‘Elysium’ Review

Published 2 years ago by , Updated November 9th, 2014 at 6:55 pm,

Elysium Reviews starring Matt Damon Jodie Foster Sharlto Copley and Alice Braga Elysium Review

Elysium is a disappointment when viewed as a follow up to District 9.

Elysium transports us into the year 2154, where Earth has become a Third World ghetto planet where the poor and downtrodden reside, while the wealthy elite have moved off-planet into the pristine and technologically advanced orbital community known as “Elysium.” Enter Max de Costa (Matt Damon), an ex-felon working a dead-end blue collar job. One day while on said job, Max is exposed to a lethal dose of radiation, leaving him with just five days (and a lot of desperation) to make it to Elysium where a cure awaits.

In order to make his journey, Max is recruited by a local gang, who outfit him with an exoskeleton capable of helping him break into the most secure place in the universe. However, Max’s scheme snowballs into a larger plot, and when Elysium’s Secretary of Defense, Delacourt (Jodie Foster), gets wind of the plan, she activates her secret police force to bring down the perpetrators – a pack of wolves led by the ruthless and cunning Agent Kruger (Sharlto Copley). Before long, Max is in over his head, with Kruger on his tail and a mission that quickly changes focus when an old friend (Alice Braga) asks for Max’s help in saving her dying daughter.

Jodie Foster in Elysium1 Elysium Review

Jodie Foster in ‘Elysium’

Writer/director Neil Blomkamp made a splash with his first feature-film, District 9, combining some self-styled technical wizardry with a timely socio-political story to create one of the more innovative and relevant sci-fi movie experiences of the last decade. Set against that impressive achievement, expectations for Elysium are high – but does the movie live up to the hype? In short answer: only halfway.

As both writer and director of his sophomore effort, Blomkamp must be held accountable for both the great and terrible halves of this conflicted whole. On the directorial side, Blomkamp continues to demonstrate real filmmaking creativity and innovation, bringing to life the world of 2154 in vivid, grounded, realness. From the filth-ridden conditions of Earth to the pristine setting of Elysium, this is a world that is well realized, with visual effects that put a lot of other films to shame.

Matt Damon and Sharlto Copley in Elysium Elysium Review

Matt Damon in ‘Elysium’

In terms of action, Blomkamp’s talent is second to none when it comes to creative design and implementation of weaponry and gadgetry. It’s a real shame that Elysium is so painfully short on action (just one or two scenes, really), because in the moments where we do get it, it is unlike just about any other cinematic experience out there – though quite like many of the most popular video games played today (in a good way). Like so many other directors of today, though, Blomkamp could stand to pull back and give his audience better view of the fight sequences; but again, the uniqueness of the world and technology makes up for deficiencies in the filmmaking technique. On the whole, Elysium is a very impressive directorial endeavor, and (visually speaking) is well enjoyed in full IMAX splendor.

Now for the rub: The story, characters, and overall thematic and/or metaphorical point of the film are all poorly conceived and implemented. In terms of story, Elysium is all over the place with its focus, full of plot holes and strange idiosyncrasies, and fails in the principal task of selling its protagonist (Max) in convincing fashion. Who to care about and how to feel about them are questions that plague the narrative, and the third act just unravels completely into a race-and-chase sequence whose grand payoff is a hoodwink effort of paper-thin ideological fantasy.

Elysium in Elysium 2013 Elysium Review

Indeed, the much talked-about themes and metaphors about economic inequality come in and out of focus as the narrative takes its detours through the many subplots of its many secondary characters (read: distractions), resulting in muddied arcs that are not even interesting to the characters themselves. Worst of all, the heavy-handed thematics of the ending preach a message that anyone with a middle school degree could poke holes in; Elysium tries to say something profound, forgets to make its point half the time, and ends up just saying something naively fantastical. Worst of all, it’s not even much fun. The narrower focus of District 9 seems better suited to Mr. Blomkamp’s scripting abilities; this script – with all its lofty ambitions – got away from him.

Caught in the middle are a cast of actors who mostly look unsure of who they should be playing, and how they should be playing them – with the exception of Sharlto Copley, who has a manic good time playing the unhinged Kruger. When Kruger is on the screen (whether in action or monologue), Elysium is crackling with a good, menacing villain; when Kruger is not on the screen, Elysium loses just about any spark it has (both literally and figuratively). Copley is just energetic enough to carry things –  even when his character’s motivations and personality are a vague mess.

Sharlto Copley as Kruger in Elysium Elysium Review

Sharlto Copley in ‘Elysium’

Damon, Braga and Foster’s characters, on the other hand, are all over the place. Foster sports a distracting accent (French? German?) as her character floats listlessly through the narrative with little significance; Damon tries to pull off his  arc as earnestly as possible, but there is no solid foundation (read: good writing) under his feet, and Max’s act-to-act persona shifts are unearned and are hardly relatable or engaging. Braga’s character decisions and motivations also seem vague and inorganic – clearly the contrivances of a scriptwriter trying (and failing) to stitch larger overarching concepts to more personal character drama. As honorable mention, there are some sufficient supporting turns from character actors like William Fichtner (Lone Ranger), Diego Luna (Contraband) and Jose Pablo Cantillo (The Walking Dead) that help prop up the solid middle section of the film.

