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Neill Blomkamp's Elysium


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Another film with segregation as a theme. It does seem like absolutely ages ago I was watching Matt Damon explain his baldness on The Daily Show, and he said literally nothing about the film then. I assume Sony pushing it back doesn't say anything about their opinion of the film, which must've finished post production by now. Well, we'll see what they think of it once they start marketing the thing, I suppose.

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Another film with segregation as a theme. It does seem like absolutely ages ago I was watching Matt Damon explain his baldness on The Daily Show, and he said literally nothing about the film then. I assume Sony pushing it back doesn't say anything about their opinion of the film, which must've finished post production by now. Well, we'll see what they think of it once they start marketing the thing, I suppose.

I don't think it was pushed back, I think it's always been March 2013 (goes to check rest of thread)

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Yeah you're right, March has always been the official release date, which was announced in March 2011. When the film was first announced Sony said they thought it would appear towards the end of 2012, but never got any more specific than that.

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Filming wrapped absolutely ages ago. I think Damon's appearance on the Daily Show was over six months ago, and he said it was finished then. It's obviously effects heavy being a Blomkamp film, with a much bigger budget than District 9, so who knows how long post production will go on for.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Now that Verhoeven isn't doing sci-fi anymore, Neil Blomkamp is pretty much the only guy around right now who makes violent sci-fi movies with a satirical slant. I have high hopes for this. Comic Con will no doubt teach us more. If it wasn't for Pacific Rim, this would be the panel I'd like to see most.

You just know Damon's railgun is gonna gib people Quake 2 style. :)

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What I loved about District 9 was it was Sci-Fi with balls, loads of gore and action and awesome weapons without fear of being toned down PG13 horseshit. Really looking forward to this. Blomkamp could be the new Verhoeven as he gets bigger and better projects.

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Someone who's seen the film oddly stated that it's better than Blade Runner what ever that means, considering the only thing they have in common to my knowledge is that they are sci-fi films.

Yesterday I ran into someone in Hollywood that had seen an early cut of the movie and claimed that not only was it better than Blade Runner but also featured one of Matt Damon’s best performances — talk about high praise.

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Someone who's seen the film oddly stated that it's better than Blade Runner what ever that means, considering the only thing they have in common to my knowledge is that they are sci-fi films.

Although it does sound like Elysium is the kind of off-world paradise touted throughout BR, but never shown.

OMG maybe it is set in the same universe as Blade Runner, and in the last five minutes fans will be delighted to clearly see the Blade Runner DNA!

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I imagine we'll get a lot more impressions as the day goes on (I hope so, as there's not much here), for now, this is was Deadline thought of the Panel/footage

The most-anticipated moment of the Sony panel was easily the presentation of Neil Blomkamp‘s Elysium, and it did not disappoint, looking like a 2001/District 9 hybrid, or maybe even Wall-E with humans. It’s another stylish sci-fi class-struggle parable with Matt Damon as a shaven-headed working-class guy on an overpopulated earth (downtown LA is shown covered with tent encampments, even atop the skyscrapers). He was inadvertently exposed to toxic radiation and given a mechanical exoskeleton to help him capture a rich bureaucrat played by William Fichtner and infiltrate Elysium, an off-world space station created for the richest 1%, where disease can be eradicated and everything is perfect. Sharlto Copley’s also in there as a crazy bearded dude with a personal force-field. Robotic cops look not unlike the District 9 bugs. It feels like a potential smash. The footage shown had rough, unfinished effects but it didn’t matter. Panelists were Blomkamp, Jodie Foster, producer Simon Kinberg, Copley (hugely cheered by this crowd) and Damon. Copley revealed that his character is a villain, which wasn’t evident in the clips. He also begged fans to ask Blomkamp for a District 9 sequel, joking that he’s still looking for work.

Asked about the difficulty of his role, Damon noted that the reality is that acting is what they really love, and even when it’s hard, it’s great — and that the hardest part was when he was looking for work and no acting challenge compares to that. When asked about her “technique”, Foster ventured that as with her movie Nell, for example, “I don’t know how good the movie was … but what I realized was that I just needed to drink coffee and show up.”

Elysium shot quite a bit in Mexico City to really bring out the feel of poverty. Blomkamp said he felt the crew in Vancouver, who took the trouble to wear masks for paint fumes, really didn’t appreciate how bad real poverty smelled. He described s “sandstorms” that were mostly fecal matter. Damon said “I just tried not to think about it”. The cartoonish robot prop shown earlier at the booth in the hall is an automaton bureaucrat that deals with Damon’s consumer complaints.

As they usually do at these things a fan asked about something completely different. Regarding his work on the Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s puppet movie Team America: World Police, he said “Some people say that’s my best performance. At autograph signings, I’ve signed more puppet pictures.” He said he wishes he could take credit for that. “Those guys are geniuses.”

