Saturday, August 10, 2013


Did not care too much for this one. Watching ELYSIUM the new film by Neil Blomkamp, the acclaimed director of DISTRICT 9 is like watching a science fiction movie made by Micheal Moore. Unlike the subtleness of the message in DISTRICT 9, the political beliefs in this new film hit you in the head with a sledgehammer. The broad brush strokes of class warfare become so boring and at times down right juvenile. Everything in DISTRICT 9 felt more controlled and balanced, which makes for a far more interesting, smart, and thrilling science fiction film. Unfortunately the only thing ELYSIUM has going for it is Blomkamp's masterful use of special effects and set design. The metaphor this time around does more harm than good.

The second biggest problem with ELYSIUM might have to do with the fact that's it's a far bigger production than DISTRICT 9? Bigger stars, bigger budget almost always leads to more studio involvement. A lot of this film seems like a studio executive took an ax to it. Tailored fit for the masses maybe? I doubt it. Who knows? What happened to the character development? Truth be told there really isn't any. What we have is a bunch of archetypes instead. Max, the blue collar hero of the film that's going to make things fair for everybody. Spider, the loud mouth hyperactive black market computer hacker. Delacourt, the weird French accented mustache twirling (if she had a mustache) evil Defense Secretary who is in charge of Elysium's security. The only character that I felt was worth a damn was Kruger, the sleeper agent working for the Defense Secretary on earth. Kruger is not the guy to root for by any means but Sharlto Copley really feels like the only actor giving it his all.

Set in the year 2154, where the very wealthy live on a space station while the rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth. Redeemed hoodlum Max takes on a mission that could bring equality to the polarized worlds.

Our hero Max is a career criminal trying to make good by working one of the only jobs on the wasteland Earth. A factory that manufactures police robots, the very same robots that terrorize the dregs left on Earth. One day while working the production line Max gets a deadly dose of radiation. With only 5 days to live he concocts a plan with Spider, one of his old partners in crime. Seeing that Max now has nothing to loose, Spider wants to send Max to Elysium with a program that could reboot the space station so that everybody can live there. It's important to note that Elysium is full of med pods that can cure any aliment. Dying of radiation Max really sees no point but to take on the risky mission. Like any good Defense Secretary would, Delacourt gets wind of this plan and sends nasty sleeper agent Kruger after Max and his cohorts to stop them.

ELYSIUM really didn't do much for me. I found the story and it's characters severely lacking. The class warfare metaphor I found offensive at times. The apartheid metaphor in DISTRICT 9 I felt was far more useful and effective.

The only thing I found myself enjoying was the breathtaking visuals and effective use of special effects.

Would I recommend it? Yes. It's a marvel of a film. My final thought is maybe I'm a jerk for letting my political conservative bias get in the way of watching a 'science-fiction' film? Gulp!

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