It is hard to discuss Blomkamp’s second effort without some mention of his first, and in that sense, Elysium is a disappointment when viewed as a follow up to District 9It is way too early to start making (the inevitable) M. Night Shyamalan comparisons; Blomkamp is, no doubt, still a highly-skilled, unique and innovative directing talent. However, in carving out an early niche as a maker of sci-fi films with very insightful and important real-world things to say, Blomkamp has also placed heavy demands on himself as both a director and writer responsible for creating the best possible halves to that complicated formula. Elysium only gets the formula half-right.

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Elysium is now in theaters. It is 109 minutes and is Rated-R for strong bloody violence and language throughout.

Want to discuss Elysium without ruining the movie for others? Join our Elysium spoilers discussion. Want to hear the SR editors discuss the film? Tune in to the Elysium episode of the SR Underground Podcast.

Our Rating:

2.5 out of 5
(Fairly Good)

Follow Kofi Outlaw on Twitter @ppnkof
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  1. Whoah… only 2.5?

    My ScreenRant review translator puts that as a 3.5. :)

    • I get your drift.

      It’s sobering to see so many making declarations about this movie simply because Mr Outlaw gives it a 2.5 rating.

      • Wow, I totally thought this review was based off someone else’s review as well and not like it was written by someone who saw the actual movie.

  2. Wow i’m very surprised i had really high hopes for this movie

    • @Joker

      I had very low expectations and I was still a bit disappointed, lol. Saw this on Wednesday in a screening…

  3. About what I expected.

    And did they TRY to hide Alice Braga in the ads for this movie or what??

    • Take to kid subplot out of the movie and it’s instantly better.

  4. Wow i’m very surprised i had really high hopes for this movie

    • sorry for double posting

  5. Anybody else thinking ‘John Carter’ right about now?

    • Is that supposed to be a joke? If so, it’s a very dumb joke.

      • I know you guys are giving him flak for the opposite reason, but I’m going to say no also, but because I thought at least John Carter was funny and entertaining. This movie was neither…

    • Can everyone ever! please stop calling every movie that is even close to haveing a bad opening review (John Carter)

      • + 1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

    • JC had a $250M budget and E had a $115M budget, so not really.

  6. Ouch. Checking it out later today still. District 9 is a tough act to follow, that’s for sure.

    • @Dr Mindbender.

      Elysium is to District 9 that UCLA is to Harvard University.

      • Now that I’ve seen Elysium, yeah I see what you mean.

        Shartlo Copley is the best reason to go see this film.

        Take away his performance, and the rest of the movie is just so-so. Kind of like the movie buckles under it’s own weight. Profound allegories fall flat if they aren’t properly supported.

        Maybe 2.5 is a bit harsh, but I completely understand what Kofi is saying by calling this movie “half right.” It is. It’s halfway there.

  7. I think this movie is almost too lame to function. But I’ll watch this.

  8. This is what happens when you get a bigger budget: He makes a great movie, but the directives force you to put “more action”, since “people love that” :(

    I think if Neil had more freedom, he coulda done a much better movie.

    • That’s the thing though, the movie didn’t really have a lot of “action” scenes. Yes there are a few, but the majority is storytelling. The first half of the movie is great but the second half felt like someone else wrote the script.

      • After the success of District 9 I think he had a lot more freedom and this is what we got. It was enjoyable but not spectacular. Take his visuals with a more seasoned director and this could have been great.

  9. This movie rocked. One of the best of the summer.

    Try not to think too hard about the themes and subplots and revel in it as a MAGNIFICENT action flick.

    The last 45 minutes are a non stop rocket ride.

    The visual effects are smart and puts other flicks to shame.

    Blomkamp most definitely has a smartness in the way he executes the “look” of his films. If anyone thought the “look” of District 9 was clever and realistic, Elysium is a logical extension.

    This movie didn’t let me down. Second best of the Summer, IMO.

    This flick wraps up my big summer movie list. A good way to go out with a bang.

    1. MOS
    2. Elysium
    3. Star Trek Into Darkness
    4. The Wolverine
    5. Pacific Rim

    • Normally do not agree with Kryptonic.

      2.5 For Elysium. Must have watched a different movie than I did. I think it was on par as one of the best films of the summer.

      It had a good story, good action, great characters.

      For movie with a 100 Million dollar budget and the fact that Matt Damon and Jodi Foster both command a hefty penny, I am going to look at their salaries as 30-40 million each. Which would leave 70-60 Million dollar budget and with that, they did damn well.

      Was a bit violent to take Auggie to, but Elizabeth liked it.

      • That should be 30-40 million combined.

    • @Kryptonic

      Try not to think too hard about the themes? How when it was being jammed down your throat the entire time???

    • Just saw it tonight. Loved it so much!

  10. 2.5?

    Wow, that’s the lowest rating I’ve seen so far for this movie and it’s inconsistant with other reviews I’ve read.
    I’m still going to check it out, it looks great.

