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  • After director Neill Blomkamp's fantastic debut film District 9 I was understandably eager to see his new sci-fi film Elysium. Unfortunately his second feature doesn't quite match up with the greatness that was District 9.

    Visually the film is quite stunning and it has some great cinematography when it comes to the larger shots. The CGI effects are excellent and blend in well with the environment. The Earth of the film looks very gritty, believable and lived-in and the space station Elysium has this very sterile and futuristic look to it. You could really buy it that Earth could look like this with many decades of neglect and poverty. Everything's in disrepair and in decline. The rich on the other hand have every resource available to them in their own little paradise in space. The set and production designers truly did a great job with the locations.

    Matt Damon is decent as the film's protagonist Max who is an ex-con now working on assembling the droids which keep order on the now overpopulated Earth. His role and the writing of his character isn't anything too special or memorable but he does what he can with it. He's just a no nonsense guy who is thrown into a difficult situation. He was also quite sarcastic and funny when he was dealing with the droids in the earlier part of the film but we didn't see this side of him at all after that. Alice Braga plays Max's childhood friend Frey with whom Max meets up again when he's an adult. I didn't feel much of an emotional connection or chemistry between them though and that hampered the film a bit. Their back story is told almost completely in sentimental flashback sequences which I didn't care for. The antagonists in this film were very one-dimensional and over the top. Jodie Foster plays Elysium's defense minister Delacourt and Sharlto Copley (who was also in District 9) plays an undercover agent named Kruger who is positioned on Earth. They're both very cliché and uninteresting. The writing of all the characters wasn't very good at all in this film and I didn't get emotionally invested in any of them.

    The story isn't that great either and this then also takes away from the film's many action sequences because we don't have that big a stake in them. The film starts quite strongly as it juxtaposes the situation on Earth and on Elysium to highlight the problems of social and economic inequality. Then suddenly when the action starts, these issues fade far in to the background in favor of more and more action. From the trailers and the hype I really got this impression that the film would deal with these issues in a thoughtful manner. Regrettably this is not the case with this film. A big problem with the film is also that none of the characters seems to learn anything new or change their beliefs or anything like that. A huge part of the success of District 9 was in seeing how the main character evolved after spending some time with the aliens. In Elysium the good guys are the good guys and bad guys are the bad guys. There's no complexity, nuance or subtlety in any of them. We also don't get to meet any other citizens of Elysium beside the higher up leaders like defense minister Delacourt and president Patel. It would've been interesting to see the common people of Elysium and how they react to the situation, what their beliefs are and what drives them. The writing is also a little too pointed out and heavy-handed. Some of it just made me think "Wow, really?". For example, at one point the CEO of the droid production company literally tells some mid-level manager not to breathe at his direction. Things also seem to happen way too conveniently to push the plot along. Then again you could say this about many films but you really start to pay attention to these things when you're not completely engrossed in the film. This film surely would've benefited from a more subtle approach. The ending was also way too simplistic for my taste.

    The action in this film is quite intense and it looks very impressive at times. The exoskeletons were fun and looked convincing. Then comes the shaky cam. Oh boy. It's really quite annoying and very often it's hard to see what's going on. They should've really taken a page from the Bourne movies on how to shoot action scenes. Luckily the shaky cam isn't there all the time but the action could've definitely been improved with a clearer shooting style.

    All in all, the film has decent action with absolutely gorgeous visuals and it moves along at a good pace. Sadly the writing, the plot and the characters aren't that interesting and it's hard to get emotionally invested in this film. It's watchable and probably quite entertaining if you're in the proper mood for it. For me, the film ultimately left me a bit cold and disappointed.
  • This sort of thing is already happening on earth, and has been for a long time, the wealthy elite fencing themselves off from the poorer in society, and hoarding all the wealth for themselves. So this is a very real possibility.

    The film is excellent, with great performances from Matt Damon and Sharlto Copley in particular, Jodie Foster is good if somewhat unused, as is William Fichtner, heavily using CGI though, but it looks very realistic CGI.

    Well directed and paced, and action scenes done well, overall a very good Sci-Fi movie.

    The current 6.6 average rating seems a bit low to me, it is worth an 8 out of 10 at least.
  • Elysium is a gripping scifi movie. There are some plot holes but what scifi movie doesn't have those? Damon as Max and Sharto Copley as Kruger are excellent. The plot isn't deep but the action never slows down. Is this America in 30 years, where the environment is trashed and the rich control health care? Those seem to be today's headlines every day. Yes it's fiction but a more possible fiction than many other scifi movies.
  • What seems to be a trend in big budget SF films occurred, once again, in Elysium. I'm continually impressed with what is being created (visual effects wise)today, but remain disappointed when it comes to the associated screenplays/plot lines. At the end of this film, I had the same, perpetual feeling that no one out there making SF films gets the message: without a good story, you don't have a really good film. Elysium hearkens me back to Prometheus, directed by Ridley Scott. I would have thought he, at least, would appreciate the need for a good story to match the visuals. Especially after being the brains behind Bladerunner. But, oh no - same thing. I suspect that so much talent and expense is spent on the visuals that insufficient amounts of funding and time are left for the associated story.

    I just wish that, when someone comes up with future plans for making a legitimate SF film (sans comic book scenarios), they contract a real science fiction author to write the screenplay. There are any number of SF writers out there that can, I believe, turn out much better scripts than currently making their way to the big screen.

    Bottom line: the world building in Elysium was excellent. Probably some of the best since Avatar. I wish there had been some of this when Bladerunner was produced. As an avid, and long time fan of true science fiction, I thoroughly enjoyed that aspect of the film. As for the story, it could have been a lot, lot better.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Excellent visual and good acting. Yes, this movie should've had a better pace, but nothing that could've damaged its real value. The simple truth is that Blomkamp has something important to say and he knows what he is talking about and how to film it. I read people here saying the story is just too extreme, unreal... Please... Overpopulation is real as the hypocrisy about birth control. Poverty and inequality are rampant. Fascism is spreading fast... Waves of miserable people are dying trying to enter not only Europe and North America, but even Brazil!!! Brazil, that has more homicides than half of the world together... Truth is that countries like Brazil, Mexico and South Africa are already organized in the "condo" logic that Elysium denounced. The fact that some people denied this reality is the reason why this movie is so relevant. People should read Locke again and try hard to understand that unjustified extreme inequality breaks the system. That should be no mystery, since French and Russian revolutions were just about that... But if this mystery still remains, Blomkamp is fully justified and needed. Of course the movie isn't just the message. There are excellent filming and good acting. Luna, Braga, Moura and Copley know exactly what they are doing. Those characters, that violence and despair, it is all real and they saw that on their homelands... That's why Damon is so good, because he really jump on and find the main line: despair. The same despair of the people that dye trying to reach a country where they maybe will have access to primary goods.
  • Elysium is the follow up, much anticipated by many, to the critically acclaimed District 9 from South African-Canadian director and writer Neill Blomkamp.

