BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
AUGUST 20, 2013
Following a retreaded story structure, “Elysium” sticks out as a strong science fiction action film for its impressive visuals, more-so over its ability to tell a captivating story. However, the strong allusions to unbalanced socio-economical classes and unequal distribution of wealth help differentiate it from similar sci-fi flicks. Much like his directorial debut, Neill Blomkamp has no problem weaving his visual concepts with his glimpse into Earth’s future. In this impoverished future, Earth is inhabited by the poor, living in poverty among dumps and with inadequate healthcare. The rich have fled Earth and are orbiting in an enormous space station paradise called Elysium. Here, there are robots to serve and protect, and healthcare comes in the form of an MRI-looking machine that fixes any illness you may have, be it a fractured bone or even cancer.
Matt Damon leads this endeavor as Max Da Costa. A former car thief turned factory worker who suffers a radiation accident within the first act of the film; doctors tell Max he has five days to live. Determined to get to Elysium to get medical treatment, Max turns to his former boss, the massive hacker and black-market kingpin, Spider (Wagner Moura). He offers Max a way out, attaching a metal harness to his entire body, making him part human, part machine. “Elysium” succeeds wonderfully as a straight-up action film, producing some highly entertaining action sequences, especially between Max and Kruger, who is played by Sharlto Copley of “District 9” fame and who also wears a metallic harness.
Performance-wise, “Elysium” is somewhat lacking, Damon, Copley, and even Alice Braga as love-interest Frey are all convincing, but Jodie Foster and William Fichtner tend to phone-in their performances, with Foster delivering horridly paced lines and attaching a downright abysmal accent. You’ll notice during the credits sequence of the film that the visual effects are a fraction of the size compared to most big-budget science fiction action films nowadays, but “Elysium” has amazingly striking visuals with half the effects crew, which is entirely impressive. Neill Blomkamp proves wonders with his sophomore endeavor, giving peace of mind to those that questioned whether he could knock it out of the park twice in a row.
August 9, 2013
(for strong bloody violence and language throughout)