Thursday, September 12, 2013

Elysium - Movie Review

Starring Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga, Diego Luna and William Fichtner.
Directed by Neill Blomkamp.


I was hyped for Blomkamp's follow-up to District 9, but I found this to be one of the more disappointing films of the summer, if you factor in my anticipation versus what it actually wound up being.

In the near future, the 1% have moved to a space-station called Elysium. Elysium is considered its own independent country, and everyone there lives in a mansion, has robot servants, and has their own medical machines that cure any disease or injury.  Somehow the citizens of Earth do not have this technology, and apparently Elysium won't share or even sell it to them.

Also, all of Earth starts to look like the slums of South Africa.

Max (Matt Damon) is a ex-con now factory worker who gets exposed to deadly radiation, so he has days to live unless he can get to Elysium. Max goes to an old contact of his to find out what he has to do to be illegally sneaked "across the border" into Elysium and get into one of those life-saving med-bays.

Now the head of Elysium's Homeland Security is a Disney villain played by Jodie Foster.  It's one of her hammiest performances to date, and I really don't know what she was thinking. It's dinner theater. It's 3rd Rock from the Sun.  Marginally more subtle is her henchman Kruger, a sadistic mercenary played by District 9's Sharlto Copley, with a South African accent so thick it's hard to understand sometimes. But he can fight.

The heartlessness of the rich and powerful has a Verhoevenian flair to it, but it never builds beyond its initial blueprint of ideas. Once the plot's been put into place, it's all chasing, gunfights, and explosions.  It's better than the Total Recall remake, but that's not saying much.

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