There’s been a question mark around District 9 director Neill Blomkamp’s second film, Elysium, for some time. Originally teased at last year’s San Diego Comic Con, the film was set for release in March, but found itself pushed back to the same August frame that proved fruitful for Blomkamp’s last film. Now with the film four months within earshot, we finally get our first look at the futuristic action film.
Blomkamp’s undeniably in the same visual realm as District 9, collaborating once again with cinematographer Trent Opaloch in creating a dystopic Earth in a state of impoverishment, reminiscent of the slums of Johannesburg, but taken to their squalid extremes. Even the futuristic tech utilized in the film is similar to that of District 9, with robots shaped similarly to prawns, and a mech suit that grants Matt Damon’s character incredible strength.
The plot follows Damon’s character through an overpopulated Earth, where the rich have been evacuated to a purified, utopian space station while the poor are left in destitution. Comparisons are more apt to Metropolis than they are to the 99% movement many are already attributing to the film, and it’s clear Blomkamp is still dealing with the conditions he grew up with in Johannesburg through elaborate science-fiction. It remains to be seen, though, if this will inspire the same pathos as his last effort, but my gut tells me he hasn’t abandoned his values in favor of mainstream success. Check out the trailer here.