Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Review: Elysium

                                    Elysium Is Richer Than The Average Sci-Fi Flick

                       In my opinion, I haven't seen many sci-fi movies that work as both a turn-your-brain-off action flick and a film that serves as social commentary. Elysium is definitely a film that works as both and is a great sophomore effort from director Neill Blomkamp who treaded on similar ground with the film District 9.

                      Elysium is set in a post-apocalyptic Earth where the rich go up to a space station called Elysium where they can never age and can cure diseases, while the poor and lower class are left to die on the rotting Earth. Max DaCosta (Matt Damon), an ex-con who lives in the slums of Los Angeles and is slowly dying after being exposed to lethal levels of radiation at an incident at his work, tries to look for a way to go up to Elysium to fight for a way to bring equality between the rich and the poor. The one woman standing in his way is Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster) who will fight to keep boundaries between the two social classes.

                       What I Liked About It:
                      Like I said, I liked how the movie manages to work as both a turn-your-brain-off action flick and a film that serves as a social commentary, as the film deals with the rich clashing with the poor. With the set pieces, Neill Blomkamp shows how once you're rich, you're living the high life and if you are poor, you're lucky if you have a box to sleep in, as Elysium is very futuristic looking and the rich live in nice mansions and have nicely-manicured lawns and dress presentably. But the ruined Earth is very slummy and overpopulated and people wonder whether they are going to live to fight another day. Even though Blomkamp treaded on similar ground with District 9, which showcases racism without using race by incorporating aliens, he was able to separate the two films so they don't have too many obvious similarities. He also makes the action scenes entertaining to watch.With both District 9 and Elysium under his belt, I can honestly say that Neill Blomkamp is one of the most inventive directors in the film business and I can't wait to see what he has planned next.

                      What I Didn't Like About It:
                    While I did enjoy this film, there were a few things that I found confusing even though they are more nitpicks than anything else. One is that, even though he gave a great performance as he always does, I find it hard to buy the idea of Matt Damon living in the slums. Another is that when the poor do make their way to Elysium, they are conveniently able to break into people's homes and use their machines to try to cure their diseases. But I guess because it's a Hollywood piece, anything goes. Plus, like I said, those are just nitpicks.

                    Overall, Elysium is a solidly-done sci-fi pic that entertains yet discusses an issue that is already affecting our nation today. It has its flaws, but hey, not every film is perfect, even if it's fantastic.

Rating: 3.5/5