‘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
TAGS: Elysium
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  1. An evaluation of all the relevant concerns anyone would have
    on whether are not to see this film is present in Kofi’s review.

    If you disagree with his impression of a facet of the movie,
    say the script issues for example (issues I give weight to
    based on Kofi’s writing and his feelings on writing I tend
    to share) you can still see where he is coming from and
    compare that to how you would react those facets.
    You can discount what he says where you disagree.

    What I am saying is you do not have to agree with
    the overall assessment of any review and yet find
    it helpful in deciding whether you might like a film.
    Which to me is the whole point of a film review.

    Reading this review and Kof’s explanations I can
    feel sympathetic to his point of view however if I
    did’nt I would rate the review excellent nonetheless.

    • And that’s something I can agree with.

      I don’t feel the SR staff have to justify themselves. It’s just that weirdly, people get offended when a movie they’re excited about is given a bad score without reading the actual review to see what the arguments for and against are.

      Besides, it’s Kofi’s opinion. If people liked the movie, so be it. If you hated it, good for you.

      Lets just accept that people have different opinions and that there are better things to do than argue on a movie website because a movie got 2.5 stars out of five.

  2. my guess is that he should have stepped down from his ego stool and had someone join in on the writing to make it a more tighter and consistent story… the visuals form what i’ve seen aren’t crash hot, but then again i haven’t seen much on this… might check it out on dvd b/c kofi and i tend to share similar thoughts on movies :)

    good review btw :)

    • Why does he have an ego?

      I hope you realise that both Blomkamp and Copley grew up in South Africa and saw first hand the poverty and class differences, which is why they make shorts and full length movies reflecting what they’ve experienced in life.

      How is writing about what he knows “egomaniacal”?

  3. First off, I feel that it’s important, especially here on Screen Rant, to read the entire review, rather than just glance at the score. I admit that often I am too lazy to read the whole review, but I usually try to read the whole thing, because it says a lot more than a mere number can say. What I’m trying to say is, a 2.5 may seem bad, but when you read the whole review, you get his actual impressions of the movie, which are good for some parts, bad for other parts. (“Fairly good”)

    That being said, I agree for the most part with what Kofi wrote here. The visuals are breathtaking and creative, the action is awesome, and the character development is somewhat underwritten. And Copley steals the show. However, I also believe that Damon and Foster were both great in their respective roles, and also, I would give the film a 4 out of 5. True, it has its shortcomings, but it was an original sci fi flick with awesome visuals, action, and performances, and a very interesting concept. And it was entertaining as hell. 4 out of 5 for me.

    • That’s the thing, people just see those stars and comment immediately by the looks of it. Don’t know why because whenever I see the star rating, that makes me click the review to see what the likes/dislikes were.

  4. Amazing review. I have yet to see the film, but I have not (in a long time) read such a good review that says so much without spoiling the movie or destroying the fun.

  5. 2.5………did we watch the same movie?

  6. Dead on accurate review…but I think it deservesat least one more star.
    With all of its flaws (and there are plenty), I still believe it’s an extremely enjoyable movie.
    Neil certainly thought it the film was smarter than it was, but it’s still a good movie. There’s about 3 solid action scenes, one of which is the entire last 30 min of the film.
    Compared to DISTRICT 9, yes a disappointment; a stand alone film based on its own merit, it’s a pretty awesome flick.

  7. Seeing the movie tomorrow, but I’ll say this. I always weigh audience reviews over critics and both Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes’s average audience ratings are around 75%.

    Me? I’m easy to please. I go to the movies to be entertained. If the story is well written, etc, that’s icing on the cake. I love gritty sci-fi and bloody action so it’s very unlikely that I won’t enjoy Elysium.

    • @Christian

      I’m not a critic, I’m part of the audience. I didn’t read this review because I’ve seen the movie already in a screening on Wednesday, but I agree with the overall star rating, maybe half a star less in my opinion. And it’s nothing about “gritty sci-fi.” I can tell you right now if you’ll like it or not. If you agree that all rich people are evil and all poor people are good, you’ll like this movie. If you think all people can be good or bad regardless of their economic status and are sick of this whole class warfare pitting one versus the other crap that we see so much now, then you will not like the movie. That’s pretty much it.

