Matt Damon stars in the sci-fi action movie Elysium. But will society in America ever become as bad as it’s depicted in the movie?
Spoiler Warning. For those who have yet to see Elysium, be advised that there are spoilers in this post.
I’m a big fan of Matt Damon. He’s a great actor and I especially enjoyed his performances in the Bourne franchise movies. But Elysium, directed District 9 Helmer Neill Blomkamp, should be the kind of movie that a sci-fi geek such as myself would love, but unfortunately I barely liked it.
Synopsis: It’s 2154 and the rich and privileged have left Earth to live on a gigantic space station in Earth orbit called Elysium. It’s a Paradise, and the inhabitants have no worries except for the illegal immigrants from the planet making attempts to infiltrate it. On Earth, the remaining citizens live in overpopulated poverty and a totalitarian society patrolled by robot police.
Matt Damon’s character is a former criminal turned honest working guy, who has dreamed of going to Elysium his whole life. And when he’s exposed to radiation on the job and given five days to live, he decides to go to Elysium to use one of their med-pods which can cure him.
What I liked:
1. The Futuristic Tech - Even in dreary future as depicted in Elysium, it seems technology geeks will still have a lot fun regardless.
2. Matt Damon’s exoskeleton – The application of it onto Damon’s body and how he uses it definitely stands out on the movie.
What I didn’t like:
1. I liked the action sequences and special effects. But unfortunately they’re overshadowed by the weight of the themes in the movie.
2. I loved Neill Blomkamp’s District 9. The character development and story made sense in that film in ways that they don’t in Elysium. Where things fit into place seamlessly in District 9, in Elysium things just seemed forced fit into place whether it makes sense or not.
3. As much as I like Matt Damon, there’s just something missing from his character. Max’s motivations seem forced and without logic, which makes you question almost every decision he makes.
4. I didn’t understand the logic of why the med-pods only existed on Elysium? You would think that there would be a thriving black market for the technology on Earth considering the heath care situation in the movie. And dying is sad true enough, but what would the world be like if no one died? And they think it’s overpopulated now?
The parallels that Blomkamp made in District 9 with the aliens and Apartheid in South Africa made sense. But there was also a certain logic behind it, because in that film you’re dealing with aliens and not humans. The themes that dominate Elysium such as health care and immigration seem to be told from only one perspective, all negative.
Is it really so bad in America today that the filmmakers really think the immigration and health care problems rival anything close to that of Apartheid? It seems like a major stretch to me. Some would have you think that people in America are all going untreated and dying in droves of plague and disease, but that’s not the case is it?
The movie’s themes depicts those on Elysium as evil rich snobs and those on Earth as poor lowly victims. But rich people made this movie and I’m sure those people and it’s stars more than likely live in secluded mansion filled communities for the rich and powerful just like on Elysium.
If Blomkamp and Damon actually lived in the world of Elysium, where do you think they’d live if they had a choice? And rich actors like Matt Damon probably have access to the kind of health care that the average person could never afford access to. Given those advantages, why do they have a problem with this set up in today’s society? Is it guilt? It all seems so hypocritical.
By going out of their way to hammer home the over-bearing social themes of the movie, it made it hard to enjoy it for what it is at its core, a sci-fi action movie. The story itself, was made much too complicated because they tried too hard to explain to the audience why we need to care about the social issues.
But why not let the audience decide for themselves what’s relevant? Just like I don’t think Matt Damon is evil for living in his mansion in reality, the people on Elysium couldn’t possibly be all evil either, so why the depiction? I think Elysium could have been a very good movie, if they had just simplified things and not tried to make a huge social commentary out of what should have been just a great summer action movie.
- A Film with a Mission, Elysium bores (entitledcritics.wordpress.com)
- Film Review – Elysium (2013) (jordanandeddie.wordpress.com)
- Elysium wastes potential (cupof-joe.com)
- Movie Review: Elysium (alexclmediamaster.wordpress.com)