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“Elysium” – Review (POSITIVE)

August 14, 2013

Screen shot 2013-08-14 at 6.13.28 PMNeill Blomkamp continues to be one of those directors you have to watch out for, and pray that he gets back on track with that potential “Halo” movie. Seriously, I can’t see anyone else but Mr. Blomkamp taking on such a drastic adaptation to a beloved video game. But I digress, Neill Blomkamp is beginning to earn his place as one of the great cinematic sci-fi innovators of this generation. Why? Go watch “District 9”.

Now he returns with a new sci-fi epic in the form of hard-nosed actioneer entitled, “Elysium”, and while the movie subtracts the brains for more brawn, it doesn’t negate the fact that the movie is a site to behold. The movie is certainly of the best original summer blockbuster films to come out this year, and when it comes down to it, it’s hard to find an original blockbuster that’s not a reboot, sequel, or comic book adaptation.

In the year 2154 two classes of people exist: the very wealthy who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. Secretary Rhodes (Jodie Foster), a government official, will stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve the luxurious lifestyle of the citizens of Elysium. That doesn’t stop the people of Earth from trying to get in, by any means they can. When unlucky Max (Matt Damon) is backed into a corner, he agrees to take on a daunting mission that if successful will not only save his life, but could bring equality to these polarized worlds.

The ideas being tackled in this movie are very political, much to the same vein as what “District 9” was accomplishing, but as I stated before, the movie trades brains for brawn. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing per-say, it’s just that if you’re going to touch on the topics of immigration, rich vs. poor, the 99% debates, you should do it with the same amount of gusto and subtlety that the previous successful film did.

Screen shot 2013-08-14 at 6.13.08 PMThe movie takes advantage of the action surroundings, this is a future that’s dirty, gritty, and grimy. Featuring weapons and ships that feel almost more modern than post-modern. Futuristic counterparts that are heavy and bombastic and leave a mark like you wouldn’t believe. The exoskeleton suit that Max wears, will certainly leave an iconic image in the minds of moviegoers who see this film. But, for me, what I took away from this movie the most, beyond the dazzling imagery, was the supporting role of Shartlo Copely (star of “District 9”). He plays a characters so, vile, so incredibly scary, you find yourself asking, “How did he pull this off?” And it’s scary to see how far Copely’s character, Kruger, will go to seek blood.

The movie delivers on all levels, and gives the audience I think a satisfying conclusion that doesn’t need to leave it open for a sequel, nor does it cop out at the last second to give us the typical, awe everything’s gonna be ok for that person. Probably some of the best visual effects from this summer movie season, and some supporting roles that will stand out for the year. Stars Damon & Foster do well, but it’s nothing to really brag about, luckily the movie offers a heck of a lot more than just their adequate performances.

GRADE: B+

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 15, 2013 1:07 am

    Nowhere near as great as District 9, then again, what other sci-fi flick of the past decade really is?!? Good review.

    • August 15, 2013 7:30 am

      True. But in a summer filled with mostly blockbuster duds, I’d say this ranks as one of, if not, the best release this summer has offered.

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