The stunning book from UK-based publisher Titan includes an interesting foreword by director Neill Blomkamp, who enlisted help from a lot of his "District 9" crew to help him bring "Elysium" to life. He reunited with, among others, production designer Phil Ivey ("Lord of the Rings"), and the New Zealand-based conceptual design shop, Weta Workshop ("Avatar," "The Hobbit").
Blomkamp reveals that he loved companion books as a kid. "They had all of the wonders of cinema and the secrets behind its creation," he writes in his intro. "It was like peeking behind the curtain, and seeing all of the ingredients that culminated together to manufacture the huge magic trick that is a final film."
This book certainly allows readers to peek behind "Elysium"'s curtain. It's packed with beautiful images of the fictional Elysium, which is a metaphor for the present-day First World, as well as stark pictures of the favela (shanty town) that 2159 Los Angeles has become, representing today's Third World. Elysium is a playground for the rich, and the only way the poor suckers stuck on Earth can get there is by buying a spot on an illegal space shuttle, of which the book has tons of cool drawings.
In addition to the beautiful photos, the book delves into everything you could ever possibly want to know about the movie -- from the elaborate sets to the badass tattoos to the super cool robots. It even includes insights from the film's stars, Matt Damon and Jodie Foster.
The entire book is pretty amazing, and we really could go on all day about it. We know you have better things to do, though, so we've pinpointed a few of our favorite things and compiled a slideshow of images to whet your appetite.
1. The pimped-out space shuttle. Carlyle, played by "The Dark Knight"'s William Fichtner, is a rich dude who lives on Elysium but owns a factory on Earth. When he has to go down and mix with the poor people, he does it in style in his own luxury Bugatti shuttle. To keep things as authentic as a pimped-out space shuttle from the future can get, Blomkamp managed to enlist Bugatti's help in designing the futuristic vehicle. They weren't an easy sell, but Blomkamp won them over.
2. The weapons. If you didn't know Blomkamp was a gun enthusiast, it will be more than evident after seeing "Elysium" or perusing this book. The level of detail that went into each weapon, from the futuristic gadgets on Elysium to the more contemporary guns on Earth, is remarkable. As Blomkamp's production designer Phil Ivey explains, "You can ask him anything about guns and he'll know it. He'll probably own it as well. So guns are his babies, and that's something he developed very early on in the script."
3. Conceptualizing "Elysium." Bringing Blomkamp's vision of "Bel Air in space" to life was an intricate process, and the book features fascinating drawings, diagrams, logos and behind-the-scenes insights that help illuminate just how much work went into it all. Blomkamp even brought in futurist designer Syd Mead ("Aliens," "Blade Runner") to craft early drawings. As Mead emphasizes in the book, corridors are key. "Corridors are the prime example of [design in] science-fiction films," he says in the book. "It has to look cool; not like it's in your local hospital or office building." And you thought a corridor was just a corridor!
"Elysium" opens in theaters on August 9.