  11. I went to see Elysium last night and while I would say it’s not the best movie of the year, it was well done compared to other so called Blockbusters. The visual effects are probably the best I’ve seen this year. There is some “shaky cam” in this movie and it does lower the fight scenes. Sharlto Copley, IMO gave the best performance I’ve seen as a “villain” in a while. Matt Damon was good but not as good as Copley and at times felt like he’s just another character. Jodie Foster’s character though felt a little like a wasted character opportunity. I expected more out of her character. The first half of this movie did really well in storytelling and setting things up but unfortunately it got lost in the second half of the movie. It was like someone wrote the first half and then another person wrote the second half of the movie. There were some parts that just made you go, “really”, but it wasn’t all that big to me because it felt funny to me. The biggest thing I think for people will be setting this movie apart from District 9. I think a lot of critics were right in the fact that if you are a fan of District 9 and are expecting that same detail in Elysium then you will be disappointed. I feel like this movie will be another John Carter though because of the comparisons. As far as comparison to District 9, then yes, this movie is a 2/5 stars but not comparing the two I would give it about a 3.5-4/5 stars.

    • one of the very few things I had a problem with was Jodie Foster’s/ Delacourt’s accent. It reminded me of Jayden and Will Smith’s accent in After Earth.

      And yes, most definitely Sharlto Copley was stand a stand out.

      • Yes, I was thinking of that when I was watching it. I just felt like she would have done more considering she played a huge part in a decision but overall it wasn’t a bad thing.

      • @Kryptonic

        Not only her accent, her dialog was terrible too. She was more of a caricature than a character in this movie…

  12. Your impressions on the script/story
    confirm my apprehensions on this, Kofi.
    Your review sounds right on the money.

  13. Two words: “Demolition Man”.

    An action flick about a future where the have and have-nots live on completely different levels, the have-nots are forced into lives of crime by their circumstances, one of the more ambitious haves uses a criminal to try to keep the have-nots in their place (and is ultimately killed by that criminal), and the hero is one of the ones who “doesn’t belong” but still manages to break down the barriers between the two groups in the end, after he kills the bad guy.

    The real difference between that movie and “Elysium”? “Demolition Man” is a lot more fun.

    • You know, ***** SPOILER WARNINGS ***** really comes in handy when people, like me, haven’t seen the film yet.

      • Yeah, sorry about that.

        • Stephen, if someone’s too dull to realize you were summarizing the plot after reading the first sentence of your comment, they deserve to have things spoiled.

          • Cave-ish,

            Easy there, buddy, you’re straying into personal attack land.

      • Come on, Kahless, this movie has been out for almost 24 hours. Shame on you for not having seen it already! ;p

      • @Kahless

        Honestly, if the movie’s plot can be boiled down to Demolition Man’s plot, don’t worry, you’re not missing much by having it spoiled for you. But you’re right, he definitely should have put a spoiler alert, lol.

        Honestly, at $13 or more for a ticket to see a movie, I say wait for a rental for this one unless you’re a big supporter of class warfare…

        • lol 13 bucks for a ticket. i go all the time n ive never spent more than 11 on a film n 12 on imax. but ill see this i usually go on tuesdays when its only 6 bucks.

          • @Hudson

            Consider yourself lucky, an IMAX movie is like $17-$19 here…

  14. Id go 3 at best, sharlto copley was the star of this film, he was magnificent. Part of the problem is the run time, its so much information in such a little amount of time. It could use some breathing room. Not a bad movie but no district 9

  15. My fears for this movie were two fold. Firstly because of the budget and how much it would stifle the individuality because of the expected studio checkpoints it had to hit and secondly because of the release date. Of course, I’m in the UK so I’ll have to wait, but after so many cut and paste jobs this summer I really would like this to be good.

    Still, always respect Kofi. He may not like something but he has the decency to articulate why. We disagreed on ‘Only God Forgives’. I sincerely hope we disagree on this also. Fine writer.

  16. Its sad how people love to jump on band wagons with out knowing where they are going. Watch the movie first then review it. The people who hate John Carter so much probably never saw it. was it great no better watch then iron man 3. Try to lay off the negative till you have seen it. I did see this movie and have to disagree with the reviewer it deserve 4 stars I think he needs to watch it again maybe a movie with deeper themes made him think a little too much and it confused him. I didn’t like district 9 all that much but after this one im a convert this directors vision is impressive. the weakest part to me was Jodie foster what was she doing

    • It’s the height of disingenuousness to claim that just because someone didn’t really like the themes of a movie that they did not understand them.

      • I agree with Corey there.

        It’s also not a good thing to claim that people who hated John Carter didn’t watch it because I had no opinion of that movie until I saw it and was waiting for it to end about a third into the movie because it was just so dull.

      • I agree with Corey. I understood the themes completely in this movie. And that’s part of the reason WHY I disliked the movie. Class warfare is for dumb short-sighted people. They don’t look at HOW certain people became rich or HOW certain people became poor. They also don’t look at all of the money these “evil” rich people donate to charities.

