Film Review : Elysium (2013)

IMDB Score – 6.8
Rotten Tomato Score – 69%

Directed By – Neil Blomkamp
Starring – Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Shartlo Copley, Alice Braga, Diego Luna, William Fichtner, and Wagner Moura

In the year 2154, 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.

One of my favorite theater experiences of my life was walking into “District 9” without really a clue what it was about and being glued to the screen for the duration of the film. It was a sci-fi movie that was both unique and entirely captivating. It featured amazing acting, badass action, and state of the art visual effects on the equivalent of a shoe string budget. It encapsulated the idea that completely original cinema is alive well and that all it needs is the backing of executives. Blomkamps follow up to that film is a promising yet ultimately disappointing one. I had high hopes for the film and couldn’t get out to see it in theaters due to its bad box office results and frankly disheartening reviews. I’m going to have to agree with the negative reviews on this one but the film does feature some positives.

What I liked…

There were some great set pieces in this that showcases not only Blomkamp’s visual style but his ability to shock his audience with a perfectly timed gruesome scene. “District 9” certainly had its share of shocking scenes and I expected more of those in Elysium. We got a few, one coming from a perfectly timed grenade, but overall the dead spaces between the action was just too boring for me. Matt Damon wasn’t terrible but it seemed like he was phoning it in at times. The only real acting highlight for me was Shartlo Copley who played a pretty menacing villain.

What I didn’t like…

Like an earlier original sci fi film, “Oblivion”, this film just seemed to be too heavy on visuals and futuristic set pieces and just completely skimped out on a coherent and logical plot. Too many times I was sitting there going “Why the hell is this happening? I hope they’re going to explain this—-okay they’re not explaining anything”. That;s not good for a film that is almost 100% comprised of technology that we don’t have right now. If you’re going to introduce a device that can put somebodies face back together then you should at least tell us why the hell that is even possible considering the man had no damn face. Also, Jodie Foster should stop acting. I’ve never really been a fan of hers and this was possibly the worst acting I’ve seen all year. She tried to be this cold robotic evil woman but it just came off completely corny and just plain strange. You can’t just movie your face around while trying to give off a horrible accent to make yourself seem more bitchy. It was horrible. The ending could be seen from space and they totally ripped off the ending to “Blood Diamond”. The whole film just fell apart at the end without really having a leg to stand on besides a very promising middle.

Overall it just wasn’t very good. I think if Blomkamp gets a big budget film again he’ll prove he’s one of the best up and coming sci fi film makers but to be honest he really didn’t do much to impress me with this.

2.5/5




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