    In the middle of the 21st Century, with the world now grossly over-populated and law and order seemingly at breaking point, the super wealthy have decamped to a satellite space station highly visible from earth, a utopian society free of poverty, illness and other such mundane woes.

    Meanwhile, the vast majority of earth's population lives in squalid, cramped slums seemingly based on the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro. Needless to say, the rich are all too keen to protect their enclave and any unauthorised vessels arriving from earth are duly dispatched by being blasted away.

    Jodie Foster stars as Elysium's ambitious and sociopathic Defence Secretary, as ruthless at advancing her own interests as she is at ensuring the purity of the over-sized Ferris wheel whose security is in her charge; Matt Damon is the working class drone desperately trying to access the other world for the treatment to cure his radiation sickness from which he will die in 5 days.

    There was clearly an interesting concept waiting to burst out here, an opportunity to explore themes of wealth, inequality, social status, health care and immigration, but sadly it failed on almost every level to build interest or have anything relevant to say.

    First, we saw so little of the societal structure or way of life on Elysium itself. Apart from Jodie Foster and a few other high ranking officials, the film showed us nothing of how this satellite was run. It looked as if everyone lived in a McMansion style-home – the type you find next to golf courses in Florida or on the Sunshine Coast. It all looked terribly sterile, reminiscent of the contrived town Jim Carrey inhabited in The Truman Show. We were not privy as to who cut the lawns, did the plumbing or washed the dishes. Superficially, the lives of these pampered people seemed hollow and totally unfulfilled – where were the galleries, the museums, the theatres or even a casino for those that might like that sort of thing? Frankly, the impoverished life on earth which was shown with enforced work in a fascistic environment seemed far more fulfilling.

    Further, Matt Damon's motives for getting on Elysium were totally selfish. All he wanted was to save his own skin. Granted, there was then concocted an unconvincing love interest and a wish to save his childhood sweetheart's little girl but this too was just parochial. Where was the burning anger borne from social injustice, the wish to better the lot of all humankind, the working class warrior on a mission? And when the film's final denouement came it was head in a sick-bag time.

    The script and dialogue were banal, as was Jodie Foster's delivery. Matt Damon worked harder to bring some interest to his character but he was up against it – but at least he tried.

    The CGI was good – but that's pretty much a given in any well-funded Hollywood film these days. Close up camera work was appalling, non-stop wobble vision which made action sequences confusing. This camera style is so unnecessary and it really is beyond comprehension as to why film-makers persist in its use; in small doses it can be effective but when near constant it produces a feeling of nausea.

    It is so disappointing to be relentlessly negative about a film but when they are as lacking as this one, the positives can be hard to find.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This movie was such a colossal failure on so many levels. I don't usually write reviews for movies, but this monstrosity was so atrocious that I felt compelled to warn unsuspecting potential viewers of the steaming pile of sewage that is referred to as "Elysium".

    Where to start…

    First off, the plot was a laughingstock. Even if you can ignore the choppy camera-work that looks like the doings of a toddler with a buffed up camera, there's no ignoring the plot. Some examples of the numerous holes in the plot… 1) Apparently, if a grenade gets blown up inches from your head, your brain is still intact and it can be repaired at Elysium. 2) If Carlyle could make the code to make Jodie Foster president, then why didn't he just make himself president or give himself all the power, by implementing the code himself or subtly adding a nuance in there? Not the sharpest tool in the shed. 3) Where are all the satellites to help track down Matt Damon while he is fleeing the villains? It seems some of the technology 100+ years in the future has actually regressed. 4) If the medical terminals can literally give a person a new head, through repairing a "brain", why can't they disable the sociopathic tendencies of characters like Jodie Foster on Elysium? Once again, only certain technology has evolved for the director's benefit. 5) In order to let one spaceship enter Elysium, you must allow all spaceships to enter too by taking down the no-fly zone. That makes total sense. 6) Last but certainly not least: the ending. Apparently everyone is going to live happily ever after on Elysium now? Every rich person on Elysium just wanted all those poor people on earth to suffer! But now the world is sugar plums and everyone lives happily! Yay!

    Secondly, there was never any point in the film in which I felt connected to the characters in any matter. Why was this? Well, none of them had any depth. The dialogue was one cliché after another. The primary villain in the story appears to have some sort of speech impediment, because for most of the movie he is inaudible. A well-told story will also have a villain that has deeper complexities as to his/her background and motives. This character was just a bumbling moron. Matt Damon and Jodie Foster did the best that they could, but their scripts were so poor that it would have been more interesting had they been reading off the menu at a local Olive Garden. The exchange regarding the hippo between Damon and the little girl that is dying of seizures had me cringing in my seat at the awkwardness of the whole matter. I should have walked out then and there.

    Also, why was the best look we ever got of Elysium one where we saw a few trees and a woman swimming in a pool? Would looking at the inner workings of the politics and lifestyle on Elysium simply have exposed this film for the fraud that it is? I'm not going to go too deeply into the themes of the movie, as everyone has their own opinions, but it doesn't take much to realize the hidden (and rather misguided, imo) opinion of the director in this one. The message was about as subtle as receiving a ton of bricks to the head. View at your own risk for your blood pressure will likely rise after watching this one, as it objectively is a pathetic disgrace of a film.
  • Matt Damon stars in the Sci-fi/political thriller Elysium, Neill Blomkamp's follow up to District 9, along with Jodie Foster as Elysium's Secretary Delacourt and Sharlto Copley as the main villain Kruger. Is Elysium on par with Oscar nominated District 9? Absolutely NOT! Not even close but it is still a solid sci/fi entertainment. It is a more conventional film than its predecessor, which I was not expecting from Blomkamp.

