Film review: Elysium

This critic contains tons of spoilers, you’ve been warned.

Title – Elysium

Director – Neill Blomkamp (also screenwriter)

Cast – Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, William Fichtner, Alice Braga, Sharlto Copley, Diego Luna, Wagner Moura, Talisa Soto, Ona Grauer, Terry Chen, Adrian Holmes

Genre – Sci-fi, action, social drama

Why I watched – Sci-fi + Matt Damon + Distric 9’s director, nothing else to add, right?

Plot – 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.

“Elysium”, despite not being a revealing concept is basically a sci-fi film adaptation of many Mexicans’ struggle to jump the border and enter the USA, the same way District 9 was based on apartheid. Unfortunately and unlike District 9, which had its interesting turns, plot twists and unexpectance, Elysium is not subtle at all and delivers a cliche plot and cliche characters who make cliche actions.

First of all you have Max Da Costa (Matt Damon), your typical ex-convict with a good heart and intentions who is secretly in love with his childhood best friend/crush, Frey Santiago (Alice Braga), who just so happens to have a daughter suffering from acute leukemia, Matilda (Emma Tremblay). So far, nothing concept-revealing, right? Well, it gets worse.

“Spider” (Wagner Moura) is the head of a group of men who organize clandestine journeys to Elysium. Of course, they’re all fierce ex-convicts who wouldn’t think it twice before shooting anyone in the head, but hey, let’s not forget they’re good-hearted. To add to the stew, John Carlyle (William Fichtner) is the cruel CEO of Armadyne Corporation, whose comments’ purpose are written for the audience to deeply and instantly hate him.

In spite of all these platitudes, Jodie Foster (Secretary of Defense Jessica Delacourt in the film) thankfully brings in a positive aspect to the film with her fantastic acting. She reallly seems to have tried to bring in some of what we saw in Distric 9 into Elysium, thus making the audience forget for a little while that all they had seen so far had already been done in 45272481 films more.

The special effects were also remarkable, the producers seem to have invested a lot of money in making sure they were brilliant. Which they were, of course.

Let’s go back to the things I personally disliked, shall we? Let’s talk about goofs. Yep, I caught a few of those (which is something I don’t usually do but these were kind of obvious). For starters, in the beginning of the film we see lil’ Max (played by Maxwell Perry Cotton, good choice, IMO) getting in trouble, playing with lil’ Frey (Valentina Giros), talking to a nun, etc.. The narrator explains what has happened to Earth, explaining it is the end of the 21st century (let’s say 2096). Then, the story fast-forwards to an adult-looking Max Da Costa, in 2154. If this were true, Max would be at least 55, which he definitely isn’t.

The last one I caught was the fact that the healing machine must scan laser-etched tattoos in order to identify subjects as citizens of Elysium, right? Because even if you’re up there you need to be an Elysium citizen. Then Spider resets Elysium to make all humans declared citizen. The healing machine is able to identify Matilda despite her not having a tattoo, bit of a plot hole there.

I too have heard some people say Delacourt’s clothes suddenly change at some point as well as point out the fact that the first healing-machine we see (which cures a little girl bearing crutches) diagnoses “multiple compound fractures”, which actually means broken bones cut through the skin, which wasn’t in the film. However, no need to kill anyone over those goofs.

So, in conclusion, Elysium is a remix of District 9 except for a wider audience who have no idea everything in it has already been made about a hundred times. Too much melodrama regarding Frey’s daughter and too much fake heroism. Blomkamp, you did a brilliant job with District 9, are you going to start going downhill now? 😦

Rating just average (5/10 or even less), would not recommend. How about you let me know your opinion? *puppy eyes*


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