      • Dude, you’re bringing class and economic discussion in a place where that doesn’t matter. Elysium is just a story, not a political debate. It doesn’t matter what you believe about class… it is fictional and entertainment is its only purpose… plain and simple

        • @1015

          Yah, ok…

        • Fictional and entertainment based on what Blomkamp and Copley have personally seen and experienced growing up in South Africa, just like District 9 being racially motivated as a commentary on apartheid.

          • I don’t think you have be from South Africa to get what Blomkamp is trying to say in this movie. Class division exists in every kind of society; the US is by no means immune to it. And yeah, this movie is one giant metaphor for it. Fiction generally stems from real-life ideologies. That’s generally the point @1015…

            • Nope, you don’t have to be from there because you see it in every country, I’m just stating that the director and star are making movies like this based on what they’ve seen.

              Just like the ska movement in the late 70s/early 80s picked up on massive unemployment in Britain and wrote songs about that because that’s what those musicians were seeing every day in their areas.

  8. I saw this at a screening. Eh… Jodie Foster was terrible in this movie. She had the most annoying way to speak ever. Every time she talks, you just wanted her to shut up, and it had nothing to do with what she was saying. Although even that was pretty bad… Sharlto Copley was definitely the most consistent actor in the movie, but honestly, I didn’t find him very “menacing” as a villain simply because of his annoyingly high-pitched voice. It was hard to take him seriously. The story itself seemed like it was written by one of those occupy people. Very immature way of thinking and very black and white “rich people are bad and poor people are good” look at the world and characters… I say wait for a rental unless you’re really into this whole class warfare BS that’s so popular now…

    • I actually really liked her very proper dialect.

  9. I can’t believe I forgot to mention this. Does anyone else find the HUGE plot hole with HOW he gets irradiated???

    Working around industrial machinery, I can tell you that they don’t simply start on their own, especially if it performs a function that is dangerous. Now you can argue that this is a future where the corporations do not care about the safety of the workers, and that would be a valid argument, EXCEPT they show that this one does have that fail safe. The day before the accident, you see him operating that same oven. You see him press a button to close the door, you then see him press a button to start the “burn.” Likely the way these machines work, you don’t simply press a button to close the door, you hold it, and the moment you let go of it, it’ll stop closing. You’ll have to hold the button until it’s all the way closed. Then you can proceed to perform the other function. Also, if you look at the controls, you clearly see a big red button. In manufacturing floors, big red buttons almost always mean one thing, safety kill switch. They should have been able to just slam on that button and the machine would have stopped doing what it was doing… Anyway, I just found it pretty contrived how he got himself into that situation. And it’s not like there wasn’t anyone else around that he could have asked to stay outside and man the controls while he goes in to free the jam…

    • I think the point of that scene was that workers experienced poor labor conditions and few safety regulations, much like industry during the Industrial Revolution/Gilded Age. And his boss told him to do the task or lose his job.

      Frankly, the radiation accident was the least of my problems with this film.

      • @John

        Did you read the whole thing? Like I’ve said, I would understand that argument IF they haven’t shown in a scene before that the machine needed the operator to push a button to start the burn showing that it does not do it automatically… So this statement would only be valid had they left that earlier scene out of the movie, but they didn’t.

    • And there is the small hole in the plot where robots of the future are so advanced that they act as security and parole officers but don’t work in the factory where they are built. I guess the direction technology is going now, where more and more robotic automation is being used, has been abandoned. That makes a lot of sense.

  10. I’m sorry, wasn’t this a thread about ELYSIUM?
    And why all the backlash against SR lately? Have we all taken advantage of the writers’ down-to-earth approach that we forgot that they are PROFESSIONALS and that this is THEIR site?
    Was anything Kofi wrote inaccurate? His rating may be a matter of opinion, but the article was spot on. SR usually gives on point reviews that are more than helpful to the filmgoers.
    Who cares about what communism really means or not? Commenters keep turning threads into a tug of war of who has the most trivia memorized instead of commenting on the film.

    Kofi, your review is dead on, although despite all that, I personally enjoyed the film greatly. Even though I’m a huge District 9 fan, I didn’t use that as a base for my opinion.
    Great review…but also, great movie IMO

    • Thank you Cranium, there need to be more commenters like you.