    The film starts of very cliché and gave me some eye roll moments but it quickly picks itself up from reaching into mediocrity. They way it does this is by evoking political messages through out the film in relevance with today's society. Questioning our handling with immigration, military power, our health care. Which I found to be important in this film. Obviously me and Blomkamp share each others political stance. For anyone else it might seem like its trying to oversell its message.

    I felt most of the cast were very under used. Jodie Foster's character really didn't have much to work with. She was just there to move the plot forward. Matt Damon served his purpose as the lead but by no means of the imagination is this one of his best performances. They were all over shadowed by Sharlto Copley. My God, is he great as Kruger! Right away we are introduced into this provocative-sociopath with no regard for human life. The story really needed this kind of menacing character. He is by far the film's best positive. Another negative aspect of this film would be its pacing. When we are given emotional scenes they don't stay long enough to settle and doesn't give that emotional impact you were hoping for.

    Like District 9 it delivers on the the beautiful imagery. Using the very best Weta Workshop has to offer. From its big guns to the human-like robots, to the space station of Elysium. The action set pieces were just as exciting as its predecessor. The film really manages to capture all its budget on screen. My biggest issue comes from the excessive use of shaky cam. It was used when the characters were simply walking to the action sequences. I felt ninety percent of this film was shaky cam. Which got me a little dizzy since I ,unfortunately, got to sit in the very front of the theater. That might have something to do with it as well.

    Neill Blomkamp has established once again that he can compete with the best Directors of the genre films. Elysium shows more flaws than his first film but they are overwhelmed by its positive aspects, to me at least. It was not a disappointment and it was a solid popcorn entertainment and a smarter than average sci/fi film.
  • I tend to be curious every time a talented filmmaker gets to direct a film set in a pessimistic future/post-apocalyptic era : visually, it's the perfect setting for desolated landscapes and amazing images of urban chaos ; story-wise, it's the perfect occasion to insert social commentary and establish more or less subtle metaphors about our current way of life, our current values, and extend in a fictitious way many assumptions that we have regarding the fate of mankind and our very own planet.

    In my opinion, it has to be one of science-fiction's most important sub-genres, since it leaves so much room to contemporary concerns (the environment, pollution, wars, immigration, etc.). Films like "Children of Men", "Looper", and "The Road" have greatly contributed to this sub-genre which, in reality, is not really new, but is constantly being redefined and given different treatments : "Children of Men" was an ode to life, "Looper" felt a lot like a modern-day western, "The Road" was a classic tale of a father-and-son relationship, and now, "Elysium", a thriller/action film/social commentary about disparity between the rich and the poor. Neill Blomkamp burst out of the scene in 2009 with "District 9", a very similar project in several regards, and blew audiences away with a clever mix of documentary-style filmmaking, explosive action, and the refreshing implement of an obvious social commentary.

    "Elysium" starts off brilliantly, showcasing two opposite environments: the old Earth, which has turned into a huge ghetto where people live like cattle, and Elysium, a high-end space station where all the wealthy people from Earth have moved to establish their home. We are then introduced to our protagonist, Max Da Costa (Matt Damon), whose quest is quickly defined after being exposed to deadly radiation : With five days left to live, Max will ally up with a group of illegal immigrants to get to Elysium so he can get the proper medical attention he needs. But Secretary Rhodes (Jodie Foster), an evil government executive in charge of defending Elysium, will stand in his way, by hiring Kruger (Sharlto Copley), a psychopathic mercenary in charge of neutralizing all illegal immigrants.

    The first third of "Elysium" is both fascinating and stressful : You are being introduced to the over-populated Earth, its hospitals, its industrial plants, its streets. These images are very reminiscent of the Johannesburg ghettos depicted in "District 9". And then, you get to see glimpses of the wonderful Elysium, a visual tour-de-force that ends up being shamefully underused in the film. The first moments Max is shown after being exposed to radiation, the film jumps into a nerve-racking tone, and it is very effective, as it is blended with several dramatic elements that range from innovative to pretty common.

    Unfortunately, the pace slows down in the second third, where Max's story gets sidelined a bit, to the profit of a few sub-plots that involve an unpredictable, yet not so major twist in terms of impact on the story, as well as a sub-story involving the daughter of an old friend of Max. And while the twist is a welcome addition, the sub-story comes a little out of nowhere and comes off as a bit of a cliché. It seemed like Blomkamp was trying to preserve this family theme that was dear to him in "District 9", and that served the story so well in his previous film. Its unusual aspect prevented it from being too clichéd (an alien dad and his alien son), which is unfortunately not the case in "Elysium". It does not ruin the film, but it does steal its share of precious screen time in a film that feels a tad too short, and leads it towards more conventional developments.

    Then the pace picks up again, with a third act that consists mostly of a bunch of pretty awesome action/fighting sequences, where the feeling of urgency from the original quest has pretty much left the building. In terms of writing, this is conventional stuff, but the technical expertise behind the visuals and the sound is a thing of beauty. Also, the dramatic elements displayed in the first third are briefly brought back to seal the deal, and do provide a satisfying feeling of closure to the story.

    Overall, this is quality entertainment with impressive visuals, and a world of ideas that had infinite potential. And while "Elysium" exploited only a fraction of its potential, what it did exploit it did it successfully. Directing, photography, music, and performances are all superb. With a decent yet a bit unoriginal social commentary in the background that does get shelved in the second half to the profit of rock-solid action sequences, the strengths of "Elysium", taken individually, do feel a bit scattered, but make for an overall very competent package.
  • You can't go wrong with Matt Damon the man picks great movies to be apart of. And this one has a great message to it also.
  • cousbrojs14 August 2013
    Before watching Elysium, I read every review about it. And it seems to me that there are a lot of people that hated it. Most have said that the message in the film is what kept it 'likable'. Well, after I watched it, I thought to myself, "Why?". Trust me, don't believe any negative reviews about this film. Yes, it's flawed, but the film itself is really good.

    Matt Damon was great in this film and he was a very likable hero. But Sharlto Copley, oh boy, he was one heck of a villain. He was so good, every scene he was in was disturbing, in a very, very creepy way. He owned almost every scene he was in and was the stronghold of this film. Jodie Foster as the other antagonist, err, she did her part I guess. Every one did a good job and they really enabled the film to lighten up in most areas.

