Earlier on Monday, Sony previewed the trailer and a few minutes of footage from "Elysium," director Neill Blomkamp’s long awaited follow-up to “District 9." The title refers to a space station where, in 2145, the haves of society live while the have-nots on Earth fight for survival amid third-world conditions.
Before Monday afternoon, that was about all anyone knew about the plot of “Elysium” (plus the details Matt Damon was helpful enough to fill in when we interviewed him about this movie last year at Comic-Con). Now, after watching the trailer (which will debut on Tuesday at 7 p.m. EDT) and the extended footage (which you’ll just have to take my word on, for now), here are five things you didn’t know about “Elysium.”
1. People on Earth really want to be on Elysium.
Elysium, a giant, circular space station orbiting Earth, provides its inhabitants with the best life can offer. The poor saps left on a barren wasteland of Earth (which includes Matt Damon’s ex-con character, Max) really want to be there. The extra footage shows a brazen attempt to launch shuttles, of some sort, with the goal of living a better life on Elysium. Jodie Foster, who seems to be the person in charge of Elysium, orders them shot down without warning -- which is what happens.
2. Don't “f-ck” with the robot police.
In a humorous moment (at least at first), a robot police officer (referred to as “droids”) approaches Max to ask him what he's carrying in the bag Max is holding. Max responds, “hair products.” It should be noted, Max has no hair. As Max explains to the droids, “I’m just f-cking with you,” the droids aren't impressed with Max's attempt at humor and break his arm.
3. Matt Damon has radiation poisoning.
Max works in an industrial-type job of some kind –- a position which, apparently, is pretty hard to come by and people will do anything to keep. After a door jams, Max’s supervisor orders a broken armed Max into a chamber of some kind to fix the jam. Unfortunately for Max, the door closes on him, trapping him inside. That lethal dose of radiation gives Max a lifespan of five days, which only a trip to Elysium can cure. Unfortunately, Max isn’t allowed on Elysium.
4. Max is a Road Warrior
There is a lot of “Road Warrior” imagery in “Elysium.” (This is, of course, a great thing.). Earth is now a dystopian society and the ground vehicles used look like they’re straight out of “Mad Max” and “The Road Warrior.” Plus, don’t forget, Matt Damon’s character is named Max.
5. Matt Damon’s Max eventually gets suited with cool body armor of some kind.
Not just any body armor, body armor that is fused directly to Max’s bones (which, yes, looks extremely painful) and, as a result, makes him as strong as a droid. Which we then see Max fighting a droid in hand-to-hand combat -– and it’s true, he is now as strong as a droid. Basically, Max uses this armor in an attempt to capture a citizen from Elysium (which involves shooting down a flying shuttle) so that he can exchange identities with that citizen -– only in this world, this is done by data transfer between an electronic chip of that is installed in each human. But! The citizen shot down (played by William Fichtner) is a bigwig up there. So, because of this, Max now has access that could “bring down Elysium,” or so we are told.
This is where the footage ends, so, in turn, this is where this piece will end. (Except to say, yes, the footage looks really, really great. But, take this with a grain of salt because the trailer for “The Phantom Menace” looked great, too. In other words: “cautious optimism.”)
"Elysium" is out in theaters on Aug. 9.
Mike Ryan is senior writer for Huffington Post Entertainment. You can contact him directly on Twitter.