      • Gracias

  11. Everyone can calm down the movie is total meh-sauce.

  12. Lets just cut the crap people. The message of this movie, is a reflection of what’s BEGINNING NOW on the planet. Rich and SuperRICH people, central banks, and corporations have seized control of the planet already. If you don’t know that, then you either haven’t had an internet connection long, or you need to come out from under your fantasy rock once in a while.
    That said, no matter how well the particulars of the movie (acting, directing, etc…) were presented, if you don’t agree with the theme, you won’t like the movie. If you understand what the director was trying to present and see it come across in the movie, then your score will likely at least BEGIN at 3, and go up from there. This movie is NOT propaganda. It’s showing us a possible future consequence of the path humans are on, thanks to out-of-control capitalism, and human ego and greed. You’ll like the movie if you can handle the theme. If you can’t, pan it, and go watch Transformers. I hear Bay isn’t RICH ENOUGH yet.

    • @ray

      Uh, no, it’s because I’ve been around and have a lot of life experience to know better than to group people by any predetermined group. Please tell me how assuming everyone of a certain economic status is a certain way is any different than assuming everyone of a certain race is a certain way.

      • @Ken J

        ..because in your mind it is the poor and middle class directing Congress with all their power that comes from prayer or some other elusive means and not the rich and Wall Street co-opting democracy to suit their egos and profit margins. That must have been what the Greeks intended and the Founding Fathers; that democracy be a tool for suppressing the masses to the benefit of elite few. That morality only applies when it doesn’t interfere with profits.

        • @Dave Mowers

          Again, you’re grouping everyone together to all behave a certain way because of a certain feature or quality. How is that any different than saying everyone of a certain race acts a certain way or everyone of a certain gender acts a certain way? It looks like the point flew right over your head…

  13. I enjoyed it, but the beginning was slow and the message was like a sledgehammer over the head.

  14. Great review Kofi!!Right on the money! I will go see it though because it was one of the movies i planned on seeing no matter the reviews.

  15. I honestly believe that Neil didn’t realize how intelligent & poignant DISTRICT 9 was while writing/directing it. I think it simply came from a place of passion, that he wrote what he knew.

    Then everyone went crazy over how insanely smart it was…

    When it came to making his second film, he focused on trying to make it intelligent, instead of simply following his gut.
    Elysium definitely didn’t have the heart D9 did because Neil simply tried too hard.

    All the elements of a great filmmaker is there, he just has to love what he’s doing by doing what he loves.

    Ever great director has a film or two when they’re too self-aware. The great ones get over themselves and bring us classics. The bad ones make The Happening.

    • @cranium

      I’m sorry, but how insanely smart is a plot about how a fuel source can turn someone from a completely different planet into one of these aliens? If they drank gasoline or jet fuel would they turn human? Were they all other types of aliens at some point that came into contact with that fuel and transformed into big insects? I’m sorry, but the main premise of that movie made absolutely no sense. I understand the whole symbolism of how certain groups within the population of South Africa are treated differently from others and how the aliens represented that, but still, if it was “insanely smart” it would have at least had a coherent plot…

      • You’re right.

        I mean, aliens are, in fact, real and their absolutely real technology falls into our basic understanding of biomechanical fuelling systems.
        It angers me that he took such liberties with such scientific fact.

        • @cranium

          LMAO, yes, because they are not real, that means they can do anything even if it defies logic or common sense. Why not just have them not follow the rules of gravity while we’re at it?? I mean, they are not real, so why does physics have to be real? Damn conformists…

          • That’s actually, exactly what it means….

            • +1

          • Yeah, a movie where an alien came to earth and defied not only gravity, but the laws of physics itself, would be so ridiculous, everyone would scoff at it.
            Might as well give the alien xray vision, and, heck, throw in some heat vision as well.

            That’d be soooooo stupid!!!

