Sheesh, Matt Damon ... don't you know police officers don't like smart-aleck jokes? And robot cops even less so?
Our hero finds this out the hard way after he's disciplined for daring to have a sense of humor in such a depressing future world in the new trailer for "Elysium," director Neill Blomkamp's follow-up to his 2009 sci-fi sleeper hit, "District 9."
Damon's character Max De Costa is first seen being scolded by a robot that kind of looks like the Johnny Cab from the original "Total Recall" as it describes his "infraction" at a bus stop. When asked by two rather ominous Cylon-looking patrol 'bots about what he has in his bag, the shaved bald Max dares make light of the inquiry by answering "Hair products, mostly." In this world, such jokey-jokes will only get you hit with a stick, citizen.
But soon enough, Max gets outfitted with a mechanical exoskeleton bolted directly onto his body that gives him the strength to stand up against the metal men and make it a fair fight. And the action just gets more intense from there.
Watch the exclusive trailer premiere for 'Elysium':
In the trailer, we get an extended look -- longer, actually, than the version you'll see in theaters this weekend -- at the brave new world we were introduced to in the first trailer. Actually, it's a brave new off-world, as "Elysium" refers to a luxury space station several thousand miles above Earth that serves as a sort of outer space paradise for "the privileged" such as Jodie Foster and her bleach-blonde 'do. The man-made utopia has no war, crime or poverty and utilizes miracle technology such as a tanning bed that (rather ironically) can remove cancer cells.
The rest of us working stiffs have to get by on Earth, now a wasteland hellhole because, well, that's how it's going to be in the future, according to the movies. And don't even think about trying to escape to Elysium -- it's a members-only kind of place, and the administration has laser cannons to deal with anyone who dares wander into its airspace (or is that space-space?).
De Costa is an ex-con "just trying to live a normal life" as a blue-collar drone at some industrial plant, though a work-related accident involving radiation leaves him with only five days to live (a diagnosis that comes courtesy of another joyless robot). Max can be cured on Elysium, and the way he's gonna get there involves utilizing a little of the body horror that Blomkamp seems to dig so much: being grafted with a mechanical exoskeleton that, according to the wacko who performed the procedure, gives its wearer "the power to override their whole system." Hey, a way around those laser cannons!
"Elysium" continues Blomkamp's favorite theme of the haves vs. the have-nots, though seemingly with even less subtlety than "District 9" (if you can believe that). However, besides being a somewhat raucous political crusader, Blomkamp is also a boundlessly inventive visual artist, and the new "Elysium" trailer is filled with startling images that come across as what "Mad Max" might look like with a $90 million budget.
The new trailer also gives us a glimpse of Kruger, the villain character played by "District 9" star Sharlto Copley. He seems like quite the formidable foe for De Costa, wielding all sorts of weapons with a rowdy bloodlust. Kruger also seems to perhaps not be 100% human, as his entrance is preceded by Jodie Foster commanding "Activate Kruger." First a guy who mutates into an alien, now maybe a half-cyborg -- are you ever going to let Copley stay human, Mr. Blomkamp?
Ultimately, the trailer lets us know that there's still a reason to be excited about the summer movie season even as late as August. "Elysium" opens on the 9th of that month.