapse… I mean, I got District 9 out of it, I think I’m probably better off because it’s more of a personal film. But yeah, I love the world of Halo. (But) I don’t think I would go back there.” –

        1. Ah I see, I didn’t know that. Well, I’m glad he made D-9 because of it and I personally would rather he did something with a fresh concept instead of based on a video game.

    1. Well then this should be right your alley then Josh! I’ve become more of a Damon fan now though initially I found him annoying. He’s a good ‘everyman’ actor, much like Tom Hanks but he’s perhaps more versatile as I don’t see Hanks in this kind of roles.

    1. Fair enough Eric. Yeah I was a bit bummed out too, I was so convinced it would be, I even did an entire spotlight on it, but hey, at least this premise sounds very intriguing! Hope it’ll be just as good.

  7. Nice spotlight on this film, Ruth! Like you, I’ve been excited for this one for a while (having really enjoyed the fresh and thought-provoking DISTRICT9). The trailer looks amazing, and it;s nice to see an interesting movie being released in August for a change. Who knows when this sucker will make it to Japan, but I’ll be sure to catch it on the biggest screen possible.

    1. Hiya Jeff! I hope it’ll open about the same time in Japan as it does here, I mean it’s a big film with International flavor, should do well outside of the US. Glad you like D-9 too, I was emotionally-invested in the character, Wikus, which is always nice in any film, but especially sci-fi. I sure hope this would be just as good or better, not always a guarantee just because the film has a bigger budget now.

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