2013 was a good year for science fiction on the big screen, in quantity if not always in quality. Going into the year we had a ton to look forward to. Remember all the contenders we were cautiously optimistic about back at the beginning of the year? Oblivion, After Earth, Pacific Rim, Star Trek Into Darkness, RIddick, The World’s End, Europa Report, Gravity…there was a lot to look forward to. Some were better than we dared hope. Some were just as bad as we expected. Some were exactly what we wanted them to be. And some we’re all still yelling about. Elysium fell somewhere in the middle of the extremes, an entertaining flick that didn’t live up to its predecessor, District 9. If you skipped it in theaters, you won’t have to wait much longer — it’s hitting Blu-ray and DVD on December 17.
Set in the year 2154, Elysium presents a sharply divided vision of the future. The wealthy live a life of privilege, free from illness and infirmity aboard the titular orbiting space station. The rest of us live in squalid, miserable poverty on the wasted, overpopulated husk of Earth. Matt Damon plays Max, a worker who is receives a fatal dose of radiation during an on-the-job accident. He could easily be cured on Elysium, if only he could get there. Out of desperation, he agrees to take part in a dangerous mission to infiltrate the station and tear down the metaphorical walls that separate the haves from the have-nots.
As you’d expect from a $115 million movie, the home video release packs in quite a few bonus features. Most of them focus on the design and realization of the film’s future world, which is a good thing — that was easily the strongest part of the movie, something that writer/director Neill Blomkamp remains extremely adept at, even when his story doesn’t quite live up to the world it’s set in. No director’s commentary, however, which is a shame. It’s always interesting to get the director’s insights on a big project like this, especially when he also wrote the flick.
Bonus Materials Exclusive to the Blu-ray Include:
- Extended Scene
- Visions of 2154 – An interactive exploration of the art and design of Elysium.
- The Journey to Elysium:
- Envisioning Elysium – This pre-production diary explores all facets of pre-production.
- Capturing Elysium – With production in Vancouver, Mexico, and on huge green screen stages, the challenge of filming was nothing short of massive. The filmmakers and cast discuss the journey through the film’s production.
- Enhancing Elysium – This post-production diary explores the editing process.
- In Support of Story: The Visual Effects of Elysium – An in-depth look at the process of shooting visual effects scenes and incorporating CGI environments and vehicles into those scenes in post-production.
- The Technology of 2154 – From independently functioning Droids to next-generation military tech that gives humans machine-enhanced power, get insight from the filmmakers on the technology of Elysium.
Bonus Materials Included on Both the Blu-ray and DVD:
- Collaboration: Crafting the Performances in Elysium – Meet the dynamic cast and get insight into how they prepared for their roles.
- Engineering Utopia: Creating a Society in the Sky – A look at designing and creating the utopian space station.