    So, this film was really good, and I was extremely pleased by it. The film did a nice job for making the audience feel attached to the characters, and I applaud to that. The action sequences were nice, and it didn't over power the film, something Elysium got right and what others sort of didn't. (Man Of Steel's epic final battle, was just TOO LONG!) Also on the scenes where it tones down and becomes emotional, was very well done, and it gives this movie heart. It's fast, epic, emotional and incredible.

    Now, although the film is great, I only have one small gripe about Elysium. Now, the film is around about 109 minutes. I know, that when a film feels really good and it begins to near it's end, you don't want it to do that just yet. That's how I felt when I saw District 9, and I felt the same with Elysium. The film didn't feel rushed which was nice, but an extra half an hour would've been great.

    Is it a Sci-Fi movie? Yes! Is it an action movie? It gets to it. Is it an epic Sci-Fi action movie? Yes. It is epic! It's definitely a must watch this year. I'm being generous to this film, because of the film's message consisting of poverty, wealth and equality. Watch this film with an open mind, and you will not be disappointed.

  • Warning: Spoilers
    So bad. They don't make you care about ANY of the characters and the storytelling is awful. You barely get to see Elysium, it's just like 3 guys in sweaters in a country club drinking champagne for like 5 seconds, and there's a little bit of grass and a few trees. Like really? That didn't even look that cool. **Spoiler I guess** Matt Damon is dying the whole movie from some exposure to radiation, and that is the only reason he is trying to go to Elysium. They should have at least made that little girl his secret daughter or something, so that you could actually care about him saving her. Her mongoose and hippo story was painful to watch, even thought it was the only time Matt Damon and the little girl actually interacted. Kruger (the main villain) was okay I guess. He had a cool accent and beard, but he wasn't that tough or threatening though.

    It was just some Mexican people on post-apocalyptic Los Angeles, with no health care and dirty clothes, and Matt Damon dying for a few days. Then he gets some tech-suit that makes him a tiny bit stronger and he punches like one guy and then nothing happens. They should show people on Elysium freaking out and worrying about people from Earth coming. The people on Elysium did nothing except swim in a pool and sit on a chair.

    The only cool thing on Elysium was that bed that healed people. I mean couldn't they have a little more cool futuristic stuff? Touchscreens? Cool shirts or sunglasses? More sci-fi stuff. I mean it is the year 2154, I would think technology would be a lot more advanced. Jodie Foster's control room had like CRT monitors it was so bad. The robot animations and models were well done though.

    The story and characters weren't developed at all, and there was barely any action. I haven't seen District 9, but there's no way it can be as bad as this. I really wanted to like it, because the trailer and concept looked awesome. I usually like Matt Damon, Jodie Foster and Diego Luna and their acting was fine, but this movie could have been so much better if they fixed the story. I felt like Matt Damon didn't really give a crap about helping all the people on Earth, and he never even made out with the hot chick...

    I love the concept surrounding the themes about health care, wealth inequality, social status and immigration, but nothing really tied it all together or developed these themes and this is what was missing. That's what this movie should be about, not some guy who is dying and doesn't want to die. It should have been about resistance, and inspire you to want to make a difference in the way we currently live.
  • poj-man16 August 2013
    WOW! This movie is just awful. They call it Science Fiction but there is no science in it...only really bad fiction.

    Have you ever noticed in these kind of futuristic society stories they never really explain how society got to the current state it is in at the start of the movie? There is a reason why. There is no possible way that such a stupid societal construct could ever come to be! So a Paul Krugman economic theory...the answer is that the construct exists because the premise starts out saying "Let's assume that all logic and common sense goes out the door."(!)

    Evidently in the future only future Los Angeles and Elysium exist. Supposedly the world is ravaged by population and disease but there are no Asians or EEU or South American or African members...or even Washington, DC, involved with Elysium! EVERY POLITICALLY SYSTEM GLOBALL JUST SOMEHOW UP AND VANISHED! DOH! So...Elysium is built and lived on evidently by only Hollywood types who rule the planet! The internet as we know it has also completely vanished. So has e-mail and cell phone technology...but you can still get a good deal on GMC vehicles that look like leftover Road Warrior vehicles!

    Matt Damon (say it Team America-like) works in a factory where he...I guess...builds robots (?). That's a little unclear. But...he is stupidly badgered into some sort of elevator style "heat-treatment" booth by his superior. Since their is no OSHA anymore his character gets trapped in the room where they...get this!...dose the robots WITH HUMAN KILLING RADIATION! Now...there's like no big signs up anywhere in this factory that say WARNING: RADIATION AT WORK! It is never explained why robots need radiation treatment but that is what they do. AND...get this!...when the treatment is done the radiation "magically" disappears! People just walk in and out of the room! Like...WTF!??!!!??? How does radiation magically dissipate or get moved out of a room? IT DOESN'T! Unless all science goes out the window!

    Poor Matt. Now he has 4 days to live because of Radiation poisoning and he is very ill and can barely walk or stay awake or keep from puking...for about 5 minutes! The rest of the movie he is hooked up to a biometric-ally controlled exoskeleton and Matt never shows any effects of radiation poisoning and he fights his way all over LA and Elysium! a complete Johnny Mnemonic rip off (they should sue)...Matt Damon has the magic data in his skull and people want his head. How this all comes about is so incredibly ridiculously stupid and unbelievable I wanted to throw things at the screen.

    Matt then shows up with a grenade with the pin pulled out and his hand holding the grenade from exploding and he demands a ride to Elysium or he will blow his head off. So...not strapped in...and with no refueling of any sort at all...the ship just flies off on a 12 minute flight to Elysium! So...they are breaking through Earth's atmosphere with the super rocket powered ship...he is not strapped in and is holding a grenade...AND THERE IS NO BLEEPING G FORCE CAUSING ANY ISSUES!

    The final "evil guy\good guy" fight is just awful. The "evil guy" basically runs around saying "I could kill you but I will continue to spout stupid statements to drag this out until you...and this will be SUCH A SURPRISE...manage to overcome and defeat me because I kept just spouting off at the mouth rather than just killing you!"

