Saturday, August 10, 2013

Elysium - Movie Review

Rating: **1/2

Set in 2154, the movie Elysium is another future doom's day movie where the Earth is over-populated, trashed, and in ruins. Only the very rich get to live in luxury on a space station aka a "habitat" called Elysium. The movie takes an extreme look at a world full of have-nots whose populace gazes upon another world full of the "haves" who have abandoned them. Not only does Elysium offer its "citizens" nothing but the very best, but also they have the best medical technology that saves lives -- and here is where the plot falls apart for me. It made zero sense that Elysium politicians would not share this revolutionary technology with the rest of the planet below. But it then again, without this plot device the movie would simply become, "I want to live there not here." And who wouldn't want to live in paradise compared to what Earth has become. I kept wondering, where did they find such great sets? The squalor was well done.

While I found Elysium engaging and well-paced, I wasn't impressed with the story per se. As noted, the medical angle made no sense. The story centers on Max, played by Matt Damon, who was raised in a convent and falls in love with Frey, who reads stories of Elysium to him. The young kids develop a bond that continues into adulthood. When Max is radiated in a job-related accident he has five days to live, which creates the urgency to get up to Elysium and be cured. His sickness precipitates the need for this exoskeleton fitting that I found rather obtrusive, and I kept thinking Matt Damon looked awkward in it (a distraction vs. a nice prop piece). In the meantime, we have the cold and proper head of Homeland Security on Elysium played viciously by Jody Foster who instigates a coup to bring down the government and place herself in power. This situation erupts when Max inadvertently ends up with the "keys-to-the-kingdom" information in his head. At the risk of giving away spoilers, all I will say is this is another action-driven popcorn flick that if you're in the mood for decent entertainment on a Friday night, go for it.

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