In the year 2154, two classes of people exist: the very wealthy, who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. Secretary Delacourt, a government official, will stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve the luxurious lifestyle of the citizens of Elysium. That doesn’t stop the people of Earth from trying to get in by any means they can. When unlucky Max is backed into a corner, he agrees to take on a daunting mission that, if successful, will not only save his life but could bring equality to these polarized worlds.
Genre : SF
Country : USA
Matt Damon : Max
Jodie Foster : Delacourt
Sharlto Copley : Kruger
Android : What is in the bag?
Max: Hair care products, mostly.
Lately we are getting quite spoiled in the SF area. “Elysium” is a pessimistic view of the future with an overpopulated earth with the known problems. Elysium is an artificial oasis of tranquility where only billionaires can buy a place to live. Each home is equipped with a “cure-bed” so that all the inhabitants can enjoy a healthy and disease-free life. The less fortunate stayed on Earth and try to survive in an unhealthy poor environment under strict supervision of droids.
You can obviously sense the paternalistic social message of the widening gap between rich and poor. It’s illegal to try to reach Elysium. It makes you think of the border between Mexico and the U.S. which at this very moment people still try to cross so they can exchange the poverty with a more blessed future. Furthermore, I see it as a reflection of the healthcare as it is known now in the U.S. Those who can afford it, get the best treatment.
I’ve never seen the movie “District 9” (but now it’s surely on my list), and have no idea whether “Elysium” looks identical. I must admit that the CGI is spectacular. The design of the residential areas on the Earth, the immense factory where droids are assembled, the droids themselves look flashy and sexy, the vehicles used (especially the scene with Carlyle’s transport) are magnificent, Elysium itself is staggeringly brilliantly imaged and the robotic armor that Max gets is stunningly realistic. The visuals are actually almost as stunning as in “Oblivion“. The action clips are sensational filmed and the used weaponry fits perfectly with the rest of the entire movie. The movie has a damn high rate and makes you sit on the edge of your seat.
The content of the movie and the story are so cliched and told in similar movies (but you can always come up with that argument). The overpopulated world reminded me of that one in “Dredd“. And the separation between rich and poor was also shown in “Upside Down“. The characters are a list of stereotypes: an ex-prisoner back on a straight path and who became a decent citizen earning his daily bread by doing a shitty job. Of course he will be the hero of the story. For me it’s also a sort of love story with the obligatory little nurse and a gang of ruthless criminals who’ll chase him until they drop dead.
There were also some things that were absolutely ridiculous. There’s radioactivity in the plant and everyone works without protective clothing? Ok, they were all people who are negligible and can be replaced by others. But where is the radioactivity when the droids are assembled? Spider could have already used that instrument that he put on Max and used one of his henchmen to form a super-killing machine ! Arriving on Elysium is illegal and not so simple since all is terribly guarded, but when everything comes online again, Spider can land there quite easily. Kruger’s head is almost completely blown off by a grenade, but his brains are still functioning so he can be fully restored. Okay, it’s called SF but that was a bit over the top. Especially when afterwards Delacourt dies of an innocent stabbing wound in the neck. Well, must have been a retaliation for her bad acting performance.
Yes lets talk about the acting now. Matt Damon did it again on autopilot and it was a joy to see him again in an action-packed role like “Bourne“. The “worst acting performance ever”-nomination goes to Jodie Foster. I sometimes had the impression that she was a droid. Inspiration-free conversations, a ridiculous accent and she made no impression as the cruel and unfeeling Secretary of Defense. For me, Kruger (Sharlto Copley) was the most colorful person in this movie. Surprisingly he sang a Dutch sounding song at a given time. After a bit of reading on the net, i found out it was South African. In any case, it was a perfect portrayal of a deranged and canny mercenary who is used to do the dirty jobs. The young nurse and her daughter suffering from leukemia unfortunately only were used for the corny part. Luckily they didn’t go to far in using a possible love story between her and Max. To me they were just childhood friends who have grown apart.
Conclusion: A first-rate SF with extremely titillating images with a social message and mixed with a touching theme that calls for a happy ending. The only sad thing is that Max dies … He’s probably spending his time now at the Elysian fields among all the other blessed.