Elysium

In 2009, Neill Blomkamp changed the world.

Okay, that is an exaggeration. But he did release the movie District 9, a beautiful, very detailed, sci-fi movie, with great acting, plot, and messages associated with it. More importantly, it was his first major film as a director and it was an independent movie. That’s right, they found out they could make big epics without breaking the bank at the same time.

This is why four years later, most people are excited about Elysium and wondering if it can repeat his earlier success.

Elysium Itself
I’d want to live there too. Shit’s dope, even if the Earth was fine.
In the year 2154, Earth is left in shambles. Not from an alien attack or war or mole people. No, from just straight up over population, pollution, and an ever growing lower class. To fix this issue, the rich people decided…to leave Earth completely! They made a giant spaceship habitat to orbit Earth (called Elysium!), to live out their lives in luxury. They got everything there, green grass, fine dining, and of course the ability to heal any ailment, disease, or virus. Aw yeah.

On Earth,people are dying from these diseases a, the high costs and a strict robotic police force. It is hard not to be a criminal. Like Max (Matt Damon). Sure he used to be a criminal, but now he wants to earn money the right way. Too bad the man ain’t letting him get on his feet! In fact, at work, he gets bombarded with a lethal dose of radiation, leaving him with only five days left to live! So they fire his butt, and leave him in his misery.

Yeah. Max really needs to get to Elysium.

A man with five days left to live will go through a heck of a lot to try and survive. Even if it involves attaching a permanent exo skeleton power suit to his body, kidnapping the CEO of the company that fired him (William Fichtner), and teaming up with members of his old criminal team (Wagner Moura). It would also be nice if he could bring his lady friend Frey (Alice Braga) and her daughter with them to Elysium.

It won’t be a cakewalk either. He has to deal with the Elysium head of security (Jodie Foster) and a sociopathic sleeper agent (Sharlto Copley) who will stop at nothing to bring him to “justice.” Poor Max. Why couldn’t you just be born rich?

Cyborgs?
I wonder if in 2154 they have classified at what constitutes a cyborg. Officially.
The best sci-fi films have always been those that offer great social commentary. Actually, I’d say that most sci-fi films and stories offer some form of social commentary. What better way to “secretly” criticize government or policies than by setting it hundreds of years in the future?

This one really isn’t even that subtle about it. Basically it takes the rich getting richer to extremes, along with some elements of overpopulation and immigration.

Sometimes films can feel a bit too preachy, but this one does a good job of providing enough entertainment at the same time for it to be acceptable. Most of the film I’d describe as “action light.” There are only really two action scenes: a robbery, and the ending, which is exciting enough to make up for the slower parts of the film.

Strangely, I think the films main issue comes with not making everything clear enough. No one likes to be spoon fed, but they could definitely fleshed out more details to enrich the world, and answer some more questions. The dialogue of the film could have also been better. Jodie Foster’s character felt underused to me, which might have been on purpose.

But overall these points are pretty minor. It was a really well done story, and Sharlto Copley was fantastic in it. Probably the best acted character in Elysium. His character was so exciting and vivid, I almost had a hard time cheering for Matt Damon at the end. I think we can all agree that we need more Sharlto Copley in our movies.

 

3 out of 4.

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