Elysium is the name of a space-bound utopia where the wealthy go to live in 2154, when the world is on its knees. It’s a world where those high up don’t give a toss about the working man (and woman). Yes, the Joe Biden/Tory Party Joint Presidency has finally taken effect, and it’s run by Secretary of Defense Delacourt (Jodie Foster, who seems to have the most ridiculous English accent).
All the animals on Earth are dead, and robot servants do our bidding in the sky (as long as you can afford the ticket to live up there), while down on the ground, there are police robots which are more like Nazis. Max (Matt Damon – Downsizing, Le Mans 66) – who lives in Los Angeles, which has been reduced to a shanty town – is roughed up while on the way to work, despite not doing anything wrong.
On the plus side, an impromptu trip to hospital allows him to reconnect with childhood friend Frey (Alice Braga – The New Mutants), while getting the effects of police brutality dealt with.
Every now and again, some of Earth’s poorest inhabitants – referred to as “illegals” by those living high up – try to escape Earth for the paradise in the sky on space shuttles, attempting to enter the airspace illegally. You can guess how that’s going to end.
Have you had a trip or fall at work? Call Claims Direct… Max should, as he’s suffered an injury and been exposed to a lethal dose of radiation. Only the health advancments on Elysium can fix him. In return for a free ticket up there, he has to track down and find the film’s snooty asshole, John Carlyle (William Fichtner, who I remember co-starring alongside Foster in 1997’s superb Contact), CEO of Armadyne Carlyle, with whom he has a score to settle. The man also has a stack of important information which can only be transferred from one brain to another, so it’s a bit like Keanu Reeves’ Johnny Mnemonic.
Helping Delacourt on the ground is the relentless Kruger (Sharlto Copley – District 9), a gun for hire, and he’ll forever be on Max’s tail, trying to stop him from going vertical (if you’ll pardon the unfortunate inneundo).
Elysium has no surprises in how the script pans out, but it’s got some nice fights and punch-ups, there’s a lot of crash/bash/smash action, and baddies always get their comeuppance, ultimately, but it’s great fun, all the same.
This new release has the film on both Blu-ray and, for the first time, 4K. Depending on your format of choice, the picture is absolutely first-rate with how it bring’s the director’s vision to the screen. The complimentary audio delivers the crash/bang/wallop when required, with up to 7.1 audio if you have the speakers.
There are extras on both discs. The following are those on the 4K Blu-ray:
- Exoskeletons, Explosions, and the Action Choreography of Elysium (29:48): The extra sets the tone, mixing chat from the cast and crew with clips from the film. Here, they look at the attention to detail in the tattoos which might only be seen briefly – including ‘older tattoos’ being made to look more faded; plus the HULC suit which Matt Damon wears, vehicles which are made to look futuristic to us – yet old tech to them; shooting large amounts of the outdoors in the Mexico desert; and stunt fights.
Naturally, for this and other extras, there WILL be spoilers, so DO NOT watch these before you watch the film.
- The Hero, The Psychopath, and the Characters of Elysium (6:15): Does what it says on the tin.
- The Art of the Elysium Miniatures (4:40): Including the crash-land sequence.
- Bugatti 2154 (4:50): Bringing a futuristic model into the film.
- Trailers: Theatrical Traier 1 (2:13), Theatrical Traier 2 (2:32), International Traier (3:43)
- Audio description: In English.
And these are the extras on the Blu-ray disc:
- Visions of 2154 (20:00): Conceptual art, 3D models and visual effects progressions which provided inspiration for the year in which the film was set. It’s technically 20 minutes long, but you’ll flick around that timeline depending on what you click. Still, there’s 20 minutes of content. However, it wasn’t easy to get back to the disc’s own menu. There’s a ‘standby’ symbol in the top right of thi s extra’s screen. Move the cursor to there and then click on it.
- Kruger wakes up (Extended scene) (1:45): A late scene from the film, so no spoilers about it.
- The Journey to Elysium (45:49): A three-part making-of, as writer/director Neill Blomkamp tells why he wanted to make the film about this ‘Beverly Hills in space’. Add in make-up, prosthetics, concept work, and so on.
- Collaboration: Crafting The Performances In Elysium (13:18): Acting on set and cast members bouncing off each other.
- The Technology of 2154 (10:13): From futuristic Bugattis to weapons, taking in droids along the way.
- In Support of Story: The Visual Effects of Elysium (10:34): The director talks about how it has a lot of CGI effects, but nowhere near as many as a typical summer blockbuster, because they do some practical effects.
- Engineering Utopia: Creating a Society in the Sky (11:43): Set design.
- Trailers: First is a clipshow (2:21) Well, not a trailer for one actual film – or even this film – but just to advertise Sony movies in general. Quite pointless; then there’s White House Down (2:19), This Is The End (1:49), After Earth (2:32). Given the age of these films being the same as the main feature, I presume this Blu-ray is from the original release at the time.
- Audio description: In English.
The main menu on the 4K disc is preceeded by a promo advertising the PS5. Great if you can get your hands on one without paying scalper prices. I managed it just by chance, in time for launch, but whether it be PS5, Xbox or RTX3080 graphics cards, why aren’t any companies doing their level best to have bot-protection on their website so they can put a stop to the scalpers?
For both discs, the menus feature static images, with the theme in the background. Languages and subtitles for both discs are detailed below. There are 16 chapters for the film on both discs, which is better than most studios, who just use 12, but still could do with more.
Running time: 109 minutes
Released: February 8th 2021
Chapters: 16 (on both discs)
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Widescreen: 2.39:1 (Redcode RAW (3.3K), Canon H264 (1080p/24), (Anamorphic Panavision)
Disc Format: BD50
4K Blu-ray disc:
Languages: English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible), English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Catalan 5.1, Czech 5.1, French 5.1, German 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Hindi 5.1, Hungarian 5.1, Italian 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Japanese 5.1, Korean Stereo, Polish 5.1, Portuguese 5.1, Russian 5.1, Spanish (Castilian) 5.1, Spanish (Latin American) 5.1, Thai 5.1, Turkish 5.1, Ukranian 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Arabic, Cantonese, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Spanish (Castilian), Spanish (Latin American), Swedish, Thai, Turkish
Languages: English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 5.1, French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, German 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio,
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Arabic, Dutch, French, German, Hindi, Polish, Turkish
Director: Neill Blomkamp
Producers: Bill Block, Neill Blomkamp, Simon Kinberg
Screenplay: Neill Blomkamp
Music: Ryan Amon
Max: Matt Damon
Delacourt: Jodie Foster
Kruger: Sharlto Copley
Frey: Alice Braga
Julio: Diego Luna
Spider: Wagner Moura
John Carlyle: William Fichtner
Drake: Brandon Auret
Crowe: Josh Blacker
Matilda: Emma Tremblay
Sandro: Jose Pablo Cantillo
Young Max: Maxwell Perry Cotton
President Patel: Faran Tahir
Manuel: Adrian Holmes
Rico: Jared Keeso
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.