Elysium (2013)

Elysium posterNeill Blomkamp’s (District 9) second feature-length film delves into a futuristic society where there are two classes of humans.  Those who live in a ruined and overpopulated dystopia on Earth and those who comfortably live in the space satellite Elysium.  Elysium is home to the wealthy elite.  The satellite hovers outside the planet.  In this society the citizens have medical bays where in minutes their health ailments are instantly cured.  Meanwhile on Earth, people struggle to cope with the dilapidated planet.

The film tries to parallel these two factions with the current decries of the “1% and the 99%” and the current debate over illegal immigration.  Defense Secretary Jessica Delacourt (Jodie Foster) is a ruthless political figure.  It is her duty to prevent unwanted ships from docking the satellite.  Max (Matt Damon) is a “regular guy” working on an assembly line making robots.  One day he is trapped in the containment area and is exposed to radiation.  He is told that he only has five days to live.  Max decides he must go to Elysium and cure himself.

Secretary Jessica Delacourt

I should note that I was hesitant to watch this film.  I wondered if I wanted to watch a film with such expressive, liberal undertones.  I figured the film would depict the wealthy elite as uncaring and brutal individuals.  While I wasn’t wrong in my assessment I must state that I surprisingly enjoyed watching the film.

I thought the film was entertaining.  There were some action sequences that were visually spectacular.  The plot isn’t terribly original and pretty basic.  However, that doesn’t deter the fact that I liked Elysium.  Kruger (Sharlto Copley) is a mercenary deployed by Foster to capture Max and bring him to her because he has transferred sensitive information into his brain (this is of course possible in the future).  Kruger is a sadistic and sword–wielding psycho who is worthy of being the main antagonist (unlike Viper in The Wolverine).

My problem with the film is the director’s portrayal of all wealthy individuals who aren’t empathetic of the plight of those living on Earth.  I find it hard to believe that not one citizen of Elysium cares for those living on Earth.  To overall depict the wealthy 1% as nonchalant and elitist is a misnomer of reality.  I am disappointed Blomkamp does not explore the sociological reasoning for such a disparity.  The viewer never does understand why the elite refuse to cure those suffering on Earth.  Are precious resources consumed by the medical bays with each treatment?  If not, why can’t they help those suffering?


In a junket interview for this film the director was asked if the film reveals how he envisions Earth to look in 140 years, Blomkamp replied: “No, no, no.  This isn’t science fiction.  This is today.  This is now.”  Blomkamp should pick up a copy of last year’s Forbes issue which highlighted the many philanthropic millionaires and billionaires of our world.  There are many of wealthy individuals who are truly empathetic to the world’s plights.

I should also stress that this is not a film appropriate for children.  The film’s R rating is warranted for many violent sequences, including grotesque images of bodies blown up.  Elysium is a good addition to this year’s summer box office.  If you like action/science fiction movies then this is a suitable film for you.  While certainly not the best film I have seen this year (that distinction belongs to Fruitvale Station) it certainly is worth a look at the theater.

My Grade: B

Are you going to watch the movie?

Email: realtalkdebate2012@gmail.com

Twitter: @adrakontaidis & @talkrealdebate


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About adrakontaidis

A conservative who doesn't pander to the GOP.

9 responses to “Elysium (2013)”

  1. JF Owen says :

    I just saw it. I thought it was an interesting movie, but certainly not the best dystopian movie I’ve seen recently. For me, that nod goes to “I Am Legend”.

    The special effects were stunning, the science shaky, the story contrived and disjointed and the acting passable to good. What I missed the most was the accuracy and believability of the small details. That’s what makes the difference between a good science fiction movie and a great science fiction movie.

    Blomkamp was so intent on making his social points that he forgot to how to do it believably. I guess it was a “can’t see the forest for the trees” situation.

  2. jimgleeson3Jim Gleeson says :

    Why does Max (Matt Damon) work at a factory making droids when Hause/Quaid had the same job in the remake of Total Recall? JF Own is correct in thinking that the problem lies in the details. I wanted to see more of this world than pictures on a wall, and room decorations.

    What did these people do for distractions on earth? And why is Elysium the place for the wealthy elite? Why couldn’t the Have not’s have a medical bay? At least give me the startling truth that it’s “soilient green” or something similar.

    • realtalkrealdebate says :

      Great questions. I too wondered the same thing. Overall I think the film was good but could have been ALOT better. Did you enjoy the film at all?

      • jimgleeson3Jim Gleeson says :

        Yes, I did enjoy the movie. Not sure what I would rate it. The special effects were about a 9. The story itself I would give about a 3 or a 4. I think based on the directors background, that he wanted to marry visual effects, like the Halo space station, the sweet Robot animations with politically correct subtext.

        Another thing I wished was that Max was less a victim of circumstance. That he did what he did because he had no other choice. I feel like the guy who can crack wise to a robot wouldn’t be so amenable to crawl into an unsafe environment.

      • realtalkrealdebate says :

        Great point. I too thought that was a bit dumb, but I guess necessary to force him to have to go to Elysium.

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