Imagine a future where mankind has developed the technology to cure all disease. Imagine a future where war is a distant memory and poverty a distant concept. In Neil Blomkamp's upcoming science fiction epic Elysium this future is real…well, for the privileged anyway. Set in 2154, this action adventure starring Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, and Sharlto Copley plays out in a world where the wealthy, beautiful and privileged have moved away from the pit mankind has made of Earth and into a utopia within a manmade space station that looks down on the ruined planet. This is where everything is perfect for those who can afford it. Then there's the poor bastards that can't.
Down on Earth, Max De Costa (Damon) is a former thief trying to go legit with a blue-collar job at a robotics plant. But when a horrific accident on the job leaves him with only days to live, he comes up with a radical plan to save his own life, a plan so radical it could change the world as he knows it. A cure for his terminal illness exists on Elysium. And to get it he's going to have to break in and take it. One of his co-workers gives Max a fighting chance by merging his fast-failing flesh with robotics, making him more than a man, a cyborg.
Jodie Foster plays Secretary Rhodes, who oversees Elysium. When word of rogue transports trying to breach their heavenly space station reaches her, she sees it as a threat to the entire divided class system Elysium represents. And so a war begins.
Previous trailers for the film have teased the concept of class warfare, but this is the first that has satisfyingly summarized the plot. But to be perfectly honest, Blomkamp as writer and director was enough to count this on our summer must-see list. The South African director broke on to the international film scene in a major way with his first feature District 9 back in 2009.
The sci-fi drama was not only praised by critics for its keen storytelling and thought-provoking criticism of racism and xenophobia, but also embraced by audiences worldwide, pulling in an astounding $210 million at the box office. It launched South African actor Sharlto Copley, who has since landed roles in such noteworthy productions as Spike Lee's Oldboy and the Angelina Jolie vehicle Maleficent. Plus, the film went on to earn four Academy Award nominations, including Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Achievement in Visual Effects, and and Best Motion Picture of the Year! So, yeah, seeing Blomkamp's follow-up is a no-brainer.
Of course with stars like Damon, Copley, and Foster, the cast is another great reason to look ahead to Elysium. But after a slate of gleefully mindless summer films (which we loved, make no mistake), we're ready for a summer spectacle that has a bit more to chew on. With its in-your-face themes of privilege and health care only for the wealthy, Elysium (sadly) could not be better timed.
Elysium opens August 9th.