Elysium – Blu Ray review 3.5/5 stars
As I mentioned in some other post, I’ve finally gotten around to getting back into science fiction, and that meant that I finally got around to watching Elysium. Matt Damon stars as Max, a former car thief in a futuristic world who, after a radiation accident at work, finds he has only five days to live. There is however a cure for his condition, but that’s on the space station Elysium which orbits the planet Earth. In this future, the rich have left the wasted planet below for the poor, while they live in comfort on a giant wheeled space station. Only the rich are citizens of Elysium, and only the citizens have access to their advanced medical treatments. Approaching his old criminal friends, Max and Spider (Wagner Moura) develop a plan to steal passcodes and programs from Max’s former boss that will reboot the Elysium core and trick the computer into effectively making him a citizen to get the treatment he needs. The program they steal is downloaded and encrypted directly in Max’s brain, but when they do decode it, they find it could be used to make everyone on Earth a citizen too. After discovering that his childhood friend Frey (Alice Braga) has a daughter with leukemia that could also be cured on Elysium, Max sets off on his mission though he’s being hunted by Kruger (Sharlto Copley), a vicious covert agent sent by Defence Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster) to retrieve the information in Max’s brain by any means.
I thoroughly enjoyed Elysium, but the only thing keeping me from giving it 4 stars was Jodie Foster. I thought her acting was terrible in this one, I suppose it was not only her acting, but her voice. I get that the rich and powerful were on the station from all over the world, and that there would be languages such as French and Italian being used; I get that there would be accents on segments of the elite, but hers was awful! Her delivery was too staccato, and after hearing her in the bonus features, I wish she had just used her regular voice. This is the second picture from writer/director Neill Blomkamp (District 9) and it was another excellent effort. I wish he wouldn’t wait five years between films, but I suppose the quality of both his works so far can excuse that. Other than Foster’s acting I enjoyed everyone else; Damon delivered a quality performance as usual and it was pretty cool to see Sharlto Copley playing the “bad guy” after his role in District 9 (he was Wikus if you recall).
The story was well done, and the “future” seemed fairly plausible, both in technology and in mood. Elysium touched on a lot of social issues that are being experienced today, (though mostly in America) such as illegal immigration/border hopping, the separations between the classes, and even health care. Good science fiction stories have always had social issues mixed into them to some degree or another, and Elysium is no exception. Fortunately it doesn’t get too preachy about them, but just uses them as a background to tell a pretty good, action-packed story.
Bottom Line: Sci-fi is usually either dystopic or utopic, here we got both.