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Synopsis: 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.
Starring: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, William Fichtner, Alice Braga, Diego Luna, Michael Shanks, Sharlto Copley and others.
Elysium is Neill Blomkamp's second major sci-fi film after District 9. This time, he brought one of Hollywood's best talents on board (i.e. Matt Damon) and integrated top-notch visual effects. However, is all this enough to elevate Elysium to the critically praised status of Blomkamp's breakthrough movie?
Is Elysium better or worse than District 9?
Read some review highlights below!
The story, characters, and overall thematic and/or metaphorical point of the film are all poorly conceived and implemented. In terms of story, Elysium is all over the place with its focus, full of plot holes and strange idiosyncrasies, and fails in the principal task of selling its protagonist (Max) in convincing fashion. Who to care about and how to feel about them are questions that plague the narrative, and the third act just unravels completely into a race-and-chase sequence whose grand payoff is a hoodwink effort of paper-thin ideological fantasy.
There’s no shortage of action or tension during the running time of the film. It just happens to stall a bit when there is a final showdown between Max and Kruger, which looks like something we’ve already seen time and time again. That’s not enough to mar the promise of Blomkamp’s film career. Elysium is a solid sophomoric effort.
It is setting in particular to which Blomkamp applies his particular flavor this go-around, and Elysium is full of grand visuals, from the horrid, desert-overrun slums of a future Los Angeles to the palatial riches of Elysium. The film has realistic dirt under its nails and blood splattering its walls, aided by Blomkamp’s flinch-inducing approach to violence. Tension is kept high as stick-it grenades splatter humans left and right, and every body on the screen seems at risk for anatomically accurate mauling. Aiding the feelings of bodily vulnerability and realism are the top-notch visual effects, which are seamless and well-integrated into the film.
But if you are looking for serious science-fiction, bursting with allegory and social commentary, you need look no further than Elysium. Blomkamp’s vision of the future is a grim one, but in using the genre as a prism through which to tackle the many serious issues currently facing the planet, he’s yet again made the smartest blockbuster of the year. What’s more impressive still is that it’s so damn entertaining, and that deadly combination of crowd-pleasing and smarts marks him out as one of the most exciting filmmakers working today.
Being an action heavy film, the R rating comes from some “strong bloody violence and language throughout.” Blomkamp filled the movie with explosions, gunfights and killing, but never at any point did it feel like there was too much. Each instance of graphic violence was quick, to the point and in no way excessive, which seemed like a conscious effort on Blomkamp’s part.
If you’re looking for a summer movie that delivers action with a fresh story, “Elysium” is the movie for you either for simple enjoyment, or for the thought-provoking take on real life issues.