        People are people, to have these preconceived notions about entire groups of people based on economic status is no less stupid than someone who judges someone else by the color of their skin…

        So for me, all of these Robin Hood, class warfare BS movies are not my cup of tea. But even overlooking all of that, a lot is wrong with this movie. Jodie Foster is the one big thing. She was downright terrible. Copley was good at his part, this is not his fault, but I just couldn’t take him seriously with his high-pitched voice. But again, not his fault, not like Jodie Foster and her terrible fake accent and the terrible dialog and wooden delivery… And she literally tries to do the evil face at times and it’s pretty bad and seems so forced. I wasn’t as impressed with the action as other people because I found things really inconsistent, like how sometimes his exoskeleton seems really powerful, other times it does not. And I still don’t see how it appears to protect him from things even though most of his body is still exposed. Or how it allows him to grab onto things stronger when it doesn’t do anything about his fingers… And why they would have some uber weapon, then put it down for no reason just so they can get ambushed later and not have it with them to deal with the threat?? Why???

        Anyway, I really didn’t enjoy this movie…

        • I have to disagree on the class warfare BS (as you stated it) Most of what we watch and like is specifically that. It’s the have vs the have nots. Indiana Jones learning he is doing an injustice to a people (by stealing artifacts) and then seemingly contradicting that by protecting those artifacts from the real bad guys, Han Solo running illegal freight and fighting the system, Lex Luthor trying to bring fire to the people.
          It is the story of the underdog trying to right an inequity, whether he is good or bad, that makes the interesting story. It is pretty much center to all of our entertainment. Vampires vs humans, Tony Stark vs Obediah, Khan vs Kirk. It focuses on the “I want what you got” need followed by the interesting and entertaining story around how I am going to get it.
          Maybe it just seems less exciting when they show it more factually and less stylistically and fantastical. Either way its still there.

          • @Jon

            Sounds more like how you like to interpret every story to fit better with how you want to perceive the world. And there’s nothing wrong with that, you take from the movies and entertainment what you want from it which is fine.

        • Class warfare?

          He wanted to lie down in a bed to become healthy. At the end of the movie *SPOILER*
          they send down the “hospital” ships. The a**holes had the ability to heal a lot of people EASILY. They lie down in a bed and done.

          I don’t think Max said anything about taking their “hard earned money” that could be “donated to charity”. Sounds like you’ve interpreted the story as to how you see the world, which is fine.

          I enjoyed the movie.

      • Oh, add to the fact that it has one of the cheesiest wannabe dramatic flashback moments and then another really wannabe emotional scene at the end that’s just as bad, cheesy, and forced, that just falls completely flat…

    • I watched John Carter and found it boring as hell and it didn’t engage me at all.

      • to each his own.

  17. For a movie that takes place 140 years from now. It is scary on what the World could be like, the entire planet a refuge camp.

    It was stunning and at the same time sobering in its scope, because at current rate and status of people. You see this already happening in poorer nations of the world.

  18. I’m wondering if Blomkamp is another one of those guys who shouldn’t write their own scripts. Or at least, he needs a collaborator to help him out. There’s no question he has the visual flair, the eye for smartly utilizing CGI and visual effects much like Del Toro. Also he’s shown that he’s good with a budget like Robert Rodriguez. But those guys also might be better off directing other people’s scripts as well.

    • > I’m wondering if Blomkamp is another one of those guys who shouldn’t
      > write their own scripts. Or at least, he needs a collaborator to help him
      > out.

      No, absolutely not. He did fine with this movie.

    • I love this movie I would give it a 4/5! But I also agree with you he should not write scripts alone. After he didnt write district 9 alone. His wife was the co writer. I think he and his wife should write ALL of this movies TOGETHER.

      • oh wow typos.

        *After all he* all of his movies*

    • The movie is good and yes, it does suffer from some script issues like a Pacific Rim but the difference is that with PR you noticed that issue throughout the movie and with Elysium it’s not really apparent until the end because you’re thinking it will all tie together. I think the biggest issue with this movie and Del Toro falls into the same category is that people will compare it to District 9 like Del Toro’s projects to a Pans Labyrinth. Those films were soo well done that everything else just doesn’t seem to compare even though they are still good movies

  19. There is Science Fiction Movies, Star Trek, After Earth, Oblivion. Because of the alien aspect.

    Elysium I see more as Factual Fiction. 140 Years from now, with the advances in medical science today as it was 140 years ago. 140 Years from now Medical science will be far more advanced.

    There was nothing in Elysium that could not be viewed as fiction for the simple fact that if you look at the Bugatti Veyron today, and you see A Bugatti Built Car/Space craft, you could see that evolution.

    You take a WW1 Bi-Plane and advance 100 years, you get the F-35 Joint Fighter. That is how I see their military and shuttle transports as the descendants of today’s military.

    We see parts of the world today, we do not need to be blind to the fact that it cannot happen 140 years from now.

    • Except that in general the standard of living for most of the world (Africa excepted) has been increasing. Asia for the most part has seen a vast improvement in living standards. It’s really the western world that is on the verge of falling apart since they’ve built a house of cards financially. Something like this could occur I’ll give you that, but I don’t see how it could be seen as likely. More countries devolving into police states is something to be worried about. Dredd seems like a more likely scenario.

