CATEGORIES Movie NewsTypically, August is known as a dumping ground for run-of-the-mill flicks -- ones that end up doing poorly critically and commercially. However, that could change this year with Neil Blomkamp's futuristic sci-fi flick "Elysium."
The long-awaited follow-up to Blomkamp's surprise 2009 hit "District 9," "Elysium" focuses on issues of class and oppression in the year 2159. Here, Matt Damon stars as Max Coburn, an ex-con living on a ruined planet Earth, which has become overpopulated with the sick and poor. As for the rich folks, they're floating above Earth in Elysium, a utopia where the extremely wealthy live out their opulent lives, blissfully unaware of the chaos happening below.
Moviefone was recently invited to a sneak preview of the film, where we got a look at the trailer and several minutes of footage. Here are seven things to expect when "Elysium" (a film you should be excited about) hits theaters on August 9.
1. The Earth in "Elysium" Is in Shambles: Are you part of the 99 percent? Sorry, but in this film you've been left on Earth to slum it with most of humanity. The footage we saw depicted a planet filled with crumbling buildings, shantytowns, and disease. In a nutshell, this version of Earth sucks, which is why everyone who is still living there is trying to get out and go to "Elysium." Why? Because ...
2. Elysium Is Utopia: If you want to build a space station for super-rich people, you better make it shine. The world of Elysium (the station not the movie) is flush with beautiful green fields, crystal clear bodies of water, and picturesque views of space. As the trailer states, on Elysium, there is "no poverty, no war, no sickness." Sounds like a pretty sweet deal if you can make the cut.
3. Matt Damon Is Back in Fighting Mode It's been quite some time since we saw "action star" Damon. Here, he plays an ex-con looking to sneak into Elysium, where he can get top-of-the-line medical care to help save his life. The only problem is actually getting there. Enter Damon's gigantic robotic arm, a piece of equipment that gives him a ridiculous amount of strength and the ability to download knowledge from others. When I spoke to Damon at Comic-Con last summer, he called this arm the hulk suit (for the record, I am not sure if that's the official term for it), which "bolts into and locks into your nervous system." Cue a scene in the footage where the piece of metal is actually bolted into his nervous system. Ouch.
4. Fun With Technology: "Elysium" takes place a hundred years in the future, so you better believe Blomkamp stuffed this movie with tons of futuristic new toys, the most important being Damon's aforementioned robot arm. But there are plenty of other fun gadgets, too, including the "Prometheus"-like medical treatment center, which can diagnose everything from a cold to cancer.
5. The Visuals Are Spectacular: CGI can be hit or miss these days. However, if the "Elysium" footage we saw is any indication, the visuals in this movie will be absolutely stunning. The 2159 screwed-up version of Earth looks the part, as does the beautiful, heaven-like Elysium. "By far the biggest challenge is the space station itself. There was a sh*tload of robotics and aircrafts and weapons. It looks cool, though," Blomkamp told me last summer.
6. Jodie Foster Is Not Messing Around: Foster is the big baddie in this film, playing Secretary Delacourt, a hard-nosed head-of-state looking to protect the world of Elysium at all costs. The wealthy space station she helps run has a strong anti-immigration policy, which means trespassers get shot on site.
7. The Plot Mirrors Some of Our Current National Issues: Just like "District 9" before it, "Elysium" deals with the divisive issue of class warfare. In America, a minority of the population owns a vast majority of the wealth, a fact that is certainly not lost on Blomkamp. There's also the anti-immigration policy, a topic which is currently making the rounds in Congress.
8. The Movie Has a Sense of Humor: Matt Damon may be fighting for his life, but his character seems to be taking it in good spirits. At one point in the footage, he publicly shames his robot parole officer by throwing a little sarcasm his way. He even screws around with a robot security force that tries to frisk him (unfortunately for him, his jokes end up getting his arm broken).
"Elysium" hits theaters August 9