Trailer Tuesday: Elysium

Cinematic science fiction clearly isn't the easiest thing to get right. These days it's pretty difficult to avoid comparisons to predecessors in the genre. Novel adaptations, remakes and reinterpretations dominate, with original quality sci-fi films being quite rare. Particularly the creatively ambitious, A-grade ones...

Well, it seems that Oscar-nominated writer-director (and South African!) Neill Blomkamp has accepted the challenge of making the latter. Yet again. Check out the trailer for his District 9 follow-up project, Elysium above.

Set in 2154, Elysium is blatantly social commentary through science fiction. In this future, Humanity is very much split between the minority Haves and majority Have Nots. If you're lucky, you can buy yourself a spot on Elysium, a space settlement reserved for the very privileged - and named, of course, after the very exclusive Ancient Greek "heaven." If you are less fortunate however, you're stuck on an overcrowded shithole of a planet Earth, plagued by crime, drugs and violence. Here every day sees the population literally fighting for their lives in the battle for resources.

Max (Matt Damon) is a member of the underclass, and has been in and out of reform facilities his entire life. His one chance at getting into Elysium means accepting a dangerous mission, and donning a special exosuit. He has the potential to change the status quo for the people on Earth but he faces fierce opposition from Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster), who will do anything to keep the illegal immigrant taint out of her paradise. As it turns out, anything includes turning to unhinged Kruger (Sharlto Copley) - a member of the deadly Civil Cooperation Bureau - to do her dirty work. Also appearing in the film meanwhile are Alice Braga and William Fichtner

Now certainly Elysium's class battle doesn't sound like anything particularly unique. However,  District 9 was something special (my review) - a sleeper hit that managed to mix a compelling, gritty sci-fi actioner with a intelligent examination of prejudice and racism. Here's hoping Blomkamp can replicate the same delicious recipe with his sophomore big screen effort.

Elysium opens in North America on 9 August. Sadly, the film's South African release date has yet to be announced.


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