    This is after Matt goes to the armory and rescues the girly and Leukemia ridden daughter(tug my bleeding heartstrings). Now...dig this...3 bad guys are taking over Elysium...there is a big armory with plenty of weapons...AND NO ONE IS COMING TO GRAB THE WEAPONS AND TO STOP THE 3 MAN COUP OF ELYSIUM! DOH!!

    To call this a craptacular is an insult to crap. This is just big money lazy story writing pushing a phony agenda. And it is just awful
  • Elysium

    Elysium is at one point disappointing and at the other it is fine. It's a Dystopia which does not look like it could be too far away from the present. The longer you think about it, Elyisum already happens everywhere, and Neill Blomkamp is a South African native, so it becomes clear, that the message is about poverty and money in the future. The difficulty making such a future logic and scientifically well, is obvious, and it is not completely convincing. There lies the main problem of a sci-fi movie. You make either a starwarsy fairy tale or you have to make it very, very believable like the director's much acclaimed "District 9".

    Plotwise it reminded me of "Wall-E" (which was better), "Oblivion", "Escape from NY" and some anime type plots . The story was very predictable from the beginning and for my taste, it could have been made completely PG 18 in terms of violence, to make it darker and more grim. Now, it looks a bit indecisive. The actors were fine, especially the less known, like Copley, Luna and Moura. Jodie Foster is great here, reminded me a bit of Tilda Swintons performance in "Michael Clayton". Matt Damon is a good actor, but he's a bit overused lately. In comparison to "Pacific Rim" it's clear, why the audience is more happy with Del Toros skyscraper-style movie: it's pure entertainment, reality is far away and the violence is very mild - you hate it or you love it.

    To sum it up, I was well entertained by this. I liked the strong hints of real present problems. I disliked the predictable way the story unfolds, the overall mixture of action and violence and some illogic details. I definitely want to see more movies by Blomkamp and so it gets my 7.0.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I thoroughly enjoyed Neill Blomkamp's previous film, "District Nine". That film succeeded because of its well-written, interesting characters, uniquely lived-in futuristic setting, and, most importantly, its emotional core. Unfortunately, Blomkamp's newest project has fallen far short of my expectations. "Elysium" is utterly dull. In spite of an aesthetic that almost exactly mirrors that of "District Nine", "Elysium" lacks the characters or attention to plot details that would have made the movie work. Instead, it falls flat in almost every way.

    Most notable in failure is Jody Foster, whose character is insufficiently developed to explain away her perpetual foul mood and all-encompassing anger - this is as two-dimensional a character as any I've seen. However, almost no facet of the movie IS well-developed: there are several 'emotional' moments in the movie that lack impact simply because the audience is given no time to get to know the characters involved before these important events occur. There's simply no reason for an audience member to care about a character who's only had ten or fifteen lines of generic dialogue in well less than five minutes of screen time.

    I was irritated that Blomkamp was unable to recapture the emotional connection that made "District Nine" special to me. While there was clearly a moral message to this movie, it was ham-fisted in execution and ultimately meaningless. A montage at the very end of the movie's lengthy action finale emphasizes the weight of the choice that our hero made, but what's the point of making that choice if the audience must be inundated with recycled footage and clichés to make the connections that are vital to making the moment emotionally meaningful? Blomkamp doesn't seem to have trusted his audience to make these connections, and that's the final insult. "Elysium" is not a smart movie, and it doesn't expect its audience to be any smarter. As I walked out of the theater, I could remember only one or two names from the whole feature - that alone speaks volumes for how forgettable a film this really is. "Elysium" tries to hide its lack of heart by battering the audience into thinking it should care... But, as in all of the other important areas, it falls far short of its goal.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    As an avid Sci-Fi fan, I was eager to see the last big SF movie of the summer. The trailer seemed exciting and both director/screenwriter Neill Blomkamp and the main star Mat Damon are big names, so I had some expectations (not very high, mind you). Unfortunately, it turned out to be a big disappointment. So, let start with the post mortem.

    The good. This will be a short section. Good special effects, both the CGI and the stunts were spectacular. Elysium was great. The cinematography was fine. There were some cool ideas like the exoskeleton (not that original but it was well done nonetheless).

    The bad. Everything else. The plot was a mess, the characters were unlikable and/or underdeveloped, the character motivation was absolutely ridiculous and the character development (when there was any) was rushed and artificial.

    The main character Max is not a likable person. All the sympathy I had towards him quickly vanished when he tried to be a smart ass around the robot cops in the beginning of the movie. How stupid you have to be do such a thing when you have a long rap sheet and are still on parole? We are supposed to believe that there was a big love story between Max and his childhood sweetheart and yet they haven't seen each other for decades. He didn't even know she had a kid. The extensive flashbacks to the 10-year old Max were nothing more than a diversion from the extremely underdeveloped characters.

    The boss of the smugglers to Elysium is only interested in money, which is fine and realistic but at the middle of the movie he has a sudden and inexplicable change of hart and everything he wants is to help his fellow citizens. Never mind that he practically killed a lot of them, taking all of their money for 1% chance to be healed and 99% chance to be killed.

    All villains are cardboard cutouts without any soul. Maybe this is a consequence of the heavy-handed political propaganda but nonetheless you will rarely find more ridiculous and unbelievable villains. Kruger had hilarious accent and the Jodi Foster was very weak as the "tough" but extremely transparent and stupid anti-immigration official of Elysium.

    Now the smaller but still annoying things: 1. You have 3 ships that are just few hundred kilometers from Elysium but to take them down, you have to call a man on Earth, who launches 4 Stinger rockets in space and they fly with something like a 1000 miles per second to strike the ships about 10 to 15 seconds later. Absolutely deranged. Why not launch missiles from the space station itself? Wait, I know why! To introduce us to Kruger. Weak, weak writing, Mr. Blomkamp.

    2. The atmosphere of Elysium just stands there even though there is nothing above to hold it in place. Well, the Moon and Mars are not big enough to hold significant atmosphere with their gravitational field, but a space station less than 500 kilometers across is? Would it kill them to have a force field or something to keep the air in place? Again extremely stupid.

    3. You can be revived 15 minutes after you face is blown by a grenade because "your brain is still intact". Still, when you are shot in the heart or bleed to dead with severed artery, you are beyond saving. Wait, what? 4. A man with crappy exoskeleton is tougher than a military robot.