            • Heck, while we’re at it, let’s make a giant robot to fight off those aliens because that would be smart and “original”

              • Oh, now you’re just being silly

            • @cranium

              I actually really don’t like Superman, partially because of all of the stupid super powers, so you’re right… I like most things grounded in reality unless the setting predetermines that those rules can be broken (which actually Superman does, but still, I’m not a huge fan). In District 9, it was supposed to be based in reality, so I would expect real life logic to be applied. In a movie like, just throwing the first one out there, Fifth Element, it’s meant to be kind of a goofy take on the future and not to be taken too seriously, so you can forgive them bending the rules of physics for the sake of entertainment. It’s all about the ground rules set by the setting of the film and whether the level of realism in the rest of the plot matches with that. If this movie set itself as a sci-fi fantasy world, then a lot of logical things can be overlooked because the world set by the movie allows for it. But District 9 wasn’t like that at all. It was meant to parallel the real situation in South Africa, a REAL place last time I checked…

              But I guess you don’t understand this concept. So keep on being children about it. I’m sure you have some kind of protest to go to anyway…

              • Africa is a real place…and in DISTRICT 9, it had a giant flying saucer hovering above it.
                And I believe Superman takes place on…what’s it called? Oh yeah: EARTH.

                You can’t grasp the concept of science fiction & think we should judge films based on YOUR lack of imagination?
                Unless it’s silly, then science fiction isn’t allowed to have the whole Fiction part, got it.

                Nana nana boo boo, stick your head in doodoo

                • Just have to say, I enjoyed The Happening. The only Shyaman movie I haven’t enjoyed so far was The Last Airbender (I refuse to watch After Earth though).

                  Opinions are great, aren’t they?

                • @cranium

                  Ok, well, thanks for pointing out that I’m wasting my time trying to hold a mature and logical discussion with someone who is obviously a child. :-D

                  • Your argument is simply ridiculous & unworthy of any sort of intellectual response. I’m simply giving your statements the respect they deserve.

                    • I like this Cranium fellow….

      • Well then surely you must understand why the liquid he was exposed to gradually turned him into an alien..?? Of course there is coherency in the plot. He turned into an alien so he could understand what it feels like to be on the other side of the fence; to no longer be the oppressor; but the oppressed.
        Have you ever considered that perhaps the aliens were meant to give us an idea of how we humans like to box and define things?? How we can only make sense of ourselves and claim superiority and bestow inferiority in relation to something that is different than us? Black vs White. Nazi vs Jew. Islam vs Christianity. And eventually Humanity vs Aliens.

    • Well said.

      • Sorry wrong place for this comment – stuff shifted when I hit submit – where’s the delete comment button?

    • I agree that’s it’s heavy handed but unfortunately people still missed the point of the movie. So it seems he had to choice but to try to spell it out but yet people still don’t get this movie. It’s not about the evils of wealth. It’s about how humans in one country can be so completely disconnected from the suffering of their fellow man that it’s as if they don’t think of themselves as citizens of Earth. A beautiful message for an action sci-fi movie.

      I think people like D9 because they felt it was about apartheid–it was about how evil South Africa is. But when he points a spotlight on how evil we are in America and how disconnected we are from the suffering of those trying to cross our borders we criticize it as being intellectually simplistic. Well I’m sure that South Africans thought D9 was a simplistic treatment of a complex problem too.

  16. This movie is such a rip-off of Battle Angel Alita that it disgusts me. Blom, I am disappointed in you. Own up to it.

  17. SPOILER ALERT: If you have not seen the movie, be warned: My single comment is has a (major?) spoiler.

    To me, what sums up the “halfness” that the reviewer cites is the motivation in the death of the character played by Jodie Foster. Here is a woman who is so motivated to take over the facility that she was willing to reduce the political structure of the city to rubble and literally reboot the entire culture. Yet, in her death, she refuses final (life saving?) medical treatment and mumbles something to the effect of “enough of this, already” (it was hard to understand…bad mixing).

    Why? What motivated her to have such a change of heart and why would she willing die after everything that she demonstrated earlier that motivated her entire world-view and actions? It made no sense by what we were given. If the answer lies on the cutting room floor, it must have been a whopper of an editing decision to leave such a pivotal element out.

    And if it wasn’t “left out,” man, what (another) example of poor writing.

    • @C. Ritter

      Thanks for the spoiler alert. I’ve seen the movie, but just saying, a lot of people would put spoilers and not have an alert. So kudos for doing so.

      I just wanted to say that Jodie Foster’s character as a whole was simply terribly done. A character like Kruger seemed so much more fleshed out, and Foster’s character along with her terrible accent and acting just stuck out like a sore thumb…

      • Almost like he had a great villain and the big bad behind it all was an afterthought?

