December 23, 2013
I think District 9 is easily one of the best Sci-Fi films in recent years so when I saw the trailer for this movie and that it was from the same director, Neil Blomkamp, I thought it looked promising. The movie takes place in the mid 22nd century where Earth is overpopulated and stricken by poverty and crime. The wealthy and privileged have built an extravagant habitat that hovers above Earth where any sickness or weakness can be cured almost instantly. With the constant reminder of a far better quality of life in the skies above, to no surprise almost everyone on Earth wants to find a way to live on Elysium. Blomkamp’s dystopian vision of the future is certainly intriguing, but is surprisingly undeveloped.
Considering the small number of strong Sci-Fi films to come along, what Elysium does well definitely deserves praise. The vision of the future is thought provoking and seemingly not that far-fetched depending on what the future brings. The movie is also atmospheric, features high octane action, and excellent production design. It succeeds at pulling you into its dystopian future, which is really a feat in itself. However, the lack of development of the back-story and the characters are the movie’s biggest faults. The main character, Max (Matt Damon), is one of the only people you really know much about. He is an ex-con. now trying to work a regular job who abruptly is forced into a mission to Elysium to save his own life. Matt Damon does a good job with what he is given, but more about his character, the universe he lives in, and even his love interest, Frey (Alice Braga), would make it a much stronger movie.
If you enjoyed District 9 this movie has a similar appeal to it, but is unfortunately not of the same caliber. It keeps your interest while the film rolls, but doesn’t linger long after it stops.