Review: Elysium

Posted: August 16, 2013 in Review
Tags: , , , , ,

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a movie such as Elysium, one that’s not just visually, but also intellectually stimulating and emotionally invigorating. I was so glad my roommate Morgan and I went to go see it.

Plus we had a laugh afterwards making fun of right conservatives’ reactions to this movie.

Elysium, directed by District 9‘s Neil Blonkamp, depicts a world where the rich literally live above us all, in a Mercedes-logo satellite called Elysium where there is no war, crime, or sickness and all the buildings look like a cross between mansions, Greek temples, and sci-fi edifices. On Earth, the rest of humanity have to deal with poverty, non-existent education, sickness, and crime. That is, until Max de Costa, played by Matt Damon without any hair, gets hit by radiation during a workplace accident and learns he has five days to live. Returning to his old criminal contacts, Max will go to great length to go to Elysium and save his life. What happens next will change the course of human history forever.

What was interesting about this film was that it didn’t follow the normal flow for a sci-fi action movie of this sort, which is introduce the world and the conflict, dive right into the action, have your resolution after a ton of explosions and deaths, all while avoiding character development that can’t be done in a few frames or in a very tense emotional scene with romantic or beautiful background music. Instead, Elysium flows more like a novel, with a slow but steady build-up to the catalyst that causes the conflict in the story, several twists and turns of action and espionage and deceit in the middle, full of character development that penetrated deeply into your soul, and an ending that, while unconventional for sci-fi movies, left you feeling satisfied and full of joy and hope.

Unless of course you’re a right wing conservative, which means you left this movie in tears because you thought you saw the future.

Elysium was well-executed in terms of filmmaking. The settings were vivid in their portrayals of excessive wealth and terrible degradation, the special effects were extremely realistic, and the ways you could relate this film to our own lives and the United States political system these days are many (not surprising, considering whom the director is). My one complaint is that at one point, the all-powerful healing machines do something that I think is a little like cheating, but other than that an excellent movie.

For all of the above, I give Elysium a 4.5 out of 5. Best of all, no bad sequels. I cannot wait for what Neil Blonkamp will make next.

  1. I Am Jasmine Kyle says:

    My husband and I just saw this movie and I can tell you I didn’t like it at all!! Matt got his ass kicked ALL OVER the pace it was TO TO much! LOL I will say the lesson of the story was NOT lost on me. Society is SICK and it seems that this extreme exists today. So at least I got SOMETHING OUT OF IT! It was well made I agree with you. BUT I would do a 2.5… I guess I’m Ebert today 😦

    • Only if you do thumbs up or thumbs down when you see a movie, but I can understand why you might have a few problems with this film.

      • I Am Jasmine Kyle says:

        I am usually VERY open minded. I don’t expect to see There Will Be Blood or Atonement, every time I see a film but this one was VERY bad!
        From the Jump.
        I think it only surprises people who don’t think about how sick it is that the rich keep resources from the poor. I think about it a lot so… I was like… where’s the surprise?
        I thought the MAD MAN killer was just ridiculous and the Dr. just happening to have a sick kid that needs to get help was TO MUCH! AND how the cripple guy was running round and never got killed…. I’m sorry it was tooo much. I felt the same way about Oblivion. I thought it tried to squeeze in as many plot twists as possible. It’s been a pretty sad Summer for movies. I think the fall will be much more interesting.

      • I hope so too, especially with the Carrie remake.

      • I Am Jasmine Kyle says:

        OMG don’t get me started with these remakes! NOW I will say I am not ANTI remakes… I really like the OZ and think they could remake The Wizard Of Oz easily! I FRIGGING LOVE Star Trek Remakes! OMG they are AMAZING… but … Footloose? REALLY? LOL I mean come on! Carrie? That’s a CULT CLASIC and you can redo cult classics but… I mean… really! LIke HEY it’s been 5 years let’s redo Pulp Fiction! We could cast Tatum Channing as Vinny! Why not! I like Tatum but he’s no Vinnie! I didn’t need MILLIONS to say redoing Spiderman and Superman were not going to do so well! I could go on but I know you get me.

      • I Am Jasmine Kyle says:

        Sorry I thought you wanted to discuss movies. I apologize if I offended you! I won’t comment again don’t worry. Sorry again.

      • No, I wasn’t offended. I just got your point.
        That’s the problem with comments. You can’t get otne across. ;P

  2. Glad you liked it. I heard some mixed reviews which made me think maybe it wasn’t living up to the potential. However, there are always people who will find fault in an otherwise solid effort.

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