        • @Dazz

          Kind of, or maybe Jodie Foster thinking she’s so full of acting knowledge and history decided to improvise a lot of it…

      • Her accent wasnt bad actually. Ive lived in quebec and a bit in france. Her accent was fine. Plus language transforms with time…so whos to say it was bad.

  18. Sf R movie 2.5 ???
    Aaaa SR want CGI-PG13 whit Disney stuff.

    • and more Grown Ups 2, 3, 4 movies

    • Yes, that’s what it means when someone doesn’t like a movie that you liked. Or at least that’s what I think you are trying to imply. Cannot tell exactly what you’re saying. I take it English is not your first language?

  19. It was still better than Man of Steal your money.

    • That’s better than my “Meh Of Steel”, I might use that if it’s cool with you.

  20. Short on action, long on story and character development… darn… I hate that story and character development crap.

    • Yes if they only left out the crappy character development we would get something of quality like Green Lantern.

  21. You can nitpick most movies to death. I always say the same thing to them: “let’s see you make your own one, then”.

    I loved Elysium. I don’t care what Kofi thinks because let’s face it, neither does most of the world. No need to tear him a new one.

    • Haha I thought the same thing

    • “Lets see you do it” is one of the most tired, cliched things anybody of little intelligence could say though.

      It’s almost like “I’m so lazy that I won’t debate what I liked about a movie to counter someone else’s opinion and maybe sway someone who’s on the fence regarding the movie, I’ll just use the most childish and over-used phrase and walk away thinking I look big or clever.”

      Plus it falls into the category of “nobody is allowed to have a difference of opinion, you must either feel the way I do about it or go make your own”.

      The argument of the dimwitted. Please stop saying that line because I’m sure you have some shred of intelligence and don’t need to resort to using that pathetic excuse for debate.

  22. Opinions are like a**holes, everyone has one, and everyone thinks theirs smells like roses.

  23. If you like Sci-Fi you will enjoy this movie. People should put their political viewpoints aside and just be entertained, yeah, it could have been better, yes, there are sequences of events, music and plot points similar to other movies but all-in-all this is a solid movie.

    • Agreed.

  24. We checked this out last night on a nice IMAX screen. Thank goodness it was 3D free.
    First thing, my wife said was “wow, I wonder where the other half of LA went?”

    I’ll leave the social commentary to her. I was disappointed in the action. The fight scenes gave me a headache. There’s nothing like watching a flick on a super large screen then suddenly have several quick cut close ups flash before your face.

    The technology/weaponry got shorted as well. Unlike in D9 where it was fully fleshed..er, tech’d out. Here, you just had to go with it as presented. Two that bothered me most was how the ring world functioned and no explanation about the exo-skeleton abilities. I leave my thoughts about the guns alone.

    The Jodi Foster character plot was a weak device in my opinion.

    All in all, a beautiful flick, but kinda all over the place plot/character wise. Having said all that, go see it for yourself because despite all the shortcomings, it is an enjoyable movie.

  25. I’m sorry but I have to very much disagree with this review in how it was written. There are a lot of vague statements made with no specific dialogue or action to back them up. Example: “Damon tries to pull off his arc as earnestly as possible, but there is no solid foundation.” What is this arc you refer to? Possibly if the arc or almost anything else had specifics backing it up we could debate it.
    The only movie specific item that seems to be pointed out is that you can’t determine Foster’s accent. I’m sorry but does she have to be specifically French or some other “earth-based” accent to be accepted well? She could well have born and grown up in space talking to people equally well of all languages (as she is surrounded by the rich people of the world). Why can’t her native tongue be a mish mash of languages and accents like the people living in the streets of Blade Runner’s LA? It would be one thing if she was trying to speak one specific tongue and she couldn’t do it, but to knock the movie because you don’t accept the accent is something else.

    Personally there are only two let downs I found. The CGI of the little drones flying around and the fact that I wanted more audience participation. In the Avengers the audience got involved. They reacted to Hulk, Tony, etc… I like stories like that. The movie definitely had its own pace and subject matter. If you don’t like that then don’t knock the movie. No one said this was supposed to be TDK or MOS.
    It should be noted that a lot of the responses to the review pointed out plenty of specifics in their debate/commentary and seemed to fill in many details the reviewer glossed over. It’s almost like the review was pulled together from reviews made by other critics. IMO

    • “I wanted more audience participation. In the Avengers the audience got involved. They reacted to Hulk, Tony, etc… I like stories like that.”