      • Check the current state of North Korea and Parts of China.

        • That’s due to communism.

          • Don’t say that, he might think Communism works…

            • @Ken J

              Really? You are going to assume I am going to think it is communisim? I am talking about the starvation and abuse in those countries and it has nothing to do with Communism.

              • Actually, when it comes to Communism, China and North Korea do not want what the poor have, because the poor have nothing of wealth for either country to lay claim to their property in name of the state.

                Some people use the word communism without knowing the exact meaning of Communism or the sum of all of its part.

              • LMAO, please re-read the statements and your response dude. 😛

          • @John

            Looks like I was right… 😀

      • Actually a lot of “bettering” countries are just dying in news ways that didn’t exists hundreds of years ago. Manufactured foods, unsafe lobbyist pushed drugs, machine accidents, industrial pollution.

      • And I can’t say just the western world is having financial “house of cards” issues. This is a world wide depression and the only ones skating by are people making goods at the cheapest rates (as that is all anyone can afford) and also the countries that have a lock on essential goods needed by all (like oil).

    • Science fiction is any fiction where the science doesn’t match with what is currently available. It doesn’t matter if the theories are sound or how far removed we are from the advances. If it’s currently impossible, then it’s science fiction.

      • Or just straight up fantasy.

      • Actually, I would not call them impossible as more so not plausible with current technology.

        Then again, no one thought they have computers in their pockets 40 years ago.

    • @King

      Uh, I would classify this as neither, but Fiction Fiction… Not much science, and definitely not much facts, except for the occupy wall street kids maybe… They might agree with everything whole-heartedly…

      • @ Ken J

        Your level of ignorance on the subject is staggering. Frightening even.

        • @Lord’s Blade

          LOL, alright, if you say so. I probably have far more life experiences than you, but if I don’t have the same over simplified opinion on the world as you, it must be because I’m ignorant, not because I do not wish to simplify it to be “A vs. B” like you “enlightened” people. 😉

  20. Blomkamp is a great world builder. There’s so much stuff going on here that that alone is worth the price of admission. Copley/Kruger is a blast.

    I will agree that there are problems with some of the major characters. With that being said, I’d at least give the film a 3 (a solid good, not fairly), possibly higher depending on your personal preference.

  21. I was expecting a better review, but I’ll still probably check this out tonight or maybe tomorrow.

  22. Guys… wanna learn how to not feel let down with this movie? Its really simple. Lower your expectations of it being on par with distirct 9 and let it stand on it’s own feet.

    Minus it’s flaws I loved this movie Im still trying to short out if it’s this movie or Pacific rim thats gonna win the favorite movie of the year award.

  23. As it got later in the day before this was posted the more I thought that it wasn’t going to get a good review…
    So I wonder, was this another case of a bad review coming so Vic went out to see it before it was posted?
    Not that it matters, I’m probably over thinking along with remembering something like this before.
    I’ll still be checking this out Sunday.

    • Kevin,

      What the heck are you talking about? I didn’t see this nor spoke to Kofi about his review. Pretty sure I won’t bother seeing it, anyway.

      • @Vic

        Knowing in general how your views are, I say skip this movie. I saw this on Wednesday in a screening, and yah, unless you want a message jammed down your throat for the whole movie, it’s not worth watching…

      • @ Vic
        I apologize if my comment came across as an insult or a knock, that wasn’t my intention and I hope you don’t think I was suggesting you’d make someone change their review.
        I just thought I remembered something like that hapening before.
        My bad… :(

  24. 2.5 huh.

    I have to say that ever since Vic stopped doing reviews, I can not find one reviewer on the site that I tend to agree with. Now I haven’t seen Elysium yet, but the review for We’re the Millers I think was a 3 or something. I thought the movie was incredibly hilarious and I would give it a 9/10.
    So I’ll still see Elysium and hopefully enjoy it.

    • Actually, I miss Vic. He was the one reviewer who seemed to have a similar viewpoint to mine (with respect to movies).

      His reviews/comments brought me to this site initially.

      Vic, any chance of doing a guest review every now and then?

      • Chetc, nope, sorry. And I have Ben and Kofi do most of the reviews because I find I usually agree with them within a half star – and with what they say in their reviews.

        • @Vic

          I’ve disagreed with plenty of the reviews I’ve read here. But I’ve always agreed with their summary of the reasons why they gave it that score. It just depends on how important those factors are to each person. I think the guys you have writing for you here are great. I only wish you guys would post reviews further in advance of the movie’s release so I can know what you guys thought before the weekend where I have to decide what movie to watch…

    • @INK

      I actually think Vic might have given this movie a lower score…

  25. This movie rocks!???

    Yes it did. Especially the camera man was rocking AND shaking the entire movie. WTF? I understand the new style for “being there”, but to feel dizzy from trying to focus on what is going on is simply BS.
    Besides that, no story development, no real interest in the characters and the acting was also below average…
    IMHO waste of money and time. No wonder MD didn’t really talk about this movie positively on ANY of the late night talk shows…

  26. “Now for the rub: The story, characters, and overall thematic and/or metaphorical point of the film are all poorly conceived and implemented. In terms of story, Elysium is all over the place with its focus, full of plot holes and strange idiosyncrasies, and fails in the principal task of selling its protagonist (Max) in convincing fashion. Who to care about and how to feel about them are questions that plague the narrative, and the third act just unravels completely into a race-and-chase sequence whose grand payoff is a hoodwink effort of paper-thin ideological fantasy.”

