‘Elysium’ Review

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Dir: Neil Blomkamp

Cast: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga, Diego Luna, Wagner Moura and William Fichnter

Synopsis: Set in the year 2154, where the very wealthy live on a man-made space station while the rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth, a man takes on a mission that could bring equality to the polarized worlds

 

*Review Note:This is a non-spoiler review as always.”

 

In 2009 Neill Blomkamp gave to us one of the best sci-fi films in a while with District 9. It wasn’t just an action movie but so a social commentary that hit a chord with many people and earned itself a Best Picture Oscar nomination in the process. Now, Blomkamp has given us Elysium, an equally intelligent sci-fi film that replaces the issue of racism with poverty, immigration and overpopulation but also delivers great action sequences.

The world has been divided into two very distinct groups: the poor, who live on the diseased and overcrowded earth, and the wealthy, who have fled to a man-made space station called ‘Elysium’ in order to preserve their privileged way of life.

Through flashbacks we are introduced to Max (Damon), an orphan struggling to understand the world he’s apart of. Max’s ambition is to one day make it onto Elysium, but when we encounter him as an adult in the ruined Los Angeles, he couldn’t be further from fulfilling that dream

Serving parole and working on an assembly line building robots Max’s life is made more terrible when he suffers an accident at work which has devastating consequences on his health, making his need to reach Elysium all the more important. Meanwhile, Secretary Delacourt (Foster)– responsible for the defense of Elysium – is finding herself frustrated by the administration and wants to do something drastic to change it.

Max, with no way out of his situation, goes to his old boss Spider (Wagner Moura) with the help of his friend Julio (Diego Luna) to find away up to Elysium. This brings in the mechanic exoskeleton that we see Damon wear. The suit not only gives him the strength but serves another purpose to the story. When Spider sets a plan a motion Delacourt activates Kruger (Copley) ,a sleeper agent who is charged with the task of doing her bidding on earth.

It’s pretty cool concept once you see the whole movie. Blomkamp seems to be very good at this brand of high-concept sci-fi, the film’s narrative similar to District 9 in that it sets up a credible future-world, takes an ordinary man, places him in extraordinary circumstances, gives him near superhuman powers (alien DNA in D9, a mech-suit here) and follows his efforts to smash the system.

Aesthetically Elysium isn’t really that similar to District 9 (although you shouldn’t compare the two really). The visuals are more sophisticated this time around, the technological advancements made in the last four years make Elysium seem like what the movies makes it out to be, a wonderful place to live, if you can afford it of course.

Unlike District 9, the film is filled with a well known cast lead by Matt Damon. His Max character is a complicated character to the point where we know he’s an ex-convict trying to make an honest living but has to do things he knows are wrong in order to make it right. The flashback scenes and his relationship with Frey (Braga), a childhood friend, make him more sympathetic toward the viewer.

Foster’s Delacourt is interesting. She can be seen as the villain (although I didn’t see her as the real villain of the movie) but all her action are done to protect “the habitat” as she refers to it. The weird part though is Foster’s accent. I’m not one to complain about actors accents but it seemed like Foster was struggling a bit to keep it when she had long speeches. William Fichtner plays a businessman John Carlyle who shares most of his screen time with Foster and although a short role it’s important.

The standout however is Sharlto Copley as Kruger. He’s a man of few words at first but gradually starts to become a hassle to everybody involved. You can tell he had a lot of fun playing the role and he chews up the scenery when he’s on camera which I was okay with.

Ultimately Elysium is Neill Blomkamp’s film. The visuals are great to look at and even though it has a cool and pretty original story; the film does have some sci-fi elements we’ve seen before (still cool to watch though) but also goes into a straight action film.

All in all, Elysium has everything;  sci-fi, action, some humor, a great story with cool characters and is damn entertaining.

 

Elysium

4.5 out of 5

Anticipated Movies of 2013 Part 2

Let’s continue the list starting from May to September

May

3rd: Iron Man 3

            The teaser really set the mood on what’s to come for the third entry in the Iron Man series. With the darker tone and the long gestured villain The Mandarin I think we’re all in for a great movie.

 

17th: Star Trek Into Darkness

            J.J Abrams did an awesome job with his Star Trek reboot that I fully trust him with whatever he does with the series. Now with Into Darkness the villain is being kept firmly under wraps but has been speculated to be Khan, Gary Mitchell, a combination of the two or a brand new villain like Nero from the first film. After seeing the first nine minutes I can fully say this is probably the movie I’m most excited for.

