Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Neill Blomkamp|
|Written by||Neill Blomkamp|
|Music by||Ryan Amon|
|Distributed by||TriStar Pictures|
|Box office||$286 million|
Elysium is a 2013 American science fiction action film written, directed, and co-produced by Neill Blomkamp, and starring Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, and Sharlto Copley. It was released on August 9, 2013, in both conventional and IMAX Digital theaters. Elysium is a co-production of Media Rights Capital and TriStar Pictures.
The film takes place on both a ravaged Earth, and a luxurious space habitat called Elysium. It explores political and sociological themes such as immigration, overpopulation, health care, exploitation, the justice system, and class issues.
In 2154, Earth is overpopulated and polluted. Most of the Earth's citizens live in complete poverty, with little food, technology and medical care. The rich and powerful people live in Elysium — a terraformed space habitat in orbit. Advanced technology includes Med-Bays — medical machines which can cure all diseases, reverse the aging process and regenerate new body parts. A long-running feud exists between the wealthy Elysium citizens and the Earth citizens, who want Elysium technology to cure their medical ailments.
Max Da Costa (Matt Damon), a former car thief, and now a parolee, lives in the ruins of Los Angeles and works at an assembly line for Armadyne Corp, a company run by John Carlyle (William Fichtner), who originally designed Elysium, and now supplies it with weaponry as well as the robots which police Earth. After an industrial accident at the factory, Max becomes poisoned by a lethal dose of radiation and is given five days to live. Desperate for a cure, he and his friend Julio (Diego Luna) seek help from a people smuggler named Spider (Wagner Moura) to get him to Elysium, since his only chance for survival is using a Med-Bay.
Meanwhile, when a caravan of illegal immigrants from Earth attempts to reach Elysium and its Med-Bays, Elysian Secretary of Defense Delacourt (Jodie Foster) orders a sleeper agent, Kruger (Sharlto Copley), to shoot down the shuttles. Elysian President Patel (Faran Tahir) reprimands her for her immoral and unsubtle methods, and threatens to fire her unless she tones down her actions. Regarded as a loose cannon, Kruger is dismissed from service. Delacourt, vowing to protect Elysium and her own power, bargains with John Carlyle to create a program that can override Elysium's computer core to give her the Presidency. Carlyle stores the program in his brain for transport to Elysium and encrypts it with a lethal protection system.
Spider agrees to get Max to Elysium if he steals financial information from Carlyle. To assist him, Spider's men surgically attach a powered exoskeleton to Max. With Julio and a team of Spider's men, Max intercepts Carlyle's ship and downloads the program to his suit's neural implant, but realizes that the encryption makes it unusable. Delacourt secretly readmits Kruger and deploys him to recover the program. In the ensuing firefight, Carlyle and Julio are killed, while Max himself is wounded. He reaches out to his childhood friend Frey (Alice Braga), now a nurse, whose daughter Matilda has leukemia. Frey begs Max to take Matilda to Elysium so that she can be cured, but Max refuses in order to protect them. Soon after Max leaves, Kruger arrives and takes Frey and Matilda prisoner aboard his ship, while his drones hunt for Max. Delacourt orders an airspace lockdown over Los Angeles to buy enough time to recover Carlyle's program.
Max delivers the program to Spider, who discovers that the program can be used to make all Earth residents Elysian citizens. However, because the lockdown makes it impossible to leave Earth, Max bargains with Kruger to be taken to Elysium, not knowing that Kruger has already found out that Frey assisted Max and is holding her and Matilda hostage on the ship. As Kruger's ship leaves Earth, Spider and his men take advantage of the lift of the lockdown and also board a ship towards Elysium. Meanwhile, in Kruger's ship, a fight ensues and Kruger is grievously wounded by a grenade blast, which also disables the ship's engines. After Kruger's ship crashes on Elysium, Max, Frey and Matilda are arrested and taken to Delacourt, who orders the download of the program, despite the fact that it will kill Max.
After being restored in a Med-Bay by his lackeys Drake and Crowe, a deranged Kruger kills Delacourt after she chastises him for his recklessness. On Kruger's orders, Drake and Crowe exterminate the Elysian political officers, in order to seize control for himself. Meanwhile, having escaped his confinement, Max, knowing that Med-Bays only work for Elysian citizens, resolves to use Carlyle's program to give everyone on Earth citizenship. He rescues Frey and Matilda, dealing with Drake and Crowe on the way. He then meets Spider and heads for Elysium's core but is ambushed by Kruger, now equipped with a military-grade exoskeleton far superior to Max's. In the ensuing fight, Max manages to disable Kruger's suit. However, Kruger tethers himself to Max's suit and arms a grenade with the intent of killing them both. Max rips off the tether and hurls Kruger over a ledge to his death.
Spider and Max reach Elysium's computer core, where Spider realizes that the program's activation will kill Max. Max personally activates the program, having spoken a last time with Frey via radio. As Max dies, Elysium's computer core reboots and registers every Earth resident as an Elysian citizen. President Patel arrives with security guards but the robots refuse to arrest Spider, whom they now recognize as a citizen. Spider mocks Patel, saying that Elysium now belongs to everyone. Matilda is cured by a Med-Bay, and Elysium's computer dispatches a huge fleet of medical ships to Earth to begin treatment of the new Elysian citizens, all people on Earth.
