January 31, 2013

Neill Blomkamp's "Elysium"

Here's the plot description of Boer-Canadian director Neill Blomkamp's second movie (following "District 9"), scheduled for release in August:
In the year 2159, two classes of people exist: the very wealthy who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. Secretary Rhodes (Jodie Foster), a hard line government official, will stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve the luxurious lifestyle of the citizens of Elysium. That doesn’t stop the people of Earth from trying to get in, by any means they can. When unlucky Max (Matt Damon) is backed into a corner, he agrees to take on a daunting mission that, if successful, will not only save his life, but could bring equality to these polarized worlds.

I get the feeling that Damon might be surprised to find out what Foster thinks is Blomkamp's point.

41 comments:

No Blacks in 2159 said...

Looking at the cast of the film, it seems that in Neill Blomkamp's 2159, there will only be whites and Hispanics

Garland said...

Hahahahaha after all your commentary on District 9 he couldnt have picked a more perfect plot for his follow up. If the idiots thought District 9 was about apartheid, it should be a cinch to get this one past them.

josh said...

"but could bring equality to these polarized worlds."

It certainly could.

Brazilian said...

Wagner Moura, a Brazilian actor is in this movie.

Marlowe said...

He decided to remake Zardoz?

anony-mouse said...

I liked it better when it was called 'Metropolis'.

neil craig said...

If you can make 1 manmade space station you can make 2, indeed, with unlimited asteroid metal out there the process is virtually endlessly scalable - space is a big place.

In which case migrating there should not be such a problem, but perhaps migrating to the station where the nice people live might.

I am reminded of Steve's line "the worst thing about being poor in America is that you have to live beside poor people."

Polichinello said...

Is this an updated version of Zardoz? Who could imagine that movie would still have currency forty years later?

The young fogey said...

It's the plot of the '60s 'Star Trek' episode 'The Cloud Minders'.

Truth said...

LOL. Quick poll; which side of the analogy do most of you feel you fall on, the Elysians or the Earthlings?

George said...

Sounds similar to that Star Trek episode about the Cloud People and the Trog miners they exploited.

Anonymous said...

Aplanetheid

August said...

District 9 was so disappointing.
Blomkamp isn't saying anything; he just raises the damn issue and makes it even messier. The french never resolve anything in their films either, but they are capable of providing structure and beauty. He probably dunks his audience into the mud on purpose, because he does seem to be talented- but I wanted to like the damn movie and he's got me three quarters in sitting in the movie theater feeling cheated.

JI said...

"I get the feeling that Damon might be surprised to find out what Foster thinks is Blomkamp's point."

I'm slow, so would someone explain this? Is Foster the one who gets the anti-immigration, pro-apartheid view of Blomkamp while Damon does not? Or is Foster the PC one who would never have such evil thoughts? Or something else?

Anonymous said...

Pre-equality: Earth 10,000,000,000Space Station: 10,000. Post-equality: Earth 5,000,005,000; Space Station 5,000,005,00. Post-post-equality: Earth 5,000,010,000; Space Station 0.

Anonymous said...

Steve, could you please contact the good people at Taki's and ask them to try and update the links on your District 9 review? The links don't work--I don't know if that's because the links are dead, but I doubt it.

Anononymous said...

who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth

And we don't now?

Anonymous said...

"But could bring equality to these polarized worlds."

Right. Instead of one very nice place and one lousy, crummy place, there will be TWO lousy and crummy places.

But hey, there will be equality.

Anonymous said...

Several stars wouldn't sign on to this film because they didn't understand why Blomkamps' story was so morally ambiguous and why there weren't clearly delineated good guys and bad guys.

Anonymous said...

Camp of the Saints?

Luke Lea said...

Has this not been the situation between the 1 percent and the 99 percent since recorded time began? Up until recently in a few Western-style democracies that is?

Anonymous said...

It's the cloud people from star trek

Skeptical Economist said...

I asked a few friends from South Africa what they thought of District 9. The general answer was that the movie understated the hatred of SA blacks and whites towards Nigerians.

Skeptical Economist said...

I asked a few friends from South Africa what they thought of District 9. The general answer was that the movie understated the hatred of SA blacks and whites towards Nigerians.

Marlowe said...

It all starts with Herbert George Wells:

"At first, proceeding from the problems of our own age, it seemed clear as daylight to me that the gradual widening of the present merely temporary and social difference between the Capitalist and the Labourer, was the key to the whole position. No doubt it will seem grotesque enough to you—and wildly incredible!—and yet even now there are existing circumstances to point that way. There is a tendency to utilize underground space for the less ornamental purposes of civilization; there is the Metropolitan Railway in London, for instance, there are new electric railways, there are subways, there are underground workrooms and restaurants, and they increase and multiply. Evidently, I thought, this tendency had increased till Industry had gradually lost its birthright in the sky. I mean that it had gone deeper and deeper into larger and ever larger underground factories, spending a still-increasing amount of its time therein, till, in the end—! Even now, does not an East-end worker live in such artificial conditions as practically to be cut off from the natural surface of the earth?