    5. There are robots everywhere and they seem really capable but the corporations still need low-skilled workers to work on assembly lines doing mundane, simple task that even now are done by robots.

    I can continue but it's really painful. I hope that most of these shortcomings are caused by the need to shove down our throats the simplistic political views of the director because the alternative is to think that District 9 was just plain luck.

    Compare this BS with the Slumdog millionaire and you will see a movie that effectively carries a social commentary with much better plot, characters and message.

    5 out of 10 stars and I'm extremely generous.
  • 'Elysium' starring Matt Damon is the perfect summer popcorn movie. It has everything you would want in a movie; a great cast that serves their purpose and visceral special effects that might even land the team an Oscar. Everything including all the fight scenes were executed flawlessly. Coming out of this movie I had close to no complaints. The writing was a bit dodgy in some areas, but the great acting and effects quickly draw you back into the story. Neil Blomkamp, who dazzled audiences with district nine 4 years prior, does a fantastic job once again with this flick. His vision made the story very real to movie goers everywhere. Overall 'Elysium' is worth every penny to watch in theater.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Just what exactly do you expect when you go to see a good Sci-fi movie? Great visuals? Computer effects? Sure, they add a lot to a movie, but they are not part of its' "soul". However, all that big studios do these days is target the 90% of the population and sell crappy plot wrapped in special effects and good reliable clichés (like the "hero fighting the main villain at the end of the movie" scene). But hey, why not? That's what makes money. Because 90% of the population - those people who actually think this was a good movie, those who are responsible for the tabloid press being the most popular media - those will LOVE this movie. It's about them. About poor uneducated people who overpopulated the Earth and practically destroyed it. They are willing to overlook the laughable plot holes like the one where Foster talks to the Carlyle character. She asks him if he can reboot the system of Elysium and make her a president. And the answer? Of course I can! - Really? Really?! Just like that? Well why didn't you do it earlier than and make yourself a president instead of begging her for new contracts? I agree with other reviews that talk about the weak plot, shallow characters and poor acting. However, there is one more thing to point out: What is the message of this movie? That we are all equal? Cuz the way I see it, our hero makes everyone on the Earth a legal citizen of Elysium, so that everyone can be cured and they can all thrive under the sun, without any diseases and health problems, and continue to overpopulate the Earth as before, making it even more miserable a place to live. Lets make more cute children and don't think about the consequences. Natural selection people!!!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Like the extremely overrated District 9, Elysium's lone strength is its convincing special effects and its weaknesses are in every other area. Although there is nothing as terribly stupid as the District 9 "alien blood that can bond with human DNA ... and also power spaceships," Elysium is heavy handed allegory, amped up drama and dramatically ridiculous.

    Some of the ships and robots are great to look at---seeing Syd Mead's name in the credits was not a big surprise.

    Since the days of Hitchcock people seemed to have forgotten that the first and most important job of a director is not to come up with 'cool visuals,' but direct actors. Ergo, the title, 'director.'

    So congrats to Blomkamp for showing me the first truly terrible Jodie Foster performance. It's like he showed her a 1960s spider-man cartoon and said, 'like this but bigger.' And a lot of her work was dubbed for some reason, likely accent inconsistency (even though it's still inconsistent in the end product). And i am a HUGE William Fichtner fan, but this movie also showcases his career nadir. Sometimes he seems to be imitating Data from Star Trek, other times, sort of German. And Copley as the villain...well if there is a less menacing accent than this, i haven't heard it. And he is of course, way, way over the top as he was in District 9 (though he was decent in Europa Report). Damon is the only performer whose work is credible, probably because he's a big enough star to just say no if Blomkamp wants to turn him into a screaming cartoon.

    In terms of story, don't expect any science or anything other than good versus evil. Sadly, with rare exception, Hollywood science fiction movies are really just noisy action movies these days, and as a huge science fiction fan I know i'll rarely see any interesting scientific elements in these (though the movies of Duncan Jones and Kosinski do have some smart ideas and are the exceptions). So no, Elysium isn't sci-fi, but just heavy handed action movie allegory, more or less the same class warfare of District 9, so he's already retreading this theme. Then there is the would-be action centerpiece exo-skeletal suit, an idea that doesn't work at all, and isn't well sold visually. Really, as designed, this thing wouldn't work without tearing off fingers and smashing the limbs of its user, which is why most exo-skeletal designs are also armor that could shield a water-based lifeform. In any case, the actions scenes are so shaky and over cut, it's hard to see what's happening regardless. But I never had even a moment of thinking the thing actually functioned or would function.

    Blomkamp clearly has a political viewpoint---one that I have no issue with at all, except that it makes his writing too pedantic and monochromatic. A strong viewpoint does not make one a good writer. Writing rich people are bad and poor people are good is not dramatically compelling to watch, even if you actually believe things are that simple. Look at the success George RR Martin is having with complex characters...Blomkamp's writing seems like that of a child by comparison. That Elysium is self-important and humorless, doesn't help.

    And if Blomkamp (who clearly should not write his own movies) really understood science fiction the way actual science fiction writers do---guys like Greg Egan, JMS, Ted Chiang, Arthur C. Clarke, Greg Bear, M. John Harrison, Stephen Baxter, Larry Niven, etc.--- he would not have a future world technology where humans can be rebuilt at an atomic level in the same world as one in which robots fire guns and miss their targets. (!!!) Robots hitting their targets when they fire is near future and to some extent, current; rebuilding bodies at an atomic level (in less than a minute) is very, very, very far future, if ever.

    But like most Hollywood junk---and the similarly stupid, crazily overrated breakthrough success District 9--- Blomkamp is doing something that looks like science fiction, but isn't.
  • Of all the genre's out there, science fiction seems to be the one rarely getting it right these days. When Neill Blomkamp burst onto the screen with his gritty racial commentary film District 9 it changed the genre for the better. Now he is back with his latest look at the future with Elysium and is bringing Matt Damon along for the ride. The trailers looked to deliver a similar vision of his previous film, but does it pack the same punch both in the story as well as visually?

