matt-damon-elysium-first-look
Sony held an event today in four cities across the world to launch to buzz for District 9 director Neill Blomkamp‘s new film Elysium. Fans in the four cities were invited to the event through the film’s viral website. Blomkamp, producer Simon Kinberg and co-star Sharlto Copley were in attendance at the Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood to answer questions.

Star Matt Damon also answered questions from a theater in Germany, with his appearance also simulcast to the other venues. The event was to premiere the first trailer for Elysium, which will be online tomorrow at some point. But the filmmakers also screened a 10-minute sizzle reel of footage from the movie. Get our thoughts on the footage in a video blog we recorded, after the jump.

After the event I recorded a video blog reaction alongside Germain Lussier from /Film and Frosty from Collider. We don’t go into specifics, and won’t give you a description of the footage. (You can read Germain’s description of the 10 minutes at the bottom of this post.)

In the video we give a spoiler-free reaction to what we saw.

For those of you who don’t want to watch the video, here is my opinion in brief: While I was a bit underwhelmed by the trailer, the footage kicked my ass. I’m not sure if this is because I had already seen the awesome presentation at Comic Con last year, or if it was because the trailer was a bit more of a primer for the film’s story/concept. The only reason I bring this up is that the trailer goes online tomorrow and if you aren’t impressed, trust me, you will be when you see more footage.

Elysium looks beautiful, a fully realized future world complete with dust, dirt and scratches. Unlike other films that look like shiny, cool-looking concept art brought to life on a soundstage, Blomkamp shot his film in real locations in Mexico and Canada, augmenting it with gritty sci-fi tech. It feels like a real place, a real world. I feel that the action doesn’t end at the edges of the camera frame (like it does in so many other world building flicks) — it feels like a real place, with both the fantastical and horrific. This is what most excites me about the film.

Description of the 10-minutes of Elysium footage by Germain Lussier:

SPOILERS FOLLOW.

Three ships take off from a terrible slum in the year 2159. They’re headed to Elysium, the utopian space station above the Earth reserved for the super rich. On Elysium, a warning says unauthorized ships are entering their airspace. Jodie Foster’s character sends a message to Kruger — an Elysium black ops soldier on Earth, played by Sharlto Copley — to take them down. On Earth, he picks up a huge rocket launcher and fires it into the sky. The rockets go into space and blow up all three ships.

Now we meet Max (Matt Damon) on some kind of line. Police officer robots see him and state his list of crimes, which is long. They ask him what’s in his bag and Damon’s character, who is bald, quips “hair products mostly.” They don’t find the joke funny and pin him to the ground, breaking his arm. We now move to a hospital where a nurse knows Max. He obviously has feelings for her. She fixes his arm and tell him to stay out of trouble. “I do,” he says.

Max goes to visit his parole officer, which is an automated machine. They have some playful banter and, by this time, we know things aren’t good for Max. Those things only get worse when he goes to work. His boss tells him he’s going to dock him half a day for being late and doesn’t want him to work with a cast. Max says it’s cool. During work, which is on some kind of robot assembly line, he’s forced to go into a hazardous area. An accident occurs, and a robot doc gives Max only 5 days to live.

The only way Max can stay alive is to get to Elysium, where there’s no disease, but he can’t afford it. He asks a friend (Diego Luna) for help and the friend introduces Max to some sort of criminal. The criminal wants Max to put on a Third Generation Hawk (or Hulk?) suit and to steal the thoughts on an Elysium citizen currently on Earth. He’ll do so by uplinking to the man’s brain. Unfortunately for Max, not only is this illegal, the Hawk suit has to be fused to his bones.

Now he’s a cyborg, and after checking out a few different guns, we see the man Max has to target, Carlyle, played by William Fichtner. He strolls to a very high tech space ship and begins to fly away when Max and a crew of guys start to shoot at it. We’re then taken to Elysium where Jodie Foster is alerted one of their citizens is in danger, and she dispatches Kruger.

Back to the hijacking, Max brings the plane down and Carlyle tells his droids that he wants these men killed. The battle begins. The droids are winning with their superior firepower when Max tackles one, rips his head off, and then fires at another while he’s reloading. The droid explodes in spectacular slow motion. Max then links into Carlyle and performs the data heist as Kruger finally arrives. The action continues.

Apparently, whatever Max downloads has the power to override all the systems on Elysium. And so begins a montage of action scenes that involved all sorts of weapons, crashes, fly over shots of Elysium, people running around corridors, hints at some larger, more powerful cyborg suits and more.

At the end, you pick your jaw off the floor because it looked that good.

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