Easily one of my most anticipated films of 2013 and it didn’t disappoint! I was absolutely enthralled with District 9 and so I have eagerly been awaiting Neill Blomkamp’s follow up to his classic feature film debut. What I loved about D9, and what Blomkamp brought to Elysium, is an understanding of the horrific side of sci-fi and how messed up the journey can (and should) be. I knew before seeing this that, much like Wikus of D9, Matt Damon’s character Max was going to be put through hell and it was going to be grimy all the way through… and it certainly was. Not only is the grime and grittiness ever-present, but there is also such a beauty to this film. A director who also does visual effects and does them so well is a true talent in this industry. He crafts well thought out stories and then brings the visuals to life like no other. The budget for this was $90 million, considering the amount of CGI in this film that is very impressive. It may be CGI heavy but Blomkamp and his team create truly vibrant and previously unseen visuals that will take your breath away and make you forget that it’s computer generated.
I hate to keep bringing up D9 but I can’t help but make the comparisons. It has the feel and look of D9, which leads one to believe that maybe these two stories share the same universe, only separated by hundreds of years. Part of me was secretly hoping I would see a prawn run by in the background but no such luck. Matt Damon is in the lead here and his foe is a true psychotic who goes by the name Kruger, played by Sharlto Copley, who in some way works for the people who run Elysium. He is a monster who doesn’t know compassion or mercy; he kills or captures by any means. This is what I love to see in sci-fi, brutality and bizarre situations that make you really feel out of place and with Kruger that is certainly delivered.
In the year 2154, mankind is divided into two groups; the rich who are fortunate enough to afford to live on Elysium free of disease, aging, and other aspects of natural life. The other group is on the overpopulated planet Earth and suffer from lack of proper nutrition and healthcare (sounds like it is now) and are simply forgotten by the wealthy unless they require some kind of service that they deem beneath them. This is where we meet Max, a former criminal turned honest worker who goes to a dead end job that will amount to nothing as he builds robots on an assembly line. His job on the line is to place a chest piece on a partially built bot and then place a group of them in a highly radiated room for final completion. After a major malfunction Max is accidentally locked in the room as the lethal amount of radiation courses through his body. Nobody from management cares and so he is simply fired and forced to die from the radiation all alone.
With only five days to live his only option is to sneak onto Elysium and get to a med pod which can cure the body of ANY ailment or disease and it does this almost instantly. Unfortunately for Max, Elysium is highly secured and protected with extreme prejudice, destroying any ship making an illegal attempt to land. With nothing left he takes a job with his old criminal gang who guarantee him a ship to Elysium and a renewal of life. Too weak from the radiation an exoskeleton type suit is hard wired into his cerebral cortex thus creating a man with superhuman abilities and a chance to end this reign of poverty that those on Elysium have been forcing on those down below. His journey will be painful and very bloody, but his victory could mean a major shift in history for all of mankind.
I don’t think this will achieve critical acclaim like D9 did, but I think that this is worthy of following such an epic film. Everything about this is big and visceral and surreal. And yet there is a familiarity that allows the audience to connect with Damon’s character who is a forgotten, lower class individual. I think we can all say we feel that quite a bit from our own government and I think this film comments on that in an alternate reality of spaceships and robots. In the end though it is all about this man’s hellish journey to change the way things are for the better and to bring us on one kick-ass ride. Damon is top notch as always, Copley is a formidable adversary working for the cold-hearted Delacourt, played by Jodie Foster ,and Frey played by Alice Braga who brings an element of kindness out of Damon’s character and reminds him of what is really at stake. He, through a tough upbringing, has been molded into a hardened man who has nothing left and she brings him back to a time when he felt loved and needed. This is one awesome movie and should certainly be experienced at least once in the theater. Elysium is finally here!
Rated R for: strong bloody violence and language throughout
Run Time: 109 minutes
After Credits Scene: None
Starring: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga, Diego Luna
Directed By: Neill Blomkamp
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 4/ Acting: 4/ Directing: 5/ Visuals: 5
OVERALL: 4.5 Nerdskulls
Watch the Trailer: