Elysium was quite the follow-up for District 9 Oscar-nominated filmmaker Neill Blomkamp. The sci-fi thriller, now out on DVD and Blu-Ray, paints a picture of a future that hauntingly does not seem too far off from being completely possible. Matt Damon stars as a man living in a world where the divide between rich and poor could not be clearer.
As teased in the Elysium trailer, the poor toil on an Earth that is poisoned by pollution and overpopulation, while the rich live on an orbiting paradise called Elysium where all illness has been eradicated and people live in harmony for decades longer than thought humanly possible.
When the film arrived earlier this summer, Movie Fanatic found a wildly original premise and film from a filmmaker who is just beginning his journey of excellence, as reported in our theatrical Elysium review. Now that it is out on DVD and Blu-Ray, it is a chance for an expanded audience to check out the sci-fi wizardry. And for those of us who already saw it, it is a chance to revisit a compelling story that leaves viewers pondering the world we live in, where we’re heading… and above all else, be thoroughly entertained with thrills that will leave you gasping for air.
As Elysium is such a director’s film, the DVD and Blu-Ray are a priceless opportunity to remove the curtain and see how the magic was created by Blomkamp.
Leading the way with the bonus features on the Elysium DVD and Blu-Ray is In Support of Story: The Visual Effects of Elysium, which shows how Blomkamp utilizes CGI to support his story instead of commandeering it. We especially appreciated the look at how those out-of-this-world vehicles of the Elysium world were created.
Visions of 2154 explores the year of the film and how Blomkamp envisioned Earth of the future, as an extension of where we are today as a society. It is also an interactive feature that allows the viewers to delve as deeply into the creative process as they desire.
The documentary Capturing Elysium pans the globe as Blomkamp shot on sets and real landscapes from Vancouver to Mexico. The filmmaker is uncanny in his ability to create a world that feels futuristic, while still having the sense that what we are seeing is grounded in a reality that is completely believable. It features interviews with Blomkamp, Damon and his co-stars Jodie Foster and Sharlto Copley that adds a color to the technological “making-of” featurette.
Envisioning Elysium is a bonus feature that we hope Peter Jackson utilizes with his The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug when it arrives on DVD and Blu-Ray. It is a pre-production video diary that delves deep into every single facet of what filmmakers went through, simply to get ready to film this instant sci-fi classic.
For the sci-fi maniacs out there, The Technology of 2154 is one we also truly appreciated. There’s how Blomkamp envisioned our future, and then there’s the execution of what that world will not only look like, but what will inhabit it. From creating fully functioning droids (!) to military technology that our defense department might want to look into, it is a compelling look at the future that could be, through the eyes of a filmmaker who has already left his mark on the future of moviemaking.
And lastly, we have to highlight the bonus feature Engineer Utopia: Creating a Society in the Sky. Everyone on Earth in the film wants to make it to Elysium. Some want to go for the better life -- others simply need the technology that can fix any illness. This bonus feature gets into how Blomkamp created the paradise in the sky and all the elements of making fantasy a fully realized cinematic reality.