Is ‘Elysium’ Idyllic Or Idiotic? Jay Catterson Reviews

Jay Catterson
Authored by
Jay Catterson

August 13, 2013
5:38 p.m.
South African director/writer Neill Blomkamp is back, following up his critically acclaimed 2009 film District 9 with his latest sci-fi ditty, Elysium. The year is 2154, and the world has become overpopulated and polluted. Instead of living around poverty, the world’s elite said “screw you!” to the masses, took their billions, and built a space station utopia called Elysium, just outside of Earth’s atmosphere.

The billionaires on Elysium enjoy the high life, including access to advanced Med-Pod technology that has eliminated disease, whereas the rest of the world suffers from poor living conditions and lack of adequate healthcare. That is until Max Da Costa (Matt Damon) takes part in an elaborate heist that not only promises to heal him from a lethal dose of radiation, but could potentially guarantee equality to millions on Earth. Does this sci-fi romp fly, or does it fizzle? Read on!

The Good: The special effects are dazzling, and the cinematography is effective. Elysium looks gorgeous, like some 5-star resort, which sharply contrasts the gritty, urban rubble of 2154 Los Angeles. This flick also boasts a notable cast, with Damon joined by Jodie Foster as corrupt Elysium government minister Delacourt. Latin hottie Diego Luna lights up the screen as Max’s bestie, Julio, and District 9’s Sharlto Copley is menacing as South African rogue agent Kruger.

The Gay: Damon. Whoa, he’s looking all Mark Wahlberg these days with all those muscles and tattoos! And Luna is as cute and latinolicious as ever. William Fichtner (The Dark Knight) has some hilarious moments as the prissy Armadyne Corp CEO John Carlisle. And Foster looks stunningly dikeadelic in those tailored suits. Fierce!

The Bad: Okay, where to start. Hmm, how about that screenplay, Blomkamp? Whereas District 9 was a grand slam, Elysium strikes out before even getting to first base. The plot is paper thin, with many holes and a narrative that just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The struggle between rich and poor isn’t explored enough, and the overall message of the movie gets lost in the ridiculousness of it all. Baddie agent Kruger’s motivation was unclear; seriously, why was he so mad? Cuz of mental illness? Puhleese. Did the government really screw him over in the past? Why is he so loyal to Delacourt? We wanna know! And overall, we just didn’t care enough about the characters, including Max. A little back story on the state of society could have helped this movie out, instead of silly flashbacks to when Max was a kid, chatting to some orphanage nun about his dreams of going up to Elysium.

The Fugly:  Why do movies about the future always have to paint a negative picture of what’s to come? If those advanced Med-Pod machines can reconstruct faces and cure cancer, why couldn’t they get rid of Jodie’s frown lines or cure Kruger’s mental illness? Why don’t Damon and Foster share any screen time together? What is up with Hollywood and their obsession with samurai swords? What’s the point of having cherry blossoms line a warehouse causeway during an epic battle scene between Max and Kruger? If this is the year 2154, why are they still uploading data with a cable? Don’t they have some sort of advanced Bluetooth or something? And in a world that is dominated by Latinos, why does a white guy have to save the day? Seriously, why am I asking all these questions? Oh yeah, cuz this screenplay is weak.

And what was up with Jodie’s accent? It was so bad, it made Madonna’s Brit accent sound legit. And gone are the days when Jodie could act; her performance in Elysium was merely a bad caricature. Hollywood, haven’t you learned your lesson from 1997’s Contact? Foster should never be allowed to do another sci-fi movie, ever.

Elysium: idyllic or idiotic? All the hope I had in this film fizzled. Instead of being an interesting commentary on class struggles and the present state of the world, Elysium turned out to be some hokey space romp without a clear sense of direction. Hopefully, Blomkamp doesn’t become another M. Night Shyamalan. Heck, if we’re at all heading towards a dystopian future filled with poverty, like Elysium says we are, start saving your dollars for a trip to that utopian space station now by not buying a movie ticket today.The Grade: C


Anonymous User
Ronnie (Guest)
9 years, 1 month ago

That is really upsetting that it wasn’t good! Jodie Fosters last film should be at least average..

Anonymous User
jmcute (Guest)
9 years, 1 month ago