Towards the end of the 21st century, the Earth is plagued with disease and overpopulation. The Earth’s resources are in such disarray that the “privileged” citizens of Earth have built a “Utopia” space station in Earth’s orbit named Elysium were stress, fear and disease are no longer a problem. That is, unless you are a poor member of Earth, because you are not welcome on Elysium . Max (Matt Damon) is a labor worker on Earth and has a troubled past. This means he either follows the rules to the letter, or most likely dies. When Max is involved in an accident that see him radiated to the point of death within a week, he MUST get to Elysium, but he knows that this task isn’t so simple. Setting out with nothing to lose (literally), Max must do whatever it takes to get himself to the one place he isn’t welcome.
Written and directed by Neill Blomkamp (District 9), Elysium is a nice mixture of dirt and polish. What I mean by this follows the 2 distinct areas of the movie, Earth and Elysium. On Earth, everything is dirty, dingy, destroyed and constructed poorly. Elysium is lush, clean, green and beautiful. The characters of each place mimic the setting perfectly as we can tell Max needs to take a shower badly and his new special exoskeleton sure looks like it will infect his entire body sooner rather than later. I feel that the strength of this movie lies with its ability to story tell. The action comes and goes so it is never the focal point, and with the atmosphere being well constructed, the audience will be sucked in with its ability to keep you wondering what will happen next. The best way to describe Elysium in one sentence would be District 9 meets Minority Report based on setting and futurist action. On the surface, Elysium seems simple, but just when you start to think that it’s being too simple, it throws something at you that makes you go “wow!” and for that I applaud the time spent. However, I feel that over time, I will forget Elysium as there are very little memorable moments, even if the ending has something to say. Co-starring Jodie Foster, William Fichtner, Sharlto Copley, Wagner Moura, and Alice Braga.
7/10 Stars – Decent action and a nice story, something just didn’t hit me enough to make it an 8. Not sure why…
Elysium is one of those films that can be seen in two lights; as an enjoyable action film or/and as a commentary on our way of life that will leave you thinking. If you have seen District 9, directed by Neill Blomkamp who also directs this film, Elysium will feel familiar. Blomkamp obviously has a style and a voice that doesn’t vary much. This isn’t a bad thing but I would be curious about if he is really a one trick pony or can he expand his horizon’s a bit. Anyway, Blomkam’s voice is a commentary on our way of life and where we are headed as a society if we stay on our current course. You can take this point of view how you like, because that is exactly what it is, his point of view. We are each entitled to our own. I will say that he presents his point of view through a gritty and emotional story that really cuts you deep…if you have a heart. I personally loved the story and all its details of which there are many. Now that being said that story takes a bit too long to develop. There is nothing right off the bat aside from the setting to really grab you and draw you in so you have to trust there will be more to come. There could have been a bit more “bang” from the start. Again this is another Hollywood film that was misrepresented to a point. I know quite a few people who expected it to be an action film and it is not. Certainly there is action but it’s not the focal point, nor is the action all that impressive. So if you go in expecting that you will be sorely disappointed. My best advice is to go into this movie with an open mind and an open heart because you will enjoy it a lot more if you do.
8/10 Stars – A look at our future that if you take it seriously is both disturbing and yet beautiful at the same time.
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