 

24th: The Fast and the Furious 6

            At the moment that I’m writing this there is no official plot synopsis. However, with the new cast of Luke Evans, Gina Carano and Joe Taslim (The Raid) and a possibly exciting story, I’m in.

 

 

June

7th: Much Ado About Nothing

A modern re-telling of the Shakespeare play with director Joss Whedon and many Whedon alumni part of the cast it seems like it’s going to be pretty good.

 

14th: Man of Steel

            Everybody seems to be excited for this one. Either because they want to see how good it is or how bad it is. I’m really on the fence about this one for a couple reasons. The trailer shows us that it will bring us a new tone of Superman that we’ve never seen before.

 

21st: World War Z

            Now this one may have some of you scratching your head. Fans of the book have been looking forward to this. However, some general audiences may not know of the behind the scenes cluster-fuck this has gone through (pretty interesting stuff if you want to look for it). So why did I put this on here? Well I don’t know how many of you reading know me personally but I end up enjoying A Lot movie movies then everybody. Good or bad I just want to see how this turns out.

 

28th: Kick-Ass 2

            A surprise hit back in 2010, Kick-Ass didn’t necessarily changed the comic book genre but it did get a following and made the comic book probably more noticeable. I thoroughly enjoyed it and can’t wait for this.

 

 

July

5th: The Lone Ranger, Despicable Me 2

Yes, I’m looking forward to Despicable Me 2. I didn’t watch the first one until last year and I really enjoyed it. As for Lone Ranger the trailers have really bought me around but I’m not sold on Depp and Tonto. Sorry Depp fans.

 

12th: Pacific Rim

            I’m a huge fan of Guillermo del Toro and when I heard about the idea of giant robots and monsters I knew he could be one of the few that pull that idea off. The trailer proved that and since then everybody has been talking about.

 

19th: R.I.P.D, The Conjuring

            I’ve heard of R.I.P.D for a while now and the concept of supernatural cops dealing with supernatural crimes seems pretty cool. As for The Conjuring, done by James Wan and based on real Ghost Hunters (not the SyFy Chanel guys) you know it’s going to be creepy.

 

26th: The Wolverine

            You can probably put this in the same category as Man of Steel in where it can be good or can be bad. Everything makes it look like it can be good, taking the popular Japanese arc from the comics and promising statements by director James Mangold and Wolverine himself Hugh Jackman, I think it can be good.

 

 

Aug

2nd: 300: Rise of an Empire, Red 2

            Although not really a sequel to Zack Snyder’s 300 it does take place during the events of the first and it’s also a standalone movie, taking place during another battle when the Persian’s attacked Greece. As for Red 2, I loved the first one and with another star studded cast I can’t wait.

 

9th: Elysium

            Neill Blomkamp surprised everyone with his original sci-fi film District 9 and everyone has been waiting for his follow-up. Now comes Elysium with Matt Damon, Jodie Foster and reuniting with District 9 star Sharlto Copley who’s playing the villain this time around. While District 9 dealt with racial issues Elysium well apparently deal with health care. But with sci-fi of course.

 

16th: 2 Guns

            An interesting casting partnership with Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington were they play a DEA agent and an undercover Naval Intelligence officer who have been tasked with investigating one another find they have been set up by the mob.

           

30th: Insidious Chapter 2

            James Wan bought the creep factor with his surprise hit Insidious and I can’t wait to see what he does with part two

 

Sept

6th: Riddick

            Vin Diesel returns as everybody’s favorite killer Richard B. Riddick. The story has Riddick left for dead on a dangerous planet and people ready to collect their bounty. Diesel and returning director David Twohy have promised to go back to its darker tone from Pitch Black so you’ll see.

 

13th: I, Frankenstein

            Frankenstein’s creature (played by the always reliable Aaron Eckhart) finds himself caught in an all-out, centuries old war between two immortal clans. Directed by Stuart Beattie who directed the Australian film Tomorrow, When the War Began (highly recommend by the way) and wrote the Pirate of the Caribbean movies, Collateral, and 30 Days of Night. It seems like a cool concept and besides Eckhart the lovely Yvonne Strahovski and Bill Nighy will join him.

           

20th: Prisoners

            About a Boston man kidnapping the person he suspects is behind the disappearance of his young daughter and her best friend, sounds like a good revenge type thriller don’t you think? Then with a cast like Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Terrence Howard, Viola Davis, Melissa Leo and Mario Bello, you really can’t complain.