Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday Matinee: Elysium (2013)

 My son and I had some serious anticipation for this movie.  We happen to be big appreciators of "District 9", which was written and directed by a South African whipper-snapper named Neill Blomkamp, and this was to be his next big hit.  The trailer was inspired.  The enigmatic new actor that carried "District 9" (Sharlto Copley) was back as the antagonist and then there was the buffed up Matt Damon, you see.  So our expectations were high.


So let me set it up for you.  It is the year 2154, and Earth has become diseased and overpopulated.  The wealthy jump ship to a sanitized, man-made world called Elysium, which is a 20 minute shuttle ride away from our ruined planet.  This manufactured paradise is run by computers and robot-like humans with microchips in their brains, and all injury and disease is cured by lying in a tanning booth kinda thing.  The poor and downtrodden stare up at Elysium with longing.
  








Max (Damon) grew up as one of the poor, an orphan, vowing to one day go to this utopia.  He promises his childhood soul mate Frey (Alice Braga) that they will someday go to Elysium together.   As an adult he is as far away from his goal as he could possibly be though.  He is an ex-con, he lives in a shit hole, and works in a factory.  One day, there is an accident, and he receives a lethal dose of radiation and is informed he has 5 days to live.  He decides that it is now or never.  He agrees to accept a dangerous mission that may allow him to fulfill his childhood dream and promise.  And possibly, at the same time, save the Earth.










Jodi Foster gets top billing for this movie, but she plays a fairly two-dimensional ice queen that runs Elysium's "homeland security".  She presses red buttons and has little value for human life and has a weird accent.  She did not add any depth in the scheme of things.

My favorite character, as expected, was Sharlto Copley as Kruger, the ex-rapist under-the-radar hitman "fixer" for the administration of Elysium.  He is interesting, this actor.  I wouldn't mind watching him in whatever he does.










My son would completely disagree with my opinion...he thought the movie was awesome (he loved the fight scenes and the head explosions) but I was underwhelmed by it all.  The plot was fairly predictable but satisfying, the acting ranged from good to boring, the world-building was OK.  My son would tell you that you have to take the movie for what it is and roll with it.  This is a sci-fi dystopian action flick, and to him, it delivers...great effects, great fight scenes.  There are also heavy messages of class and health care disparity, as well as other social commentary. But after the first half of the movie, the plot turns barbaric and simplistic, leaving me scratching my head about system reboots and saving the world.  I felt rushed.  Sad that an hour and forty minute movie seems that way, but this is the way I've been programmed.

Bottom line is that I was entertained but my brain only buzzed a little.  This was a missed opportunity.

3.5 out of 5 stars   
       




10 comments:

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Sounds like my husband would like it, but I would probably react like you!

irisonbooks.com said...

Hmm.. I might still go see this as I pay a monthly fee for the cinema and wouldn't have to pay for this movie specifically, but I can't say I'm looking forward to it much after reading your post. And I wasn't quite as blown away by the trailer to begin with.. Perhaps I will end up skipping it? Or I'll tell my partner to feel free to go see it when I'm away, or something :)

bermudaonion said...

I'm so impressed that you went to see this with your son. You're a better woman than I am.

Tasha Brandstatter said...

Aw man. :( This movie looked awesome in the previews.

Beth F said...

So totally not me or Mr. BFR. I won't be watching this one

caite said...

head explosions? wow, now we are talking!
Not..
lol

Iliana said...

Oddly enough this is one movie I really want to see - could be because of the Matt Damon & Diego Luna factors :)

I'll keep my expectations in check!

Literary Feline said...

I really liked District 9 as well. I think I fall somewhere between your son and you on this one. I liked it quite a bit, and, on face value, thought it was well done. I just . . . well . . . wasn't satisfied at the end. I think I expected more. And the ending seemed all too pat.

Julie P. said...

I wish I had the desire to go to more movies! I just can't seem to sit through them...

stacybuckeye said...

I was shocked when Jason chose not to see this movie last weekend when it was his choice. He hadn't heard good things. I was ok with that since it doesn't look my kind of movie. I was one of the few that didn't like District 9.
I do look forward to sharing movies like these with Gage someday. Sounds like a fun afternoon with your kid :)