    Elysium follows a man desperate to get to Elysium, a space station where the very wealthy live in a pristine world, while the rest of the human race remain on an overpopulated ruined Earth. With nothing left to lose, he takes on a mission against Elysium's secretary Delacourt and the entire system to save himself as well as the millions of others on Earth. Once again Blomkamp has created a film that not only entertains but has numerous levels of social commentary without ever getting overly preachy. This time out there seems to be the health care system, over population, and pollution that all make up this world these characters inhabit. Matt Damon continues to deliver with him really stepping it up even more than usual here. What is great about his character is that he feels more like a normal guy with flaws and a reluctant hero forced into this situation as opposed to wanting to be there. You feel his desperation and in turn can imagine the rest of the planet and what they are going through. District 9 star Sharlto Copley plays a completely different type of character and is a complete badass. He steals every scene he is in and is near unrecognizable in this role. Every time he steps on screen you know something great is going to happen. The always great William Fichtner has a brief but not surprisingly good presence here. Jodi Foster is the only that just doesn't seem to work all that well. Her performance felt forced at times and she seemed to float in and out of the strange accent she is trying to use. The visuals are gritty, dirty, and beautiful all at once and are the main catalyst to make this film come to life. There is plenty of action here and at first seems to be playing it a bit safe, but quickly proves otherwise as the film moves forward.

    This is one of the best science fiction films to come along in some time and has everything you could possibly want. Most will just watch this movie and see the action spectacle and cool visuals, but this film is so much more. Pay attention to the story and what it is trying to tell you and this film will have a greater effect on you. Some of the characters could have been fleshed out a bit more, but overall still gets the message across all while delivering a bad ass action science fiction film that should not be missed.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The story is full of plot holes and the characters are full of 1-dimensional simpletons.

    Elysium, can heal anyone at any time at no cost, in minutes! Except that it won't because the people of Elysium are cruel, evil, and utterly malicious. Literally Hitler.

    The bad guys continue to be bad guys, for no apparent reason or motivation. Just because it's fun!! List of plot holes:

    1. They can restrict air traffic, but re-open it as they are transporting a high-value target?

    2. They need to use radiation on robots? Why?

    3. The floor manager is cruel enough to force you to do dangerous life-threatening actions because he can?

    4. The smugness and evil of the Elysium-citizens... "Don't breathe in my direction!" Seriously? Who wrote this, a 12 year old writing a comic book?

    5. They can make people explode with auto-tracking homing ninja grenades--yet they can't do that for Matt Damon?

    6. You can literally change the president by patching a computer?

    7. A CEO understands and writes machine code to control the whole of Elysium?

    8. A CEO is hired by Jodie Foster to replace the President of Elysium with herself--but the CEO doesn't do it for himself?? He carries the code on his person???

    9. In the future, we need system reboots for the whole space station? WHAT?

    10. You can only download if you kill the person who has the files? Why not just destroy the files in unauthorized access?

    11. Earth is poor and overpopulated, and they just declare everyone citizens and hand out free medical care at no cost or problem???

    12. Earthlings are poor and non-citizens but they can afford to build giant spacecrafts to illegally land on a space station, are you kidding me???

    13. 3 special forces guys and one poor Earthling named Matt Damon can literally overthrow the whole of the Elysium government?

    14. They can shoot electricity at people like a Taser, but they can't disable spacecraft with targeted Electromagnetic pulses?

    15. The Elysium government doesn't want to kill illegal immigrants openly--but they are fine with letting them all die instead of giving out free medical treatment?

    Literally this script is written by people who don't know how to restart their computer.
  • Can't tell you how great it is to see someone capable of filling Ridley Scott's and James Cameron's shoes! Blomkamp has made the best movie yet this year. I was intrigued by District 9. It made me think, but this self-assured and skillfully crafted effort is taking his game to a much higher level.

    It's been a long time since I was in awe of both the script and the direction. To see they both came from one guy, Neill Blomkamp, is wonderful if a little unnerving. Do we really have to rely on foreigners for biting social commentary?

    This film is much more clever than most reviewers are letting on. One reviewer said it's a bit melodramatic, but, frankly, I don't see a subtle treatment getting to first base with most Americans. This puts a lot of troubling issues in sharp relief in an artful, very watchable format whereas most of the arguments about immigration, healthcare and the rich versus the poor are in dense, boring prose.

    I was warned that Jodie Foster's performance was marred by odd accents, but I barely noticed. I thought she depicted a kind of sharp edged conservative that should be readily recognizable. Sharlto Copley is great as a vicious soldier and Matt Damon is the likable center of the film, as called for. The supporting actors including Braga, Luna and Fichtner, to name a few, all add much to the whole enterprise.

    This is definitely a go see and I wouldn't hesitate recommending it to anyone, including pre-teens and up.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Worst film i have seen in many many years. The producer wants me to like the "good guys" but they are tattooed criminal thugs and murderers ruining their own life on earth.

    It seems highly leftist ideological crappy movie where all darker skin people are left to their destiny on earth, while white people (and one Indian woman) moved to this gigantic space station called Elysium. And now the its so sorry for the dark skin people that they needs to invade the evil "white" space station to get cured from various diseases.

    After the invasion is complete suddenly everyone is happy, and we can all rejoice.