- Matt Damon as Max Da Costa
- Maxwell Perry Cotton as young Max
- Jodie Foster as Defense Secretary Delacourt
- Sharlto Copley as Agent C.M. Kruger
- Alice Braga as Frey Santiago
- Valentina Giros as young Frey
- Diego Luna as Julio
- Wagner Moura as Spider
- William Fichtner as John Carlyle
- Brandon Auret as Drake
- Josh Blacker as Crowe
- Faran Tahir as President Patel
- Emma Tremblay as Matilda Santiago
- Jose Pablo Cantillo as Sandro
- Adrian Holmes as Manuel
- Michael Mando as Rico
- Carly Pope, Ona Grauer and Michael Shanks as CCB agents
Elysium was produced by Simon Kinberg, and written and directed by Neill Blomkamp, the director and co-writer of District 9 (2009). It reunites Blomkamp with some of his District 9 crew, such as editor Julian Clarke, production designer Philip Ivey, cinematographer Trent Opaloch, and actor Sharlto Copley, playing one of the film's antagonists.
Although the film's story is set in 2154, Blomkamp has stated that it is a comment on the contemporary human condition. "Everybody wants to ask me lately about my predictions for the future," the director has said, "No, no, no. This isn't science fiction. This is today. This is now."
In January 2011, independent studio Media Rights Capital met with major studios to distribute Elysium, and Blomkamp shared art designs of his proposed science fiction film. The art designs won over the executives at Sony Pictures, who bought the film after making a more attractive offer than the other studios.
With a production budget of $115 million, production began in July 2011. The film's Earth-bound scenes were shot in a dump in the poor Iztapalapa district on the outskirts of Mexico City, while the scenes for Elysium were shot in Vancouver and the wealthy Huixquilucan-Interlomas suburbs of Mexico City. Matt Damon shaved his head for the role of Max. The main role was first offered to Watkin Tudor Jones (aka Ninja), a South African rapper, who despite being a fan of District 9 (he has a D9 tattoo on his inner lip) did not take the role. The role was then offered to rapper Eminem, but he wanted the film to be shot in Detroit. That was not an option for the two studios, so Blomkamp moved on to Damon as his next choice.
Futuristic designs were executed by Philip Ivey after long periods of researching and studying older science fiction films. Ivey has continuously cited Syd Mead as a substantial influence for the film. Weta Workshop created the exosuits for Damon and Copley's characters, while the complicated visual effects were handled primarily by Image Engine (who also collaborated on District 9) with additional work by Whiskytree, MPC, The Embassy and Industrial Light and Magic. Re-shoots took place through October 2012.
When the film was first announced, Sony intended to release it in late 2012. It later set an official release date for March 8, 2013, before moving one week earlier to prevent competing against Oz the Great and Powerful. In October 2012, Sony then announced they had pushed back the release date to August 9, 2013.
On December 17, 2013, Elysium was released on DVD and Blu-ray discs in Region 1.
As of October 20, 2013[update], Elysium has grossed $93,050,117 in the domestic box office and $192,957,131 internationally for a worldwide total of $286,007,248. Elysium opened on August 9, 2013 and grossed $11,088,228 on its opening day, ranking #1. The film proceeded to rank #1 for the weekend, grossing $29,807,393.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 68% approval rating with an average rating of 6.5/10 based on 229 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "After the heady sci-fi thrills of District 9, Elysium is a bit of a comedown for director Neill Blomkamp, but on its own terms, it delivers just often enough to satisfy."
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Notes and references
- "ELYSIUM (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 2013-07-15. Retrieved 2013-07-15.
- "Elysium (2013)". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com. December 17, 2013. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
- "First Look at Sharlto Copley in Neill Blomkamp's 'Elysium'". Rogue (company). Retrieved April 10, 2013.
- Fleming, Mike. "3RD UPDATE: Sony Pictures Snaps Up Neill Blomkamp's 'Elysium'; Matt Damon And Jodie Foster Set To Star". Deadline. Retrieved April 10, 2013.
- "SDCC: 'Elysium' Viral Launches". ComingSoon.net (CraveOnline Media, LLC). July 20, 2011. Retrieved July 21, 2011.
- Buchanan, Kyle. "Elysium: Matt Damon’s Action Movie for the 99%". Vulture. Retrieved April 10, 2013.
- "The Future is Now: 'Elysium' Mega-Trailer and Two More Clips". Rogue. Retrieved August 18, 2013.
- Kit, Borys (January 19, 2011). "Sony Snags 'District 9' Director Neill Blomkamp's 'Elysium'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
- "Neill Blomkamp talks 'Elysium'". Retrieved 2013-06-19.
- "The bald identity: Matt Damon shaves his head for new tough guy role". Daily Mail (London: Associated Newspapers Ltd). July 21, 2011. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
- "Eminem and Die Antwoord's Ninja both turned down lead in sci-fi film". July 18, 2013.
- "Matt Damon stepped in for Eminem in 'Elysium'". CNN. August 1, 2013.
- Eisenberg, Eric (October 10, 2012). "Matt Damon Takes A Small Part In Terry Gilliam's The Zero Theorem". Cinema Blend. Retrieved October 12, 2012.
- Siegemund-Broka, Austin (June 2013). "'Elysium' Composer on How to Write an 'Organic' Score (Hint: Hire Monkeys and Mosquitos)". The Hollywood Reporter.
- McClintock, Pamela (March 9, 2011). "Neill Blomkamp's 'Elysium' Has a Release Date". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
- Kroll, Justin (June 9, 2011). "Luna in talks to join 'Elysium'". Variety. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
- McClintock, Pamela (October 15, 2012). "Sony Pushes 'Robocop' to 2014, Moves 'Elysium' to Summer 2013". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 15, 2012.
- "Elysium New Trailer". Film-Summary. Retrieved June 14, 2013.
- "Weekend Box Office Results for August 9-11, 2013". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com. August 12, 2013. Retrieved August 14, 2013.
- "Elysium (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
- Elysium at the Internet Movie Database
- Elysium at the TCM Movie Database
- Elysium at Box Office Mojo
- Elysium at Rotten Tomatoes
- Elysium at Metacritic