Again, the exclusive tendency of richer people—due, no doubt, to the increasing refinement of their education, and the widening gulf between them and the rude violence of the poor—is already leading to the closing, in their interest, of considerable portions of the surface of the land. About London, for instance, perhaps half the prettier country is shut in against intrusion. And this same widening gulf—which is due to the length and expense of the higher educational process and the increased facilities for and temptations towards refined habits on the part of the rich—will make that exchange between class and class, that promotion by intermarriage which at present retards the splitting of our species along lines of social stratification, less and less frequent. So, in the end, above ground you must have the Haves, pursuing pleasure and comfort and beauty, and below ground the Have-nots, the Workers getting continually adapted to the conditions of their labour. Once they were there, they would no doubt have to pay rent, and not a little of it, for the ventilation of their caverns; and if they refused, they would starve or be suffocated for arrears. Such of them as were so constituted as to be miserable and rebellious would die; and, in the end, the balance being permanent, the survivors would become as well adapted to the conditions of underground life, and as happy in their way, as the Upper-world people were to theirs."

-- The Time Machine, 1895

In the new version, the Haves get the artificial world and the Have-nots can inherit the earth.

The Selenites display great reluctance to have the humans come and join them on the moon in The first men in the Moon (1901) after learning of humanity's disorderly and violent history.

Marlowe said...

Thinking about modern sf flicks influenced by the classic writers - much as the Selenites do, the Na'vi of Avatar tell the human interlopers to get lost, the conclusion of a film most viewers found quite left wing in outlook. Obviously, there is immigration (evil exploiters come to rape and pillage) and immigration (poor huddled hungry masses yearning to breathe free and get fed).

Engineer Dad said...

The obvious analog the movie "Elysium" refers to today is wealthy Singapore. This tropical city-state has had the highest percentage of millionaires in the world for some years now.

The Wall Street Journal blogs that Singapore's 188,000 households (17% residents) disposable private wealth was over US$1 million in 2011, excluding property, businesses, and luxury goods.

http://blogs.wsj.com/searealtime/2012/06/01/Singapore-no-1-for-millionaires-again/

Those of us watching the decline of US wealth and upcoming political amnesty of millions of impoverished, hapless NAMs wish we could migrate to Singapore, or create an 'Alphapore', or even a 'Middlepore', rather than be resigned to the 'Dirtpoor', our socialist President and Congress envision for us and our children.

steve burton said...

@Truth: surely you've been around here long enough to know the answer to your question, without having to ask: We hate the Elysians. We fear the Earthlings. But we are trapped between them. And, like the dwarves of Moria, we cannot get out.

*They are coming.*

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the Jodie Foster comment either. Wouldn't she invoke her immigrant forebears, from the Mayflower

CJ said...

I don't know what Jodie Foster's actual views on immigration are, but Matt Damon is not exactly working on the cure for cancer, if you know what I mean. The portrayal of him in Team America: World Police had him pegged.

Anonymous said...

"..her immigrant forebears, from the Mayflower".

To call those people "immigrants is a gross oversimplification of the realities and facts. They were settlers. They settled in a wild and very primitive land. There were no hospitals, schools, colleges, clinics, fire stations, police, court system, highways, roads, paramedics, bridges, welfare, pensions, docks, seaports, etc. They didn't fly on an airplane and land in a modern airport. It is extremely unfair to compare them to the real immigrants who arrive today, having built or created NONE of these things, but greatly benefiting from ALL of them.

Why not compare oranges to oranges instead of to apples?

Anonymous said...

From the company Foster keeps, it's an uncomplicated speculation to imply she might not see the world in through the same 'evil rich oppressor/poor-exploited-srdworld' prism that the smart but shallow Zinn-ophile Damon swallows uncritically like a big spoon of Boston Baked Beans.

john marzan said...

first photo of jodie foster from the movie

https://twitter.com/Simply__Jodie/status/296362606506151937

Derek Brown said...

So what company does Foster keep? Are we just talking about Mel Gibson or does she go on Thomas Flemming's Greek cruises too?

Anonymous said...

Anyone have a link to Steve's D9 review? I cannot find it at Taki.

Anonymous said...

Steve has also made much in the past of Foster's selection of scientist with a 160 IQ as the sperm donor for her child. So, I supect he thinks she is some kind of eugenicist/inegalitarian much more sympathetic to certain strands of rightist thinking than is typical in Hollywood (to say the least).

Anonymous said...

http://takimag.com/article/alien_nation/print#axzz2JlvQIRdB

Anonymous said...

