Friday, August 9, 2013

Movie Review: "Elysium"

Writer/director Neil Blomkamp's Elysium is much like his prior feature, District 9, a message movie that takes itself too darn seriously and never has much fun.

The title of the film refers to a space station orbiting Earth, called Elysium.  In the future, the rich have left Earth to live on Elysium, while the rest live in poverty and squalor on Earth, that's where we find Matt Damon's Max.  Max is given only five days to live, but they can miraculously cure him if he can get to Elysium, but of course the "border patrol" of Elysium don't want any illegal immigrants on their space station and will fight him at all costs.  Sound heavy handed?  That's because it is.  The thing is, nothing is wrong with a message movie, but when the film is zero fun, that's when I have a problem with it.

The thing with Elysium is that none of the characters are really that likable.  There is no real sense of hope, warmth, or just the goodness of humanity.  The film's just all doom and gloom while trying to hammer home Blomkamp's personal beliefs.  The thing is, this could have been a five times better film had Blomkamp made the characters we're supposed to care about enjoyable to spend time with.  Would it have killed for Matt Damon to of cracked a joke once in a while, or behaved in any way truly heroic?  Whether anyone wants to admit it or not, this is a $100 million Summer popcorn extravaganza, and I don't wanna feel depressed when I leave a movie where I kind of just wanted entertainment with a little bit of substance, rather than substance with no entertainment.

While Elysium manages to skate by with enough action and dazzling imagery to not be a complete waste of nearly two hours, if you've seen the trailers you have seen the best of what this movie has to offer.

I give Elysium a D!

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