Saturday, August 10, 2013

Elysium is no District 9

Elysium – Movie Review

By Anne Brodie Aug 9, 2013, 22:23 GMT

A science fiction-thriller set in a future world where social class determines one\'s fate.
A science fiction-thriller set in a future world where social class determines one\'s fate. ...more

Neill Blomkamp’s hotly anticipated second feature following the original and invigorating District 9 is a letdown even though it carries much of the same DNA. The themes of man versus man made, space versus earth, greed, arid blasted landscapes and an all-encompassing war mentality are visited but in a conventional manner.
Where is the Blomkamp of District 9, that gripping and ingeniously fresh feature debut?
In Elysium, instead of the enslavement of space creatures, man enslaves himself by ruining the planet. Nothing is left on earth to sustain a decent life. The rich have long since left to live on Elysium, a beautiful resort like space craft just out of reach of the plebs who live on earth. The planet has apparently been bled dry of resources, beauty and meaning. Life is primitive and harsh.

Earth is a blasted, infertile heath. Rampant crime, hunger and unemployment shapes life there. Factories using poisonous substances provide what little money there is. Those jobs are dangerous and being jobless is dangerous. The environment is poisoned and the sick and wounded have no recourse, no hope of treatment. Life is close to the ground.
Life is sweet on Elysium with its perfect climate and environment, with waterfalls, flowers, vast green grounds, swimming pools, posh cocktail parties and medical care that works miracles. It would have been fun to see more, and to understand the mentality of the Elysium cowards.
Matt Damon is Max, an earthbound factory worker and paroled criminal who doesn’t react well to authority. But behave he must so he follows the boss’ orders and climbs inside the works of a leaking radiation machine. He’s trapped and irradiated and is expected to die in five days. His only hope is reaching Elysium where illnesses are cured through advanced science.
High tech outlaws who control traffic to Elysium make big bucks from the desperation of the sick earthlings. They pay exorbitant fees to get on the shuttles, which are invariably shot down. Max enters into a bargain with them, promising to download important information from the brain of a corporate stooge from Elysium who works on Earth, and bring it back.
Meanwhile out in space, Elysian political grappling combines with deadly intent towards earthlings, under the thumb of smartly dressed iron maiden Delacourt (Jodie Foster). She enlists the help of Kruger (Sharlto Copley who starred in District 9), a psycho who can be programmed, to get the information Max is after.
From this point on, it’s one brutal blood bath after another in an intensely violent third act. Cinematically the seemingly endless battling is flat and monotonous, compared to the more interesting earlier acts that raise questions about equality, the abuse of power and technology, and human greed.
People are bad to the bone in this world because that’s the world they’re in. It’s a world the people destroyed over hundreds of years, the world they created. Everyone is to blame and no one is to blame.

End of days stories can only deal with what they are, not what things could be and Elysium becomes a public school cautionary tale.
35mm sci fi /action
Written and directed by Neill Blomkamp
In theatres
Runtime: 109 minutes
Country: USA
Language: English

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