Joblo - #Elysium looks unbelievably badass and huge in scope. Footage lived up to the expectations set by District 9. Full report soon!

Total Film - #Elysium footage shows a brutal but thoughtful sci-fi actioner, another fine-looking slice of dystopia from Neill Blomkamp

AICN's Quint - Holy fucking hell! Elysium! Absolutely the tonal and spiritual follow-up to District 9 // Elysium is a ringworld paradise hovering above earth. Nice to see Blomkamp getting to put a little Halo in there

/film - Elysium footage wins Comic Con 2012 (thus far)

Latino Review - Elysium footage was insane!

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Quint's report - Some plot/scene spoilers - sounds very interesting (and gory)

Basically the footage sets up that Earth is a giant shithole (surprise surprise). Over-polluted, over-populated… you know, the dystopian ideal… Very dusty, very District 9 feeling (in a good way, not in a “I’ve already seen this” way).

Just outside of Earth’s orbit is a man-made sanctuary with all the best scientific and medical minds called Elysium that looks like Stanley Kubrick’s Halo. It’s a Ringworld that rotates under machine power, very much reminiscent of the 2001 ships and it’s gorgeous. I have to wonder how much, if any, of what Blomkamp intended to be in his Halo movie made its way here.

The footage began by showing us these two contrasts and then showed us that the promise of a better life for those on Earth is a mega lie. As with everything, the super rich get all the benefits and the poor that scrounge up enough to move on up get blown away by a missile system while they think they’re on their way to paradise.

Damon plays Max, a worker bee type. The first bit of footage we see of him is him sassing a security bot (think a mean combination of the good boxing robot in Real Steel) on his way into work and getting the shit kicked out of him. He’s works on a robotic assembly line and an accident on the job gets him locked into a room with a toxic amount of radiation. When he wakes up, he finds out he has 5 days to live and knowing the only place that could possibly cure him is Elysium he sets out, determined to find a way up there.

He’s hired to steal a device from William Fichtner’s character and that will pay his way to Elysium… of course, Fichtner’s character is an Elysium big shot, so Damon can’t just go get him in his puny 100% organic form. No way, Jose! He has get his crazy exo-suit you see in the above picture, which was shown being installed in a surprisingly bloody and horrific operating scene. We’re talking skull pieces removed and computer parts jammed in kind of wrongness.

I thought the set up was showing a whole movie about Damon tracking down Fichtner, but that seems to happen pretty early on in the story, actually. They get to him, get his device and Jodie Foster, up on Elysium, doesn’t like that and calls for backup assistance.

That assistance comes in the form of what I can only describe as a homeless ninja assassin played by District 9’s Sharlto Copley. This dude wears a ragged robe with a hood, like a Hobo Jedi, and fights with a katana sword… Copley is kinda nuts here, full beard, crazy eyes and some unexpected technology (there’s a scene where Damon has him dead to rights, fires his big gun and Copley activates some kind of crazy force field). It’s pretty clear that Damon is outmatched by this guy.

In fact, he’s always way in over his head it seems. There were bits of Damon ripping off a guard robot’s head with his new powerful exo-suit, a passing ship firing little hockey pucks out that attach themselves to somebody firing on the ship, then explode into a bloody mess, a ninja star thrown into somebody’s chest (“it’s only a flesh wound!” then boom, more splatter, and a few scenes of Jodie Foster’s crazy accurate South American accent as she shouts orders from her little neat and tidy office up in paradise.

From the footage I saw, the tone, feel and sense of politics at play very much sets Elysium as a tonal and spiritual follow-up to District 9. I’d almost call it a sequel in a Sergio Leone sense. You know that the Man With No Name Trilogy doesn’t really work as one cohesive storyline, but it reuses actors in a familiar landscape and that’s what this felt like. Huge production value, hard political sci-fi and tons of splattery gore.

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My Twitter timeline was full of Comic Con attendees who were raving about this. Collider has a good write-up as well:

http://collider.com/comic-con-elysium/178343/

Judging by the footage, Elysium has the goods where it counts. The action looks terrific (and we saw a lot of action), but more importantly it has a compelling protagonist, serious stakes, and thoughtful subtext. Blomkamp appears to once again have blended great sci-fi with a kick-ass action flick. I was already excited about Elysium, but it’s easily now one of my most-anticipated films of next year.

As I said above, there is a definite parallel between the sci-fi work of Blomkamp and Verhoeven, the difference being that Blomkamp creates his own universes. But yeah, violent sci-fi films with a satirical subtext are very welcome and wealth disparity is a good follow- up to the theme of apartheid that ran through District 9. Kudos to Sony as well for supporting smart sci-fi movies like this and Looper, movies about ideas instead of explosions.

Probably the star of the Con then, were it not for the utterly amazing buzz on Pacific Rim, which will be shown today.

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