    That paragraph could have been lifted directly from a review for District 9. All you’d have to do is replace the title of the movie and the name of the protagonist. 😉

    • So, it’s not that “Elysium” is as good as “District 9″, but rather that “District 9″ is just as bad as “Elysium”?

      • That depends on the perspective. I really like District 9. If Elysium shares the same problems then it can’t be that bad for me.

  27. i see a lot of sheeplike movement on the comment columns.. bravo for respecting the vaunted opinion of someone you trust.. but what happened to FORMING YOUR OWN OPINIONS???

    the way some of you talk is asif youve see the movie aswel &drawn similarliy hasty &offkilter judgement.. when you havent youre forming an opinion based on someone elses opinion

    watch the thing first. THEN opine over how disappointed you are at the releant but non life altering story &really good but non nostalgic special effects..
    atleast that way youll be AUTHENTIC hipsters.. not just reactionary ones.

    good day

    • I saw this movie and consider it as in my Top 5 films this year and better than a film called Pacific Rim

      • I hated IM3, and I don’t believe I was following the “group” mentality when I came to that conclusion.

        Paid for the movie, watched it, and realized that it wasn’t my cup of tea. The trailers had me thinking that the film was going to be something else entirely.

        Yes, there are some people who will simply follow the crowd (ie. will watch or not watch a movie due to popularity), but not everyone.

      • I saw this movie before this review came out with some friends. I rather enjoyed it but I also didn’t set high expectations and didn’t go into the movie trying to compare the success of Distract 9. I came out rather happy even though there were some issues. It was the same thing with Pacific Rim. I liked the movie but when you pointed out it’s flaws, people got all bent. I rarely even care about the reviews and just go see the movie if I get a good vibe out of it. I got that from this movie and I wasn’t disappointed

      • I saw IM3 with four other people who all really liked it. I pretty much hated it. I don’t know anything about the Mandarin from the comics, but still hated what they did.

        I saw the twist coming a mile off but still thought it was gonna be a bluff towards the end. It wasn’t. There were soooo many things I disliked about it and it’s not because I didn’t “understand” it.

    • @Casanova

      I saw this movie on Wednesday, and formed my own opinion about it since I just saw this review today. And I have to agree with this review, but actually, my personal score for this movie would actually be lower… The real sheeple are those who drink this class warfare kool-aid like it’s a bottle of water in the middle of a desert…

      • @ Ken J

        Class separation is real. Class warfare is real. The lower to middle class being choked out as a result of inflation is real. Using health-care as a profit machine first is very, very real.

        That protective bubble of lollipops and rainbows you live under sure does sound swell.

        • @Lord’s Blade

          This is why I love being in the UK. Our health care is paid for by taxes and therefore free to anyone who can’t afford it. It’s worked for 76 years and only being ruined by government rushing in to make them focus more on targets than patients and getting rid of healthcare professionals due to over-spending in other sectors.

          Have to admit that I’ve always been shocked that US citizens have to pay any time they need to see a doctor. There’s something incredibly wrong with that.

          • I’m from Holland and we’ve got the same here, though even more extensively (they’re really trying to do a number on the UK health system aren’t they?:S Ever since Thatcher it’s been in decline from what I know.)

            I do see it’s a lot easier to pull off with a significantly smaller population. We can preach about it but on a European scale we can’t and wouldn’t get it done either. Granted two European nations are way more different than two American states.

            I’m proud of our healthcare system here, yet I’m open to any arguments it might not work in the States. One thing is that the average health of the population is important in whether it’s financially doable or not, and not to be mean, but that might be a problem for America. The best healthcare is caring for your own health and thus living healthy. We for example are trying to debate how to prepare for a very large incoming generation who’ll enter old-age and thus need more care while having less working class. I’ll definitely have to spend more on healthcare as a younger generation throughout my life then the generations before me have, but it’s still peanuts compared to the numbers I hear about in America.

            Also +1 to Lord’s Blade.

            • @Silrian

              In America we are crippled by politics. You have one group that talks a big game about taxing everyone to do all of these great things, but the problem here is that everything in our healthcare costs far too much. Everything is overcharged to compensate for people who do not pay, frivolous lawsuits, and other things. Everyone talks about free healthcare, the fact is, it’s ALWAYS been that a hospital cannot turn someone away based on the inability to pay. I used to work at a hospital, and long before Obama and his magical promises, homeless people walk into the hospital all of the time and will get free treatment and even free medication… But then when someone who has a job goes to a hospital, we get charged hundreds of dollars for a Band-Aid and thousands of dollars for a blood test… This whole concept of the government paying for everything scares me because our government is not like yours. Ours is TERRIBLE at handling money responsibly. Money magically disappears with out government all of the time. Every government run entity we have is billions in debt and can’t seem to spend wisely no matter how much we want them to… Honestly, I find it hard to think of a good solution for us. If we let the government fund it, we pay more taxes and the situation will not improve just because of how inefficient our government is. If we leave it alone healthcare will continue to be too expensive for the middle class. I do wish they do some major tort reform because the way the civil court system is now is ridiculous… And that’s costing a lot of people, including the healthcare field, a lot of money unnecessarily…

