As a huge fan of Neil Blomkamp’s District 9, I was stoked to see Elysium. With a great premise and great talent (both on and off-screen), Elysium became one of my most anticipated movies of the year. Even though the movie isn’t perfect with a particularly slow opening and a pretty poor performance from Jodie Foster, Elysium is still one of the best movies I’ve seen so far this year.
In the year 2154, the rich left Earth to live on a space station called Elysium where there is no disease or war, leaving the poor on a now overpopulated and disease-ridden Earth. One of Earth’s citizens is Max (Matt Damon) who, after an accident at work, needs to go to Elysium (where he can easily be cured) in five days or else he will die. Only problem is, the people of Elysium don’t just allow the people of Earth to come on over to Elysium, they have to buy their way there. So, Max’s only option is to break into Elysium.
An original story is a rarity nowadays so it’s nice seeing a cool original story being told. The premise is obviously a metaphor for the 99% issue in today’s world but the movie thankfully doesn’t shove that down your throat. Instead, writer and director Neil Blomkamp was able to find a great balance between the cool story and the science fiction aspect of the film.
We all know Blomkamp can direct great science fiction from District 9 but Elysium has more of an action aspect than District 9 did. Blomkamp kind of succeeds with this. Expect some annoying shaky cam during some of the action but also expect some great camera work during the more calmer moments in the film.
Something else Blomkamp succeeds and disappoints with is the screenplay. I was not into this movie at all for the first 20-30 minutes. It was okay but I just didn’t really care about any of the characters or what was happening on screen. It’s not until Max really starts on his quest that the movie picks up and becomes awesome. If the beginning of the movie had the same vibe and intensity of the last hour or so, Elysium would have one of the best science fiction screenplays of the year (Elysium does have one of the best endings of the year though).
The performances in the movie are mostly solid. Matt Damon is very likable in the lead role as Max. He can play up the drama very well but it’s the more lighthearted moments of his that really shine. Sharlto Copley, from District 9, steals the show as Kruger, one of the villains of the film who is tasked with taking down Max. He really has fun with his character and he can be absolutely crazy without overdoing it (a rarity for many actors). The rest of the supporting cast while fine doesn’t really shine or stand out. Except for Jodie Foster who couldn’t convey her dialogue for the life of her. She’s a great actress but in this movie she sounded like she was reading her lines on Q-cards off camera. She could’ve done much better.
Finally, I saw the film in IMAX and it wasn’t necessary. It didn’t take up the full screen and didn’t provide anything special that a normal theater can’t. Save your bucks and go see it normally.
Elysium is not a perfect movie. It has a slow and “meh” opening, some shaky cam, and a poor performance from Jodie Foster but it has other great performances, other beautiful direction, and a fantastic second and third act which make Elysium one of the standouts of 2013.
For reviews and more from me, Petey Oneto, you can check out my blog but be sure to check back to Resident Entertainment for more of my posts in the future.