Cert: 15 Runtime: 109 mins Director: Neil Blomkamp Cast: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga and William Fichtner
They will hunt you to the edge of the Earth for this
Neil Blomkamp surprised the world in 2009 with District 9, he made an epic sci fi movie with a budget of $30 million. People have been waiting for his follow up movie, with two major actors involved Damon and Foster and a massive budget of $100 million at his disposal. Pressure is high for him to bring have another hit! So what is Elysium? In the year 2154 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 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.
Despite being somewhat unoriginal, Elysium is every bit as awesome and awe-inspiring as I expected. The action hits hard and rough, with frequent fights and shoot-outs, all made even more explosive and incredible with a plethora of futuristic gear. The film can get pretty gruesome, for there are a few exploding bodies and painful-looking injuries, but it’s still nowhere near as brilliant as District 9. Some incredible slow-motion shots and gorgeous special effects make the excitement stand out even more. In between the action scenes, the film maintains even pacing with strong conflicts and quality visuals. The story covers pretty standard sci-fi ground. It does employ some interesting concepts though: the actual Elysium space station is a magnificent utopic space habitat (a Stanford Torus design), the likes of which is often envisioned by futurists and sci-fi authors, but has never actually been produced on the big screen for some odd reason. The world of Elysium is visually fantastic and really cool.The actual plot is solidly-built, with its foundations firmly set in conflict and action. It takes some really interesting twists and turns; the climax is a little predictable, but everything leading up to it is a real roller-coaster ride. Characters aren’t particularly deep; the villains are especially one-dimensional.
However, the film does its best to humanize the heroes and the poor people they fight for, to best emphasize its key themes. The themes of the film I appreciate, it displays such hot topics as immigration, healthcare, and class warfare.This film uses pretty rough and gritty photography and editing. The camera does shake around a bit during some scenes, but it didn’t agitate me nearly as much as I thought it would: I could see the action perfectly well, and I thought a lot of the camera angles and compositions were cool. Acting is alright: Matt Damon is a pretty generic action hero here, Sharlto Copley is flipping crazy, and Alice Braga offers the most touching performance of the lot. Surprisingly, Jodie Foster is the weakest link, thanks to her butchery of the French accent. Writing is not bad. This picture has really cool and real-looking sets, props, costumes, and special effects. Music is pretty good too.I felt this was a perfectly satisfying and awesome sci-fi adventure, despite a few quibbles. District 9 remains a fresher, more original, and more deeper experience; I think it’s because it offered something nobody had really seen before. Elysium, on the other hand, offers something we’ve all seen before, so it hasn’t struck as hard with audiences. I do hope director Neill Blomkamp continues to pump out similarly raw and uncompromising pictures.