Elysium Crashes to Earth
Elysium could have been great, but it appears some studio executives got a hold of it and chopped it to shreads in an attempt to please everyone, to create a universal picture for humanity, while raking in a big box office. They failed on all accounts, and the box office will also fall short of expectations.
Republicans complain, as they are wont to do, that Elysium is a “full-fledged anti-capitalist” screed. If only it was. There is nothing full-fledge about Elysium at all. In fact, the film is full of selfish people acting in their own interests until the very sacarine end, when the Matt Damon character, Max, gets all sentimental on us. It’s more Mad Max than Salt of the Earth. In fact, Lord of the Rings was a much more anti-capitalist tome, certainly more socialist.
Elysium is mediocre science fiction that could not decide whether to be a romance, a statement film, an action film, a way out sci-fi gadget film, a nerd romp, and thus it fails to be anything. It is overly sentimental at the end and has little back story to explain the characters motivations. The audience is expected to take things at face value, and the face of it has little value.
The acting is mediocre, the plot has more holes than...a hole factory, the special effects don't merit a large screen, the fight scenes are too stagey, and it is more predictable than a Road Runner cartoon. While I don’t mind that I gave Neill Blomkamp, the director and writer of entertaining and superior “District 9”, another go in the theater, I will certainly be more circumspect next time.
I suggest that Mr. Blomkamp get help with the script in the future, perhaps from a science fiction writer, before doing another space film. Blomkamp has some ideas about how the 1% dominate the 99%, but his story is uneven and lacks focus while at the same time being predictable. How cliche is it? Let me count the ways: cyberman with a damaged past of lost love and opportunities tries to save himself but decides that saving humanity might be a good thing while fighting the forces of corporate evil and saving sick kids with some kick-ass side kicks that die along the way. ARRRRRGH!!!
Am I too jaded? Have I seen it all before? Well, not really. James Bond films have been around for more than 50 years, and the latest Jame Bond was the best of them all. Coming of age stories have been all the rage since “The Graduate”, and the recent “The Way, Way Back” entertainly explores that genre. It’s not impossible to do something well in a tried and true genre and entertain, but it didn’t happen in Elysium.
And what the hell kind of accent did corporate villain Jodie Foster put on in the movie, proto-French? It would have been less distracting if she just used her regular voice instead of this half-assed, half-accent.
Did I say the fight scenes sucked? The fights were obligatory cut and paste action that didn’t fit the tone of the film nor propel the story. The villain was over the top, and not in a good way like Walter White, or should I say Heisenberg, in “Breaking Bad.” And I don’t really blame Sharlto Copley who plays the villain, Kruger. He was given shit to work with and shit directions and when you are given shit most actors will make a shit sandwich.
Rating: See it for free if you can and you have time to waste.