Elysium (2013)

August 17, 2013 By Mike B
Movie Review

Elysium Film Review

What Worked?

It’s always been a fear that war would break out between the haves and the have nots. In reality, the poor stay poor, and the rich get richer. Neill Blomkamp’s sophomore effort, Elysium, touches upon roots and equality, while still managing to be a satisfying Sci-Fi action film. Matt Damon is let loose to flex his action-star muscle, and he’s surrounded by fantastic talent, such as Jodie Foster and District 9‘s Sharlto Copley.

Blomkamp’s vision is amazing and crystal clear, as he takes us to 2154 where Earth is left for the poor and crippled, and Elysium is a man-made habitat in outer-space that is bathed in luxury for the cream of the crop. The script’s concepts are a handful to wrap your mind around, even though they don’t fully open up to the complex aspects of Blomkamp’s future. It’s not as probing with social commentary as District 9, but it’s more intelligent than a good portion of action films out there this summer. Again, Blomkamp does wonders with CGI, as he finds creatively pleasing ways to film action and annihilate some of his characters. His shaky-cam POV shots are gritty and intense, while also bringing a sense of Bourne homage to the table.

Matt Damon as Max does very well with what he’s given from the script. He comes off as a blue-collar worker with a criminal past rather well, and he is a likable protagonist that many can easily cheer for, although the volume is questionable. Damon proves once again that he’s a great action-star, not only because he can pull off being a badass, but also because he brings depth to the character with his acting chops. Besides Damon, the standout of the film is Sharlto Copley playing the entertainingly psychotic Kruger. Copley is having a good time being bad with all the tech toys he has, and one old school weapon of choice: a samurai sword.

Elysium shows us that we should remember where we came from, because you don’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been. We find out with Max that being selfless is the most complete way to live, and the closest we’ll ever be to immortality.

Potential Drawbacks:

Jodie Foster, playing one of the main villains, gives an odd performance. It’s as if she’s uncomfortable in her role, especially with her awkward accent that never really sounds like anything, as if it’s constantly in flux. Also, although Kruger is entertaining, he’s still a cardboard villain with no real motive or depth to be a fully developed character.

Elysium also has plenty of questionable aspects in its plot, and an ending that just screams cliche. It starts out as a good Sci-Fi flick, and devolves to be something we’ve all seen before. Even Max goes from interesting, at times funny, and likable to dull and silent.

Ultimately, Elysium could’ve been a great film, instead of a good film with great moments and ideas sprinkled throughout.

Film Recommendations:

District 9

Blood Diamond

Bourne Identity 

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