Elysium - 2013
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.
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.
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. The film's music score was composed by newcomer Ryan Amon and recorded at Abbey Road Studios with the Philharmonia Orchestra. The soundtrack was released on August 6, 2013.
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.
In April 2013, Sony also announced that the film would be specifically reformatted for IMAX theaters. By that time, two theatrical trailers and a TV spot had already been showcased. On December 17, 2013, Elysium was released on DVD and Blu-ray discs in Region 1.
As of October 20, 2013, 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."
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."
variety.com: "Even working within a more conventional framework, Blomkamp again proves to be a superb storyteller. He has a master’s sense of pacing, slowly immersing us into his future world rather than assailing us with nonstop action, and envisioning that world with an architect’s eye for the smallest details."
indiewire.com: "With "Elysium," Blomkamp has made good on the promise of "District 9" and proven that working on a bigger canvas doesn't mean compromising on smarts or aspirations to deliver tentpole-sized stories with a thoughtful backbone. And really, it's those qualities that set "Elysium" apart from the slog of sequels, spinoffs, remakes and superhero movies."
slantmagazine.com: "Elysium isn't quite tough or brash enough to sell the cynicism Blomkamp pickles his story in, but his style has tightened, grown fleeter, meaner, and more direct in the wake of District 9. A cheekily gruesome and genuinely urgent entertainment, Blomkamp's latest nevertheless can't help but beg the question: Where's Snake Plissken when you need him?"
film.com: "Blomkamp’s seemingly limitless imagination in terms of tech finds itself repeatedly and frustratingly grounded by heavy-handed storytelling. Frankly, “Elysium” is a bit of a liberal’s wet dream: the good guys want accessible healthcare, while the bad guys want to do away with undocumented immigrants."
hollywoodreporter.com: "Blomkamp has failed to take the extra step with both the ruling class and the denizens of the lower depths; despite the fact that the action is set 131 years hence, both look exactly as they do now. The fancy mansions of Elysium and their inhabitants' wardrobes are exactly what you'd find in Malibu or Miami today, while the rough-hewn down-and-outers sport tats and attitude and would look right at home in a Fast and Furious film."
Part Odyssey, Part Total Recall:
What is Elysium?
You know you like science fiction. You know you like Matt Damon. And you know you're on board with anything that showcases a handsome bald fella. So yes, you're pretty certain you're going to enjoy Neill Blomkamp's newest feature film, Elysium. There's only one thing you're not quite sure about: what the heck "Elysium" actually is.
The movie lends the name — one you might have heard before — to an exclusive utopia floating just beyond the reach of a decaying planet Earth's common man. The titular space station that plays paradisiacal home to political figures, law enforcement officers, and your everyday rich people, denying the benefits of pristine environments and universal healthcare to the working class schmoes confined to the big blue marble. . . . . read complete article