      That’s a pet peeve of mine. I hate when people make noise in the cinema. It’s ok if you laugh a little during a funny moment but otherwise, it annoys the hell out of me and stops me enjoying the movie.

      I don’t go to the cinema to hear someone say “Wow, did you see that?” Got on my nerves when an excitable guy was laughing and telling me what was happening on screen during Evil Dead while I was trying to ignore him and watch what was happening on screen undisturbed.

  26. Elysium was overall a good movie, but I was offended by the film. I felt like I was watching propaganda hidden in a sci-fi flick. Very one-sided. I may be biased because my parents came to this country legally. Both of them. So watching a film that hints that America is anti-immigration in the extreme really bothers me.

    One reviewer said it’s not propaganda and that it’s happening now, but you know what’s ironic about the film?

    (spoiler alert)
    In the movie, why is America overpopulated, polluted, and ruined in the first place? Is it because people crossed over illegally and resources got tapped out? So then people moved on to Elysium. At the end of the movie, I thought, well, now Elysium is going to be overpopulated, polluted and ruined! Ironic.

    Anyway, this is a good action-filled sci-fi movie if you can put your political views aside. Not too much depth, but decent.

    • The movie doesn’t “hint that America is anti-immigration in the extreme” any more than District 9 suggests that South Africa conducts Nazi-type medical experiments on blacks. Blomkamp takes you to a different time and place where where current social problems are exaggerated so you can better see the essential injustice.

      I don’t have a healing machine in my home. But I have access to vaccines and anti-biotics that magical cure and diseases that people in the third world suffer and die from. People in other countries still get polio and disease that’s doesn’t exist in Elysium….umm I meant America.

      Maybe the movie is deeper than you thought? You must admit a lot deeper than most sci-fi action movies.

  27. A lot of “smart” people seem to totally miss the point of the movie. It’s not a vilification of the rich. It’s a vilification of us–we who live in places that people are desperately trying to sneak into. Elysium is essentially a different country. In this future there is only one first world country and the rest of the Earth is the third world. It’s not about Occupy Wall Street. If you think it’s about Occupy Wall Street then this so called simplistic movie went right over your pretentious head.

    The message of this movie is that we shouldn’t consider ourselves citizens of the U.S.A or Germany but rather citizens of Earth with a responsibility to care about the suffering of our fellow man. That’s pretty good for an action sci-fi movie.

    • Well, I’m sure you’re really “smart” as well and should realize that based on which side of the argument you’re on, you’ll see the point of this movie differently. Because my main argument all along is basically what you say at the end, that we are all “citizens of the earth” which I am stating as the fact that we shouldn’t classify people by economic class but rather by their actions. If you don’t think the movie over-simplifies good and bad by poor or rich, that probably just means that you agree with that view. Just like how liberals don’t think MSNBC is biased and how conservatives don’t think Foxnews is biased. But the fact is, BOTH of them are… And this movie clearly over-simplifies good and bad by whether someone is poor or rich… My point has always been that we cannot judge people simply by their economic status, and that we are all human and there are good and bad in all of us, there’s no magical way of telling if someone is good or bad by how much money we have.

      Even going by your interpretation of the movie, the movie is oversimplifying it. Even if you consider Elysium as the USA (which is struggling now as well BTW…), it’s again, a gross over simplification and is making villains out of a whole country simply based on our economic standing with the world. People like to talk so much crap about our immigration policies. They should probably look at the immigration policies of a lot of other countries like those in Europe… I’m sorry, but we allow A LOT of immigration into the USA. I think most of the people here, or at least a very large percentage of our population, are immigrants. Heck, I’m an immigrant. If it was really so strict, how did my entire family and extended family immigrate here??? We were not rich or even close to it when they allowed us into the USA… And we’re all citizens now. It seems like the USA has welcomed all of my family and me with open arms. I really don’t see how you can equate us to Elysium in the movie… So really, it is such an oversimplification no matter what analogy you want to pull from it…

      • But it’s an action sci-fi movie. Of course it’s an oversimplification. Isn’t D9 an oversimplification of apartheid? Surely, it will seem especially “oversimplified” by those it criticized.

