Utopia vs. Dystopia is “Elysium”

Elysium has had a lot of momentum moving behind it following its release from all the way back to director’s Neill Blomkamp’s Oscar nominated alien movie District 9. Recently, a thrilling trailer and some viral marketing put Blomkamp’s sci-fi action on the forefront of every avid movie watchers radar. For me, any original script already has my ears perked up. Despite being a genre I don’t put too much faith in, Elysium left me with a cinematic experience worth remembering.  Elysium

The year is 2154. The brown earth is ruined with pollution, overpopulation and disease; situations that is on every cynic’s mind of the coming years. On ground the dire environment is policed by robots and not much else. Up in the ever-reminding sky floats Elysium, a Utopian society where no disease and poverty dwell. It’s protected from every angle from “illegals” who want to take advantage of their healing technology. When a ex-criminal Max (Matt Damon) falls ill due to a work incident making him desperate for Elysium’s flawless healing capabilities. Max strikes up a deal for freedom fighters who attach a strength enabling exo-skeleton to steal mind data in order to overthrow the perfection in the sky. all while to heal himself. Standing in his way is Elysium’s security secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster) and the criminal who works for her Kruger (Sharlto Copley).

Even from the short summary given, you could probably tell that there are plenty of political undertones running throughout. I can’t stand when a movie hits me over me over the head with their implications… cough… Wall-E… cough…. The Happening. Even though Elysium had shared these tones, it mentioned them and let them be. We, as an audience, don’t need to be lectured but reminded. The social class struggle is a strong issue at hand in the run time but is never driven home by any character.

The plot, moving from point A to point B, was very cohesive; and this is coming from someone that isn’t fully listening to every word of dialogue is lost. Everyone had clear laid out motivations and reasons for them which drove their actions, which takes me to the performances. Everyone was great, especially Sharlto Copley who had a severe threatening presence. As for Jodie Foster, her character was also vicious but her accent through me for a loop. It’s was like she was trying to make a stand-out intimidating villain with her voice, but only served to distract. Matt Damon didn’t have much to do except action scenes and some drama which he did as good as he could.

What really impressed me from the get-go was the world building. I feel that if the world doesn’t make sense, I can’t be fully invested in the characters. The CGI was believable and intriguing but not in a way where I would want to be there. Along with the CGI was the action that could have been dealt with in a more controlled way rather than the quick cuts, close ups and the chaos cinema that thoroughly plagues our screens these days. My only other complaint I would have is that some of the technology seemed too far-fetched to be believable. Namely, the technology that turned people into fleshy USBs. I can let it slide a tad. 

My verdict is: Go! Especially if you’re one for sci-fi action. It’s smart enough to make the action pieces make sense. It didn’t blow me away but kept me committed to the action and characters. 

Summer’s Best of List

1) Star Trek: Into Darkness

2) Pacific Rim

3)The Way Way Back

4) Iron Man 3

5) Elysium

6) Man of Steel

7) Monsters University

8) The Wolverine

9) Now You See Me

10) After Earth

11) This Is The End

12) Only God Forgives

13) The Great Gatsby

14) World War Z

15) The Lone Ranger


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