Neill Blomkamp talks Elysium and Halo

Elysium isn’t a remake of a tired old movie, or an adaptation of a video game, which could definitely confuse a lot of people, but we at TG are looking forward to the film because it’s the follow up of director Neill Blomkamp, the man who gave us District 9.

It’s hard to remember the last time a brand new director made a debut this strong, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he’s got up his sleeve next. (Blomkamp was originally going to direct the big screen adaptation of Halo, but he went on to District 9 once the movie version of the Microsoft franchise fell apart at Universal).

Elysium takes place in 2154. If you’re extremely rich, you live in outer space, and the poor are left to live on earth, which is wrecked beyond repair. But there is a hero who will hopefully bring equality to us all in the future. At least, this is the Internet Movie Database thumbnail sketch of the film. Giant Freakin Robot also tells us the hero, played by Matt Damon, is dying of cancer, (Huffington Post tells us he’s got five days left) and he’s trying to get onto the space station where the rich reside in search of a cure, but there’s also bounty hunter after him. 

There have been several sci-fi stories where in the future there is no middle class, only the very rich and the destitute, and Soylent Green comes to mind in this regard. In fact, Vulture calls Elysium an action pic “for the 99%,” which is definitely good news, because if it was only for the other 1% it wouldn’t do much business. 

District 9 also had a social conscience, but as Blomkamp told Vulture, Elysium “was the first time that I realized that I was making a film that, in terms of the global consciousness, fit into a CNN sound bite. I just don’t want [the coverage] to be fast-good and throwaway…I think that in the realm of commercial popcorn cinema, the amounts of message you can get in there is quite limited. If you think you’re actually going to make a difference or change anything, you’re on pretty dangerous thin ice. But you can put ideas in there that are real issues that are happening in the world.” 

As Giant Freakin Robot has pointed out, this is going to be a big summer for sci-fi with Star Trek Into Darkness, After Earth, and Pacific Rim. Elysium comes near the end of the summer on August 9. Will it make a good late season sleeper after the big boys of the summer have already come and gone? And another question we’re dying to know: Will Blomkamp ever return to the Halo universe? 

“I actually still really like the world and universe of Halo and if I was given control, I would like to do that film,” he told Slashfilm. “When something pre-exists there’s this idea of ‘I have my interpretation of what this is,’ but along with it comes like 150 other people involved with the film’s interpretation of the same intellectual property. Then the entire film-going audience has their interpretation. And you can live up to or fail in their eyes. That part of it isn’t appealing to me. But the original pieces are appealing.”