        And I think almost all sci-fi that makes a political point exaggerates the current injustices. Consider the novel “1984″ or the movie. The intrusiveness and oppressiveness of government is exaggerated to make a political point.

        Consider polio. Why hasn’t it been eradicated by now? It has been eradicated in first world nations. How much does it cost to produce the vaccine?

        One billionaire, Bill Gates, is making progress in eradicating polio using his own money. Why couldn’t the wealthy nations of the world have done the same decades ago? Is it because we are at some level indifferent to suffering of citizens of other nations just as the citizens of Elysium?

  28. I just saw Elysium half an hour ago and enjoyed the film. Having said that, I’m a pretty easy to amuse guy and am not too particularly smart. It was a good way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

    I completely agree with the above poster that said it was like watching a propaganda film, although I didn’t quite realize it until the very end of the movie – it was definitely a pitch for Obamacare and immigration reform cloaked in a sci-fi flick. Take that for what you will – I’ve got no particular position one way or the other on it, but it hit me in the face in the last few scenes. Of course I cheered on Max and Frey and Frey’s daughter. Why wouldn’t I want them all to be cured of all of their ills? Of course I would. Of course we don’t have magic machines that do all of that stuff here in the real world. I did wonder (probably as I was supposed to) at the social injustice of Elysium vs. the Earth – after all, who had built Elysium and where had the resources for it come from? The Earth, of course.

    In any event, entertaining if you don’t think about it too much.

    • How was it propaganda towards US-centric policies?

      Seems typically arrogant to assume that.

      I think what Blomkamp was trying to say with the healthcare is that all countries should have free healthcare, regardless of wealth, something which the UK has had for 76 years and which Obama tried to copy but the dimwitted masses who voted against it somehow see it as evil.

      Immigration? Every developed nation has immigration issues, not just the US.

      The commentary there is that if a country has the resources to help those wanting a fresh start, they should, regardless where the immigrant came from.

      The message is to help one another regardless of social stature and geographic location. Nothing related to US propaganda at all. The only thing that could be construed as a US propaganda movie and that should be vilified is Zero Dark Thirty.

      • Whatever happened to the British Empire? As it happens, healthcare and immigration have led to the downfall of the formerly great British Empire. Arrogant probably isn’t the right word to use to note the decline of the Empire – but it’ll do. Misguided might be better.

        Free healthcare? Free anything? Who exactly is going to pay for it? Nothing in this world is free – you’ll pay for it one way or the other. Looks to me like the UK is paying for it now.

        • I hope you’re from America and have access to a map. Do you see that giant land mass above you? That Canada. We have free health care too. You have your guns and I’ll take my medicine. No offense to any country but the US? Really shouldn’t be calling anyone else out. The LA of Elysium is not that far off.

  29. I felt Elysium was one of the worst movies I have ever seen. It ranks with “Minority Report” as a movie with tons of potential brought down by so many plot holes that it becomes laughable.


    1) Max works in a robot-building factory. Robots break his arm in the beginning of the movie. We are set-up to believe that robots police and enforce things on Earth. There is a big fight with heavily armed bad-ass robots. But then they disappear. You don’t see them again until the end of the film. They don’t partake in the hunt for Max, defense of the space station, or providing security anywhere on Earth or in space. They don’t even work in the factory where they are produced. If there wasn’t such a big set-up in the beginning, this wouldn’t be so bad, but the set-up is a big hook in the unique look of the film and promise of action.

    2) The space station has no security and although we see a shuttle fly out of a shuttle bay in the beginning, every other shuttle can just fly right in through the open “sky”. There isn’t even an effect to make it look like a force field holding the air in.

    I’ll stop now. The list goes on and on. I am sure sites will pop up all over the web providing more rants.

    The movie looked good, was fairly well acted (even with the lack of interesting dialogue), and the special effects are great. I loved District 9. Elysium’s poor writing and gargantuan plot holes kill the movie and make it laughable.

    • You could do the same to every sci-fi movie. Including D9. All sci-fi has huge plot holes like that. In Star Wars how is it that Jedi can block laser shots that move at the speed of light? And if blasters are so slow moving then maybe they should just use bullets.