Anticipation is high for filmmaker Neill Blomkamp’s followup to his breakout hit District 9, which is another sci-fi project titled Elysium. However, save for a handful of set photos – revealing Matt Damon with a shaved head, bloodied clothing, and unidentified futuristic body equipment – there hasn’t been any news of substance to report since Blomkmap began shooting his sophomore feature.
Prior to now, virtually nothing in the way of concrete information has been revealed about the storyline for Elysium, other than what little can be gleaned from the titular reference to the Elysian Fields from Greek mythology (a final resting place for noble souls). A newly-unveiled synopsis sheds light on how that story ties into the film’s central narrative, on a literal and figurative level (a la Prometheus).
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. Secretary Rhodes (Jodie Foster), a hard line government ofﬁcial, will stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve the luxurious lifestyle of the citizens of Elysium. That doesn’t stop the people of Earth from trying to get in, by any means they can. When unlucky Max (Matt Damon) is backed into a corner, he agrees to take on a daunting mission that, if successful, will not only save his life, but could bring equality to these polarized worlds.
Previous (unconfirmed) reports indicated that Damon’s character is an ex-convict, which has prompted speculation about what the aforementioned body suit could be. One of the popular theories (among others) pegs the mechanical appendage as a life-supporting item, thus making Max (by definition) a cyborg; that could set the stage for Blomkamp’s film to explore the increasingly prevalent role technology plays in our everyday lives (similar to the impending RoboCop remake). Bear in mind, though, that guess could also be WAY off base.
Moving past that – Elysium appears to offer a mix of gruesome violence, thrills, and sci-fi allegory along the lines of District 9. The logline alludes to a storyline that addresses timely issues of social upheaval and class warfare, which are currently all the rage in both movies (The Hunger Games, Dark Knight Rises) and on television (Legend of Korra). It also suggests a place for the “antagonist” being portrayed by Wagner Moura, who’s previously been described as a divisive, but charismatic figure involved with human trafficking (possibly, into Elysium).
Supporting roles in Elysium will be filled out by people like District 9 star Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga (Predators), Diego Luna (Y Tu Mamá También), William Fichtner (Prison Break), Carly Pope (Outlaw), Michael Shanks (Stargate SG-1) and Talisa Soto (Mortal Kombat). The diversity of that roster – in combination with the Elysium synopsis, indicates that issues of xenophobia and contemporary racism should also be touched on (as they were in D9).
Overall, there appears to be reason enough for fans of cerebral sci-fi to mark their calendars for March 1st, 2013, which is when Elysium begins its theatrical release in the U.S. Naturally, we’ll continue to keep you up-to-date on the project’s status in the meantime.