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Elysium - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
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cinema_holic
Elysium
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Directing: C
Acting: C+
Writing: C-
Cinematography: B
Editing: B-
Special Effects: B+



Elysium refers to a space station that houses the world's richest people, a giant wheel that floats just outside Earth's atmosphere. It has such preposterous features as a "med bay" that fixes apparently any illness possible with the twirling of a mechanical arm, and lush yards and swimming pools. Scientifically, it's outright idiotic. I'll give it this: the Elysium facility -- or "atmosphere," as its inhabitants call it -- is very pretty to look at. This applies to views both within and outside of it.

You might as well just find images and clips of it online, because you'll get about as much out of the movie that way.

If Neill Blomkamp's 2009 debut District 9 was widely overrated but still a good movie, Elysium is proof that the director is no visionary. He has nothing new to offer here, just the same shit in a different package: a loner hero with a checkered past but a heart of gold intent on saving an estranged love's sick child, all with the very future of humanity hanging in the balance, blah blah blah.

This film is set in the year 2154. That may be a long time from now but the "science" in it still exceeds the limits of believability. A guy gets his face blasted off and then reconstructed out of thin air by a machine in this movie. The scenes on Earth are all in Los Angeles, which is a vast wasteland of a rubble-ridden, dusty metropolis. Okay maybe that part isn't exactly off the mark.

Our hero is Max (Matt Damon), a guy on parole who is trying to make an honest living but is (of course) forced to turn back to crime after an industrial accident at work exposes him to lethal doses of radiation. He has five days to live, but he's given a bottle of pills that will keep him functioning normally until he dies. This after being told he's suffered organ failure. Uh huh. This movie lost me pretty early on.

"I have to get to Elysium," he tells the guy he used to steal cars for -- or something, whatever. It's only there that he can be cured. The movie never offers much else in the way of motivation for Max; he certainly doesn't have the greatest life in L.A. to live for. Even though his childhood friend Frey (Alice Braga) has a daughter with leukemia, Max makes it pretty clear he's only headed to Elysium to help himself. Frey and her daughter end up on a ship headed there anyway, for convoluted reasons that have nothing to do with any magnanimity on Max's part. It's almost as though Blomkamp was just hoping we wouldn't notice that.

There are way too many lapses in logic in this movie. Max becomes a sort of pseudo-droid (in one of the movie's few bits of subtle humor, Max works in a facility constructing the very police droids who abuse him) when some guys fuse a sort of exoskeleton that connects to his nervous system and strengthens him. This apparatus is fused to his body with screws -- through a shirt. So is he just never going to shower, now? That shirt is going to get nasty.

And I haven't yet even mentioned the villainous Secretary Delacourt, played by Jodie Foster with possibly the most inconsistent accent of her career. It doesn't help that nearly everything out of Secretary Delacourt's mouth is so incredibly dumb. "Don't you have a fundraiser to attend?" she says snidely, in her stupid accent, to the President she's trying to overthrow. Was this really the best script Jodie Foster had available to her? She's so much better than this.

Even Matt Damon is better than this, and his career isn't as distinguished. His performance is decent, but so what? One can only assume that this is yet another case of "paycheck movie." The budget for Elysium was $100 million. Sometimes that makes at least for some harmless entertainment, but this movie works too hard to insult our intelligence -- while taking itself way too seriously -- to be any fun. It starts off somewhat intriguing and then devolves in a long sequence of cliched ideas and gun battles already seen in countless other movies. The people who made this movie wasted their money and are wasting our time.

Nothing new on Earth or in space in ELYSIUM.


Overall: C
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Comments
tommy50702 From: tommy50702 Date: June 12th, 2015 05:25 am (UTC) (Link)
ELYSIUM reminds me of Halo
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