              • I get your point, and they’re good ones. I was thinking about this, and isn’t it possible to reverse engineer what we have in Europe? Meaning can’t they’re be set a state-wide system in place, where every state, or perhaps for the smaller ones, a small union of states, setup a health care system? It would also appease the fact that there’s a terrible problem with disagreement about this. It could mean that healthcare in one state will be more federally run then in others. It would mean, at the worst, some people might wanna move to a different state, but at least you could 1) setup a more controlled yet also more confined healthcare system and 2) it would have more direct say from those who live there, as it’s per state.

                I’m not up on the exact differences between state and government authority, but isn’t this a good compromise? Because the problems America has as a country are problems we have here as Europe exactly the same. Although obviously we don’t have European government, we’d still have way more problems coordinating finances if they were done entirely on a European level. Not necessarily because our European expertise is too low, but because simply the scale and the accompanying power struggles make it practically impossible to delegate well. State-based healthcare would also make it possible to adapt different healthcare levels and systems at the same time, which would make it possible for one state to learn from the other.

                I can hardly believe I’d offer something new, but I’d like to know whether state-based healthcare has ever been discussed at large and whether it’s a possibility or not? It seems to me to be possibly a good solution that would be more respectful to democratic disagreements.

                • @Silrian

                  I always think the smaller the government the better. Meaning, let things get governed at a lower level since they know what’s better for their people more than the federal government would know. But I don’t think we should copy anything from the Europeans. No offense, but what works for you probably won’t work for us. I think the reason why the USA rose up to a place in power in 200 years rather than 2000 years is because of the things we did differently. And I think if we go back to the way we governed things in the past, we would be better off. We’ve been moving closer and closer to how the Europeans do things since the 70’s and honestly, that’s pretty much been our downfall… Again, not anything against your system, but it’s just different people and different situation…

        • @Lord’s Blade

          Whoosh, right over your head… I have never made any statements about whether or not there are differences in classes. My point has always been that people who classify people as good or bad based solely on their economic status like this movie does, it oversimplifying everything, and that is when you, as the individual, is conducting class warfare. I have never said the concept of class warfare doesn’t exist, and sorry, but it’s pretty STUPID for you to think I said that since I’m accusing a lot of the people here and the movie for conducting class warfare… But again, the point went right over your head. To simplify it as “rich people are evil, poor people are good” is childish and isn’t any less dumb than grouping people together by some other trait such as their skin color or gender. There are plenty of rich people who are good and plenty that are bad, and same with poor people. To portray it to be simply one is just bad and the other is good is what this movie does and it’s what you kids want to believe, and sorry, but that’s just what it is, childish.

          Once you leave your mommy’s house and start to work and live in the real world and you start meeting real people of all different walks of life, you’ll realize something really amazing. You’ll realize that everyone is human, and you’ll find that there’s good and bad in everyone and there isn’t some magical statistic you can look at about that person that will tell you whether he/she is a good person or not. Yes, hard concept to grasp, I know… But don’t worry, you’ll figure it out one day, hopefully.

          • @ Ken J

            All throughout this thread you have taken a stance that the idea of class warfare is “only for sheeple who drink the idea like kool-aid.” That’s what I was responding too.

            If you really think this movie is displaying “rich people bad, poor people good” then the entire concept of what’s being presented completely flew over your head.

            I currently volunteer in San Diego at Life for Life, an orphanage for children whose mothers freed themselves from sex trafficking. Don’t you dare try to lecture me the nuances of the evil that people can and can’t do.

  28. Maybe not too on topic, but how is 2,5 “fairly good”? On a scale of 1-10 that equals 5, in my country (Holland) we do everything with 1-10 scales and any test you score below 6 is a fail (because it doesn’t reach above half the points possible). t’s the same for Rotten Tomatoes, anything below 60% is rotten… Now a 5 of course isn’t a big fail, it’s just short of descent.

    I’d say the scale usage is odd if 2,5 equals fairly good… I’d say 3 is descent and 3,5 is fairly good. 2,5 sounds like a rating for ‘not quite there’ to me.

    If you saw a film on imdb that had a 5 Kofi, would you interpret that rating as fairly good? Or do you guys make a conscious choice to apply a 1-5 scale in a different way than a 1-10 one? (This isn’t meant to bash, I just notice a different way to apply the presented scale which I enquire about.)

    • I know a lot of movies on the imdb that rate a 5 and that, while not stellar are perfectly recommendable for fans of the genre.

      When even the Top 250 movies go all the way down to 7.9, then 5 isn’t that far off.

