ELYSIUM [2013] movie review

November 30, 2013 · Print This Article

I am glad I did not know beforehand that ELYSIUM [2013] was written and directed by the same person who made the amazing DISTRICT 9 [2009] otherwise my expectations which were low would have been sky high and I would have been even more disappointed.

Writer & Director Neill Blomkamp blew me away with DISTRICT 9.  ELYSIUM, his follow up effort, is unfortunately the opposite in terms of creating viewer awe, or any kind of viewer emotion for that matter.  Matt Damon stars as a person stuck on Earth 150+ years in the future after the entire planet has basically become a slum.  Rich people live up in a space station orbiting Earth.  Thus, everyone stuck terrestrially dreams about getting to Elysium, though most seem to want to get there for this magic medical machine that can cure any disease and reconstruct even catastrophic tissue damage (i.e. face burned off, no problem fixed in 10 seconds).

The problem is there are zero likable characters in ELYSIUM, no one to root for and no cause to root for.  Damon gets blasted with radiation and needs access to that magical medical device to live.  Multiple times he says to different people he is willing to sell out anything just to get healed and not die in five days.  He has no grand social revolutions or anything.  So as a viewer, who cares about some criminal just trying to save himself?

The plot relies way too much on preposterous coincidences, like Damon being in a house over night getting medical treatment, then one of only six drones scouring the entirety of L.A. passes by just as he first leaves the house.  Preposterous.

The effects are well done and there is a gritty feel, both of these things were outstanding in DISTRICT 9, here they just seem like director trademarks rather than building on the quality established in earlier work.

The world of ELYSIUM seemed interesting, but needed a much, much better story to create an effective movie.

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