"In the year 2159, two classes of people exist: the very wealthy who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth."

Sounds like apartheid, which is no longer thanks to the moral and economic intervention of the globalist liberal West.
Ironically of course, globalism has created its own separate world of privilege.

If apartheid did it by legal and official racial policy, the global elites do it by other means, and in that way, the new divisions are more insidious since the very elites pretend to be such wonderful egalitarians. But as long as they trot around the world like Bono and make so many noises about 'equality' and vote for Obama, I suppose we'll all just have to forgive their privilege and pretend that our world is becoming more equal. Never mind all those immigrants will make America less equal, but as long as liberal elites act like they're for amnesty in the name of equality, many will be fooled that we are all becoming more equal.
From apartheid to apart-hide.

PS.

Will Northern Europe become as hopeless as Southern Europe?

When we survey the arc of history, it seems that the very advantage of Southern Europe proved to be its undoing while the disadvantage of Northern Europe proved to be its very doing. I mean the contact with the non-West.

Southern Europe was quicker to develop since it had more contact with other civilizations of the Near East and Northern Africa. So, it came in contact with more ideas. Northern Europe, in contrast, existed in greater isolation, so barbarism lasted there for much longer. So, Greece and Rome developed into great civilizations whereas Northern Europe languished. And even after the fall of Rome, Spain and Italy were better off than northern Europe. They were more in contact with civilizations outside the West.

But proximity with the non-West also meant more invasions, wars, and mixing the non-West. Thus, more energy had to be expended on defense--and Russian Slavs lost a lot of energy battling East Asian Mongols and Central Asians Muslims.
As a result, Southern and Eastern Europe became racially and culturally more diverse, and diverse civilizations tend to be less trusting, more suspicious, more divided.

But as long as Southern Europe reaped more benefit from contact with the non-West, it had a great advantage over the more isolated Northern Europe. Southern Europe was trading and learning from civilizations from Northern Africa and Near East while Northern Europeans were playing hairy viking, drunken Irish, or some such.

But in time, the cultural, intellectual, and technological influences of the non-West--as well as those of Southern Europe--filtered and passed to Northern Europe. Now, Northern Europe had the best of both worlds. It was no longer isolated in terms of ideas and culture, BUT it was still protected from the dangers of the East by Russia and protected from the dangers posed by Muslims and other outsiders by the Balkans and Southern Europe. And as Northern Europe remained racially and culturally more homogeneous, there was bound to be more unity and trust.

Anonymous said...

So, while Southern Europe got both the good and bad of dealing with the non-West--the good being fresh ideas and the bad being invasions and mixing--, Northern Europe only got the good. Southern Europe served as a filtration system that passed only the good stuff to Northern Europe while holding off all the bad stuff like being invaded by Moors and the like.

Suppose there's some substance that has good and bad properties. And there's a tube through which the substance is poured. The tube has two layers with micro-organisms. When the substance is poured, the first layer that absorbs the substance benefits from the good nutrients. So, micro-organisms in the first layer thrive more than the organisms in the lower layer to which the substance is hardly penetrating. But let's say the substance isn't all good but also has toxins. So, even though micro-organisms in the first layer is thriving from the good stuff, they are also getting sick from the bad stuff.
Even so, they are still better off than the micro-organisms in the lower layer that is getting none of the substance. But let's say, over time, the good nutrients of the substance eventually make their way to the lower layer, and micro-organisms there began to thrive too. But furthermore, the added benefit to the lower layer is that the first layer absorbs most of the toxins of the substance. Thus, the micro-organisms of the lower layer get the best of both worlds. It gets the good stuff from the nutrients but is protected from the bad stuff, the toxins, most of which remain filtered in the first layer.

So, even though contact with the substance initially favored the first layer, it eventually came to favor the lower layer in the long run.

Anyway, Northern Europe is no longer protected from the non-West. With millions of Muslims and Africa in London--and more coming--and with Scandinavian nations being inundated with non-Europeans, it seems like Northern Europe will become just another extension of Southern Europe. What do you expect from a civilization that now thinks GIRL WITH A DRAGON ASS TATTOO is the great moral testament of the age?

PSS. I suppose the other great advantage of Southern Europe was that it was better positioned to trade with Africa and Near East. But once the New World was discovered and Northern Europe got a foothold in it, Northern Europe could also benefit greatly from maritime trade.

john marzan said...

Now, Northern Europe had the best of both worlds. It was no longer isolated in terms of ideas and culture, BUT it was still protected from the dangers of the East by Russia and protected from the dangers posed by Muslims and other outsiders by the Balkans and Southern Europe. And as Northern Europe remained racially and culturally more homogeneous, there was bound to be more unity and trust. "

in a way, the USA functions as a buffer zone for canada from the illegal hordes wanting to move north.

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