Good, Bad & Ugly Review: Elysium

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 66% (Critics) / 73% (Audience)
Directed By: Neill Blomkamp
Written By: Neill Blomkamp
Starring: Matt Damon, Alice Braga, Sharlto Copley, Diego Luna and Jodie Foster
Studio: TriStar Pictures

Synopsis:Set in the year 2154, where the very wealthy live on a man-made space station while the rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth, a man takes on a mission that could bring equality to the polarized worlds. – (Source)

The Good:
This movies visuals are amazing especially the dichotomy between the dystopian, damaged Earth and the idyllic satellite habitat of Elysium. The unique take on futuristic weapons that Blomkamp came up with was pretty snazzy too.
Matt Damon was also very compelling in his heroe’s journey from reformed crook turned selfish everyman to self-sacrificing hero of the masses. He was the most fully formed character in the entire movie and Damon was great in bringing him to life.
Blomkamp’s script also did a great job at showing parallels between current class and xenophobia issues and the heightened way those issues were prevalent in the future setting of the film.

The Bad:
Jodie Foster’s Defense Secretary Delacourt was shaping up to be a very intriguing villain but sadly all of that potential went to waste and the character was summarily tossed aside in favor of making Sharlto Copley’s less nuanced mercenary Kruger take center stage. It was a real waste.
Speaking of Kruger, he was a really screwy character and his motivation seemed to change from scene to scene. Nothing about the guy made sense and that lack of a focus for the character made him very easy to dismiss.
To be honest all of the characters in the movie aside from Matt Damon’s Max was so poorly fleshed out and superficial that their fates meant next to nothing to me.

The Ugly
If there were fleets of shuttles stocked to the gills with Med Pods then why exactly were the upper crust citizens of Elysium holding out on the Earth folks? I assumed it was a sparsity of resources that made the Elysium people so anti-immigrant and so opposed to merging the two societies but if the tech was so widespread then what was the point of the entire thing?

Final Verdict: ELYSIUM is a visually appealing movie with a compelling performance from Matt Damon that is able to make socially relevant commentary without being too preachy and creates a visually interesting future world. The film stumbles when the focus shifts from Damon’s character because all of the supporting players are paper thin and fail to grab the audience.

Grade: C+

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