This afternoon, ComingSoon.net was invited to a special presentation that revealed the first footage from District 9 writer/director Neill Blomkamp's sci-fi project Elysium. Joined by producer Simon Kinberg and stars Sharlto Copley and Matt Damon (the latter via satellite), Blomkamp revealed the trailer for the August 9 release, which will be online tomorrow. Following that, a ten-minute montage of scenes was showcased that helped explain the film's plot in greater detail. Unfortunately, there are no plans to make it available to the general public, but you can check out our write-up below.
It's the year 2154. In the ultimate disparity between the haves and the have-nots, the wealthy have established a utopian space station in orbit of Earth. In the trailer, we see a beautiful woman step into a tanning-booth style bed and, following a scan of her body, trace amounts of cancer are very simply removed from her system.
Earth is a very different story. The people left behind live in absolute squalor and work menial jobs just to stay alive in what is effectively a global garbage dump. There's virtually no chance that anyone could ever pull together enough wealth to make it to Elysium.
The first scene shown involves Copley's Kruger. He's got a massive beard and small metallic implants all over his body. He's a military man working for Elysium and, even though his assignment is to stay in the slums of Earth until he's called into service, he's technically among the elite. His introduction in the footage happens when Earth residents try to steal a ship and he's asked to blow them out of the sky with a massive rocket launcher.
The next scene introduces us to Matt Damon's Max De Costa. Completely bald and dressed in dirty work clothes, De Costa stands in a long line waiting for work. Very impressive-looking robot guards (Think human-sized Transformers with lots of visible gears and pistons) monitor the line and scan the workers. When they come to De Costa, they recognize him as a former convict and demand to know what's in his backpack.
"Hair care products, mostly," jokes De Costa.
The robots beat him to the ground and injure his arm, telling him to report to his parole officer immediately.
We jump to a hospital where De Costa is having his arm looked at. It turns out that he knows the nurse (Alice Braga's character) and the pair seem to have some history. She's on Earth temporarily and will soon be heading back to Elysium.
Another scene has De Costa speaking with an Elysium border patrol agent, which is essentially a plastic human mannequin with an intercom in its chest. De Costa makes fun of its speech patterns and it shoots back with automated responses like, "I sense that you might be being sarcastic. Is this the case?"
At work, De Costa is yelled at by his superior. He's told that he's going to be docked a half day's pay for his injury. Later, while working on some sort of assembly line, a door gets jammed and De Costa is reluctant to try and fix it as the chamber he'd have to enter is dangerous. His boss tells him that either he goes in or he's fired and De Costa reluctantly agrees. Something goes wrong, however, and he's hit with radiation that, he soon learns, has now set his life expectancy at a matter of days.
De Costa winds up getting in touch with a group of people that want to make contact with Elysium. They tell him that, if he goes for them, he can get his cancer cured there. He's outfitted (through a painful process involving a bone saw) with a special metal rig (as seen on the poster) that gives high, robot-level strength.
Sometime later, we meet William Fichtner's Jon Carlyle. An Elysium resident, something goes wrong with his ship and he crashes to Earth. Damon and his rebellious friends swarm the ship and take down his protective robot guards, finally setting up some kind of link that downloads information directly from Carlyle's brain into Damon's. While all this going on, Kruger has been called into action and is on De Costa's tail.
As you'll see in tomorrow's trailer, there's a tremendous amount of production design that went into Elysium and its gritty sci-fi world. We see Kruger's small camouflaged-colored ship, nicknamed "The Raven" and quite a lot of robots in all sorts of shapes and colors, both on Earth and on Elysium.
Check back tomorrow for the full trailer and for the full Q&A with Blomkamp, Copley and Kinberg that followed the presentation.