Movie Review: Elysium (2013)

Since our shiny new TV has 3D capability (ooooo), Fragrant Husband and I decided on a recent action movie to test it. With a running time of 109 minutes, last year's Elysium was a clear winner. On came the glasses, and we were off on a sci-fi adventure...

...that was scattered and unsatisfying.

Alas, Elysium could have benefited from tighter writing. The movie, written and directed by Neill Blomkamp of District 9 fame, is about Max (Matt Damon), a former car thief trying to make a decent living in dirty, dystopian future L.A. (looks an awful lot like current developing nations). Max dreams of buying a ticket to Elysium, a "habitat" floating in orbit that boasts vastly superior technology, including med-bays that can heal pretty much anything. Defense Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster) protects Elysium from poor people trying to breach this ultimate gated community in their desperate attempts to get near-miraculous medical treatment.

Max gets involved because of a catastrophic accident at work, and coincidentally he used to work for the guy who runs unsanctioned shuttles to Elysium, and wouldn't you know it, his beloved childhood friend who he promised to take up to Elysium one day has a little girl with leukemia. Imagine that. Anyway, as demanded by the gods of formula, he makes it up there and must defeat Kruger (Sharlto Copley), the real Big Bad. Et cetera.

The entire movie was so focused on hammering home its message (THE RICH ARE BAD THEY ARE OPPRESSING THE POORS) and so skimpy on the details that Fragrant Husband didn't mind my constant questions throughout the movie, because he himself was going, "Huh?" at various points. For example:

  • What is the basis for citizenship on Elysium? Do you buy a ticket? Sell a kidney?
  • What is the process for electing Elysium leaders? Sharpest suit? Most uptight hairstyle?
  • Were all the droids on break when Max was shooting up the government building? 
  • Et cetera.

ERGH.

Also, Kruger is gross.

Pro: At least the violence and gore are unflinching! Yay!

For a longer and angrier takedown of this movie, click here.

Bottom line: Skip it. Skip it hard. I actually like Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters better, and that movie featured a wooden turntable and a Gatling gun in an early 19th century setting.

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