      • I guess it’s because I’m so used to 5 being the point where something is just not acceptable anymore. Doesn’t mean it’s horrendous, sometimes only one thing can make it cross the line to being at least descent, but if it doesn’t even cross half of what’s possible points-wise, I just find it weird to hear the word good in any positive way associated with that. You wouldn’t give a movie you find fairly good a rotten rating would you? Cause rotten tomatoes uses the same line, so it’s not unfamiliar to americans I’d say…

        • Yeah, but Rotten Tomatoes is weird to begin with, with the very varying sourcing of reviews for their rating. I wouldn’t put too much weight on what they proclaim as Rotten/Fresh.

          For example, according to them Oblivion is rotten (at 54%), but it was one of my favourite movies this year.

          • It’s not about what they proclaim as actually rotten or fresh, hell I disagree a LOT about that. I solely meant is as an American-made/known example of a hard discrepancy between 5 and 6 on a scale of 10, where it’s the border between okay and not okay.

            • Gotcha. 😉

      • Also, to me, a 7,9, which is basically an 8, is a big big difference with a 5. But again, it’s because it’s the rating system I’m uniformly used to over here. A 10 is perfect, a 9 is astonishing but not quite perfect, an 8 is good/excellent, but with improvement possible, a 7 is fairly good, and a 6 is descent, but clearly needs work. and everything below is well, is not good, but might have a differing degree of merit to it still.

        But I honestly would like to hear Kofi address it because I usually really dig his explanations/defences for things.

        • I generally have always hated number opinions. I had to judge using a points system before as far as scoring other people’s writing because to me, how do I assign points and turn an opinion into a number?

      • What 1-10 means to me (especially from IMDB)

        10 (Perfection) I never give these
        9 (Really good, film of the decade, oscar worthy, etc ) rare
        8 (great film, different, memorable)
        7 (Good film)
        6 (I liked it) MIXED REVIEWS
        5 (I didn’t like it) MIXED REVIEWS
        4 (How can anyone like this)
        3 (absolutely horrible, exploitative trash)
        2 (There was no film)
        1 (Crimes against humanity) Don’t rate films at 1, they can’t be that bad, people understand how bad a 4-5/10 is already

        • Oh yeah I could definitely agree with that! Well put. That way is actually really close to how pretty much everything is rated here in Holland. (Except you don’t give mixed review on a test obviously, cause it’s calculated, but still, 5 and 6 resemble the turning point on whether something is passable or not). I definitely rate pretty much like this and am very used to this way.

          Especially agree with 10 and 1, I never give those on something that’s not directly calculable (like art), because they resemble the end of a spectrum that’s practically impossible. The function is to give meaning to what’s in between, 10 is an ideal and 1 is the negative opposite to it. Although mathematically it’s lineair to a 1-5 scale with halves, the 1-5 scale still tends to have a different application I guess…

          • Here is our scale breakdown:

            5 – Classic
            4.5 – Extremely Excellent
            4 – Excellent
            3.5 – Very Good
            3 – Good
            2.5 – Fairly Good
            2 – Okay
            1.5 – Poor with a few Good Parts
            1 – Poor
            .5 – Incoherent
            0 – Unwatchable

            • I’m inclined to say Very Good and Excellent are the same thing, and so intuitively, I’d move everything up one below that, call half a star unwatchable and just never give out 0 stars. It exists as a scale ender but nothing else.

              I also think 2 stars equalling okay is just, I , I can’t get that, sorry. It amounts to a 4 on a 1-10 scale, a 4 is just bad, just flat out bad…

              So yeah, with a very friendly tone, and in genuine appreciation of this site and it’s contributors, I respectfully disagree with the way you guys use the rating scale…

              Thanks for the reply.:)

              • It amounts to a 4 on a 1-10 scale, a 4 is just bad, just flat out bad.

                See, and that’s what I dont get. If 4 is flat out bad, then it couldn’t be any worse than bad. But what do you do with the 3, 2 and 1 in that case? You still have 30% of the scale left but you already reached bad at 4. That makes much less sense to me.

                • Sorry late response.

                  I have thought about that and to some degree you have a point, but I’m very used to nuanced measures of how bad something is. A 5 is just not okay, a 4 is flat-out bad, but it’s not horrendous, a 3 is horrendous. A 2 is just disgusting and pretty much insulting, an affront, to whoever has to review it and a 1 is as I said simply the end of the spectrum as “The worst, truly”. 1 and 10 imo resemble the ideals to make up the spectrum and can at best be used to make a statement. I’d give something that’s blatantly racist a 1, because that’s truly, the worst. And math tests for example, or something calculable can of course be a 10.

                  Imo that part of the scale does matter, because it opens up dissection of areas that could be improved upon. Equally I fire your argument back at you in saying why would you need about 8 different grades to say something is good? I think it has logic to it to divide the nuance of good and bad equally, and thus five grades of good and 5 grades of bad (and fifty shades of grey, man I couldn’t resist, horrible, sorry:P).

  29. Can’t wait to see this and judge for myself.

    • I thought it was good. SPOILER… Why didn’t Elysium offer the med beds to people down on earth so don’t have to worry about illegal immigration? Seems like a easy fix. Make the beds work of some rare supply…. Besides that huge glaring flaw I thought it was pretty cool movie.