movies: elysium

elysium - he can save us all
In the year 2154, Matt Damon shaves his head, has a lot of questionable prison tattoos and looks kinda hot.

Oh, and the world is completely screwed.

I'm not completely sure how I feel about Elysium, it had a mostly excellent cast, but overall the story just feels somewhat lacking.

And the beginning of the movie, featuring the plight of the desperate have-nots while the haves swan around on the titular space station giving themselves scarification makeovers, was frankly a little too depressing.

Which pretty much tells you all you need to know about writer/director Neill Blomkamp's view of the world.

Does it feel like a (pessimistic) view of where the world could be headed? Possibly, but it also feels like a world where the stakes are really screwed up. I get why the have-nots want to get to Elysium, mostly for the medical care... what I don't understand is why the haves wouldn't share that technology.

It's not using a rare element, it doesn't appear to cost any money, it's never explained why there isn't one of the Macguffin Medical Pods installed in every single hospital on Earth.

It just doesn't make sense, even internally to the story. And when the only answer you can come up with is "well if that wasn't the case there wouldn't be a story", isn't ever the right answer.

And even though it's only 109 minutes, it feels like a long movie... and when you become aware of the length of time during a movie it's generally not a great sign. I wasn't bored, I just don't know that I was overly emotionally invested in the movie.

Having said that, the cast is actually quite strong. Damon brings some of that Bourne intensity and determination to his role, even with the slightly pointless exo-suit his character has bolted onto him.

Jodie Foster is appropriately icy as Elysium's Defence Secretary, and while her motivations might be slightly weak, and I'm not sure why she needed to have a French accent, she does a great job at basically being an evil bitch.

Most of the rest of the cast are either people I didn't recognise or relative unknowns (at least outside of their own countries) but Diego Luna, Alice Braga and Wagner Moura are all quite good.

The proverbial sore thumb of the cast however is Sharlto Copley... I mean, I get it, Blomkamp and Copley are buddies from their first film together, District 9... but he's kind of awful in this movie. Not only is he next to impossible to understand at times (which isn't exactly his fault, he's not the only one where an accent clashes with background music and sound effects that bleed into the dialogue), but he's generally more annoying than menacing.

It's disappointing to compare it to District 9, because it's not anywhere near as good or as engaging. And it has plot holes you could very easily drive a shuttlecraft through.

yani's rating: 1 Stanford torus station out of 5

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