I remember hearing the title for this movie several months back, and the first words that came to my head were Sci-Fi thriller. After doing some research and finding the trailer, my suspicions were correct. I was also surprised to see Jodie Foster and Matt Damon taking lead roles in this film. I am a Sci-Fi junkie, and with a summer full of Sci-Fi movies I was excited to see this one.
I saw Elysium in an early showing the day before opening night. It was surprising to see that the theater was not sold out. I had not read any reviews on this movie prior to seeing it, so I feared that it might be a flop before it even had a chance. I can tell you this after seeing this movie, it’s no flop.
The movie is set in the distant future where disease and war has ravaged the earth. In response to this, the world’s wealth built a utopia in outer space, and all wealthy people move there to get away from the poverty and despair on Earth. Many people in poverty strike to be one of the lucky people that get on a shuttle to go to Elysium. Max (Matt Damon) is one of them. Damon is a man on parole who one day wants to fly to Elysium. It is something he has dreamed about since he was a kid.
During an incident with police, he reunites with a childhood friend Frey (Alica Braga) who has become a successful nurse while he has taken many wrong paths. While Max and Frey live their lives on earth, Defense Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster) is responsible for the security of Elysium. She does so in brutal ways, and is frowned upon by the president of Elysium (Faran Tahir). Jodie plots to take over the government with the help of corporate mogul John Carlyle (William Fitchner). She also aids the help of a secret government agent by the name of Kruger (Shalto Copley). Meanwhile on Earth, Max has an industrial accident at work and is sickened to the point that he only has five days to live. With the help of his friend Julio (Diego Luna), he seeks out a criminal mastermind by the name of Spider (Wagner Moura) who can smuggle him to Elysium where he can be cured of his illness by modern medical technology. Spider gives Max and Julio the task of recovering information from Carlyles’ memory. The mission to retrieve this goes wrong, and Max finds himself pitted against Delacourt’s wrath in the form of Kruger after her plot is discovered. Now Max must race against time to protect himself from being killed for the knowledge he possesses.
Overall, I like this movie. I was a big fan of District 9, and this movie was directed by the same person, Neill Blomkamp. In many ways, this movie is like District 9. Instead of Aliens living in poverty, it is now humans. Elysium also carries some of the same story arcs as District 9. I do not want to ruin too much of the movie, so I will let the viewer watch it for his/her self and make that determination. The filming style of movie is also similar to District, as well as containing brutal blood and gore. The film develops a good story from the beginning, but much of the action does not start until the middle of the film. Once the action begins, I feel like the scenes were rushed, and then all of a sudden we are at the end of the movie. Matt Damon also does a great job as his character, and Jodi Foster plays a decent villain, however, in the movie she is French. This is the only thing that baffled me in the film. I don’t understand why the writers would make her character French. I also don’t think Foster did a good job playing a French woman because most of the time it sounded like a British accent, and sometimes her natural accent broke through. This is a minor thing though, and in no way did it ruin the movie for me. Elysium may not be the breakout hit, or best movie of the summer, but it’s a definite must see.
What also drives Elysium is it’s originality. Sci-fi is a genre that’s hard to grasp for the casual movie-goer. People can’t handle far-out rehashed storylines and technology they can’t fathom together. They require something simpler and unique that they haven’t seen before and Blomkamp gives it to them. – Nicholas Black
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