'Elysium' Is Ready to Be Your Favorite Summer Blockbuster

Esther Zuckerman
The Atlantic Wire

Neill Blomkamp's District 9 followup, Elysium—about which we knew next to nothing until this week, and which, as of last night, has a full trailer out in the wild—is officially going to be the next great sci-fi movie. Yes, the buzz is that good. 

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The trailer for the summer blockbuster with a soul sets up a classic haves-versus-have-nots scenario, in space. With robots. Jodie Foster is one of the rich people who lives on the planet Elysium, where life seems pretty perfect. Matt Damon is one of the poor unfortunate souls stuck on Earth, now a wasteland (and filmed at an actual landfill in Mexico, according to Yahoo). From the trailer we learn that Damon's character really needs to get to Elysium, so he suits up and goes to battle. (There's also a futuristic Bugatti.) There are, of course, Occupy Wall Street comparisons to be made, though if you talk to Blomkamp he doesn't want his film be reduced to a sound bite. The trailer doesn't come out and say it, but we also know that Damon's character has been left with five days to live after being irradiated in a factory accident. His only cure, then, is the mysterious planet for rich people. One striking image in the trailer involves woman on Elysium lying in a machine and being cured of cancer. 

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The trailer is being praised for its mix of social consciousness and blockbuster-style entertainment, not unlike District 9. (Also, not unlike District 9, there's an element of South African allegory in the story, according to BuzzFeed's Adam B. Vary and Kate Aurthur.) Indiewire's The Playlist called the trailer "explosive and ambitious." Den of Geek said it looks "bloody good."

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While the masses out there are thrilled, some critics had already gotten deep in the digital weeds on this thing. Blomkamp previewed ten minutes of the movie in Hollywood for a select group of press Monday, and the buzz surrounding that footage was equally as excited as what has been circulating around the trailer in the last 12 hours. Vulture's Kyle Buchanan said the extended footage outlined a "bracing, brawny, brainy movie." Aurthur tweeted: 

After seeing 10 minutes of #Elysium footage, I'd like Neill Blomkamp to make all the movies.

— Kate Aurthur (@KateAurthur) April 8, 2013

io9's Meredith Woerner wrote: "This film looks like it has everything we've been missing in the science fiction world since District 9." 

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We still have to wait until nearly the end of the summer, August 9, to see the film, but we're ready to be wowed.