    Well this movie is the worst movie i have seen in at least 20 years. Its really remarkable that people actually like this garbage movie.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    They did a fantastic job on effects, particularly the rebuilding of a face, and bodies breaking apart. The characters and storyline were collateral damage. OK, Matt Damon and Jodie Foster cannot be brought back to life?? The villain was brought back to life after being dead two hours and half his head cut off! Stupid. I wanted to see more of Elysium. Isn't that why you go to the movies? To escape and be wowed and be privy to a fantasy world?? There was NONE of that. You literally see as much of Elysium as is shown in the trailer. About three quick scenes. No characters are developed on Elysium. There could have been so much fun to show life and technology and decadence, but the characters don't even do their fight scenes in the fancy houses, they fight in a factory setting! Guess it saved a lot of money on sets! The jittery hand-held camera work was bad. No need to edit the scenes since they are blurry and choppy and you can't see what is going on anyway. Matt Damon, a kick ass actor who was given nothing. I could care less if he ends up with his leading woman. No real moments, just clichés and they had absolutely NO chemistry. She lives in a dump with her daughter and no husband, and when hunky Matt Damon asks her out she says NO?? WTF? It sucked and then she tells him her daughter is dying and he walks out the door. (Except for a cheesy scene which was like a Hallmark moment.) BTW all the cute little girls on Earth were dying of a disease that could only be cured on Elysium. The kids were too cutesy and did not have real personalities. Another complaint is that I truly did NOT want the people of earth to get to Elysium. They were unlikeable. Why is it that they were portrayed as filthy and greasy?? I know plenty of people without money who are nice and clean and neat as a pin. They were criminals and just plain gross. They cannot brush their hair? Matt Damon is the only one who works in his neighborhood? It was like the filmmakers were bigots toward impoverished people to portray them that way. Oh yeah, and Matt is exposed to a full dose of radiation at the start of the film, and THEN he saves the world? I'm sorry, make him have liver failure or cancer or an infection. DO NOT give him acute radiation poisoning and expect us to believe he can carry on, have major surgery, recover and save the world. Duh. And BTW, why would all these criminals let him even come near them when he is contaminated? I also think they should have made the earthlings surgery much cleaner. It was stupid to believe Matt could recover from surgery in that filthy chop shop. His apparatus bolted into his body was ridiculous. It was like two tire pumps screwed into him. The chop shop was another reason to dislike the earthlings. Organization does not cost anything. They could be organized and have lights in their surgery. They have a huge war room with technology so why no lights? They had water, and I'm sorry, if you are sitting around all day with no day job, you can learn how to make your own soap! Jodie Foster did what she could. I wanted to see more of her party, her house, her life. Would have been so cool to have Matt Damon sneak up there and have an affair with her or something. Now that would have been a good story. Jodie looks absolutely beautiful. Villain was super annoying. He was like spitting out one-liners constantly and I hated him because he was annoying, not scary. Another thing they did was make all the houses the criminals (earthlings) broke into empty. No one was ever in the Elysium houses. Why? Because you did not want to write dialog? Maybe there would be a nice family who would help. It would have been so much more satisfying. It was just so lacking in any personality, I feel bad because I think they must have had a limited budget or something, so no time spent on the story or scenes of Elysium. It could have been great, so it was a lost opportunity.
  • Warning: Spoilers

    One illogically plotted moment after another, dumb dialog, single dimension characters and needlessly pornographic violence don't usually make for a good movie and, folks, Elysium is no exception. Like many always willing American male age-group-focused audience members with fifteen bucks to burn for a good Hollywood spectacle, I can usually deal with the latter three faults in my summer blockbusters, but perhaps unlike those imaginary people, when a screenwriter doesn't bother to craft a coherent plot, I tend to check out early and start analyzing what's wrong with the script. (Maybe I wasn't focus-grouped enough.)

    And so I'm here on IMDb to share my thoughts.

    Aren't you lucky?

    Shall we?

    Elysium, like many bad films, does not come up with compelling reasons to care about its characters.

    What do I mean? Flash forward to the finale. This is the critical denouement between the protagonist, an ex-con played by Matt Damon and his love-interest, actress Alice Walker, a nurse who also seems to be Matt's ex-childhood friend. Matt has battled his way to the heart of Elysium, a giant Earth-orbiting space habitat whose residents enjoy near-magical healing technology. This, in order to save himself from cancer. Alice's daughter happens to also have cancer in need of Elysium's magic healing. Alice and her daughter are there too. Deep Breath: In this scene Matt has to zap his brain to transfer a special computer code to reset Elysium, so he, the daughter and all other non- residents who don't have a special members-only laser-tag branded on their forearms can have life-saving medical intervention via the futuristic healing machines only located on Elysium (yes, it's that convoluted...). Matt can't save himself, though: he will die as a result of the transfer having some kind of weird built-in brain booby-trap. Silliness of this plot aside, in a well-crafted story, we might buy in, and find satisfaction in Matt's sacrifice for the daughter. But in Elysium, this moment falls flat. It feels like an afterthought because there was not a relationship established earlier.

    Flash back to first and second acts. To establish the bond between these characters we have a brief, somewhat romantic scene with kid Matt saying he'll take kid Alice to Elysian "some day". (This scene is rehashed sporadically throughout the film.) We have a shot of one of Matt's tattoos which recalls a moment from that one romantic scene. And we have Matt meeting Alice again as an adult and discovering that she's finally realized her long held dream of becoming a nurse. Here he mentions, meekly, that it might be great for the two to get back together again. In one other romance set-up scene, Matt is briefly surprised when he meets Alice's daughter while seeking shelter with Alice when he's on the run from evil Elysium agents. And that's it for relationship building.

    What else happened with these two? What about the relationship after they were kids? What separated them? How about now? They don't kiss. They don't get back together. They don't seem to even like each other. Matt is focused solely on saving himself. What about the daughter? doesn't she have cancer, too? It's telling that Blomkamp can't physically connect Matt, Alice and the daughter in the final scene when we're asked to care about their relationship and experience Matt's sacrifice for them. Not much really connects them in the film, either. They say their goodbyes via walkie-talkie.

    Rather than focus on a strong central plot (like, Matt must rescue his love interest's daughter from cancer) along with two, at most three, logically supporting subplots (like, Matt must destroy Elysium, restore love of the ex-girlfriend, save humanity...) the film sets up all its problems as equal: Matt Damon has cancer, he needs to go to Elysium; his ex-sweetheart's daughter has cancer, she needs to go to Elysium; all the people of Earth are sick, they need to go to Elysium. All the baddies must go down. Each conflict competes to be the central theme of the movie, and none win.

    In a better film, Alice and Matt's relationship might be fully explored in the first act. Instead, every moment in Elysium we have seems like one of my nine year old son's "and then Dad, and then Dad, and then Dad" stories. The only thing missing are the Minecraft references.

    To be sure, the central message of the movie is a good one: that we are all equally human and so deserve the same opportunity to have a good life, and good heath, wherever we may happen to live. It's particularly well-suited to our contemporary social landscape. But before I can care about this message, I need characters I can care about and a story that makes sense too.

    To like this movie, you must believe that on Elysium there's technology that can cure any disease instantly, but that for some reason it can't be duplicated on Earth, not even partially, where fantastic technology also exists, just not quite that fantastic.

    Blomkamp is an amazingly talented, visual virtuoso but, unfortunately, a garage band screenwriter. Please, Hollywood, hire this genius a good screenwriter.
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