Film Preview – Elysium (2013)

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Release date: 9th Aug 2013 (US) / 21st Aug 2013 (UK)

Director: Neill Blomkamp

Starring: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, William Fichtner.

South African director Neil Blomkamp may not currently be amongst the most well-known film makers in the world, but the Science Fiction genre is certainly lucky to have him as a contributor. After making a series of stand-out short films (see below), his breakthrough into mainstream success was with low-budget production “District-9” which firmly held it’s place amongst the blockbusters of 2009 and delivered a much-needed fresh and engaging approach to scifi filmmaking. His next film “Elysium” starring Matt Damon, is scheduled for release in August 2013 and has scifi nerds the world over slobbering at the prospect we may actually be about to get another film which both looks incredible and has enough depth to be remembered longer than a week.

As we run up to the release, we’ll keep this article updated with all the latest news and artifacts (read from the bottom up for a full history).

Thanks for following the preview – our full review is now available here: http://scifimethods.com/articles/film-review-elysium-2013/1333/

2013, August: The film is released in the US on 9th August, and in the run-up a whole range of TV Spots, clips and the extended trailer are released. Initial impressions are positive, with the main criticism being of the film’s overtly socio-political message. We’ve included the extended trailer below, and also included a nice 15-minute behind the scenes B-Roll, which includes some very interesting footage of the film being produced.

2013, June: A new trailer is released which further shows off the film’s hi-tech weaponry and other design work. Overall it still doesn’t reveal a great deal though, and the divide between believers and naysayers widens. Watch the new trailer below and have a look at one of the latest stills featuring Matt Damon and Sharlto Copley.

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2013, April: News starts to circulate on 8th April that the Elysium trailer will be released the following day; nerds across the world clear their diaries. The trailer delivers some very exciting footage of cool technology which will feature in the film, along with Blomkamp’s trademark computer effects seamlessly merged with live action; but it is only a very basic teaser and doesn’t fill the hole that a full trailer would/hopefully will soon. This has left many fans disappointed but still hugely excited about the film’s release in August.

If for some insane reason you’ve been unable to watch the trailer, here it is:

Around the same time, some new images appear, which we’ve included below. The film’s official website ( itsbetterupthere.com) is updated, and the “Civil Cooperation Bureau” sub-site ( civilcooperationbureau.com ) has some very cool 3D models to play with – check out “Weapons & Vehicles” and “Enforcement Technology” from the top menu. Finally, there is a nice collection of stills from the trailer for you to over-analyse on the ForeverGeek website: http://www.forevergeek.com/2013/04/a-closer-look-at-elysium/

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2012, July-December: As the release had originally been scheduled for March 2013, the fanbase are becoming distraught at the lack of a real trailer by the end of the year. Some shots from the set (below) emerged showing Matt Damon and Sharlto Copley in character, but the production is shrouded largely in secrecy. The official synopsis (also below) is updated and a new release date of 9th August 2013 is circulated.

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“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. The people of Earth are desperate to escape the planet’s crime and poverty, and they critically need the state-of-the-art medical care available on Elysium – but some in Elysium will stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve their citizens’ luxurious lifestyle. The only man with the chance bring equality to these worlds is Max (Matt Damon), an ordinary guy in desperate need to get to Elysium. With his life hanging in the balance, he reluctantly takes on a dangerous mission – one that pits him against Elysium’s Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster) and her hard-line forces – but if he succeeds, he could save not only his own life, but millions of people on Earth as well.”

2011, July: A promotional website (armadyne.net) and video, depicting a recruitment advertisement for the fictional company “Armadyne” surfaces, along with concept art for the film at Comic-Con. The Elysium space station strikes a resemblance to the way William Gibson describes “Freeside” in the novel Neuromancer.

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2011, January: Sony Pictures agree to fund Blomkamp’s next project, “Elysium” based on his early writing and design artwork. The film goes into production in July 2011 with an estimated budget of $120million.

2009, August: District-9 is released as a surprise success across the world, winning larger audiences than many of the year’s big releases. The film turns over many multiples of it’s own production budget ($30million).

2007, November: Funding for the Halo film falls through, so Jackson and Blomkamp decide to put a full-length adaption of his short “Alive In Joburg” into production.

2007, February: Blomkamp is hired by Microsoft to direct a trilogy of live-action short films (known together as “Landfall” – video below) to promote the upcoming Halo 3 game. Around this time, renowned director Peter Jackson is impressed by Blomkamp’s work and begins talks for the two of them to make a full-length Halo film.

2004 – 2006: Blomkamp directs the short films Tetra Vaal (2004), Alive In Joburg (2005), Yellow (2006) and Tempbot (2006).




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  • http://www.facebook.com/alexbigman Alex Bigman

    I cannot wait for Elysium. Blomkamp’s design/production aesthetic is amazing and some of the best there has ever been IMO. I saw a short clip of Elysium at Comic Con and it was amazing. I am calling it right now that Elysium will be a top 5 CLASSIC science fiction film. 100% DEAD SERIOUS

    • http://twitter.com/tomdriley Tom Riley

      I’m absolutely drooling about this too – was so disappointed when the release date got moved from March to August!! Can you tell us what was in the clip you saw?