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Elysium (Movie) Review

 
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elysium-movie-poster-650x406
elysium-movie-poster-650x406

 
At A Glance...
 

Genre:
 
Director:
 
Age Rating:
 
Actor: , ,
 
Length: 109 minutes
 
Release Date: 21st August 2013 (UK)
 
Story Line: It’s the late 21st Century and the Earth has become over-polluted and over-populated. Its residents live in slums, disease is rife and employment rare. Society is policed by no-nonsense robots which enforce the law to the letter. Meanwhile, the planet’s elite have all escaped to Elysium, a luxurious, utopian space station where there is no disease or crime. They are waited on by robot servants and have illnesses and injuries cured by residential medical pods. Everyone on Earth wants to get to Elysium, whereas those in charge of its defence and security will do everything in their power to ensure nobody unwelcome gets in.
 
Final Score
 
 
 
 
 
2/ 5


User Rating
1 total rating

 

We liked?


An intriguing premise and visually stunning, similar in style and technique to Blomkamp's superb District 9

Not so much?


Laden with plot-holes, poorly written dialogue and below-par performances. The tiresome hand-held camera method also irritated.


Final Fiendish Findings?

At a little under two hours, this wasn’t even enjoyable entertainment to pass the time for me. I found it to be far too messy, far too flawed and way too intense for its own good and I really struggled to enjoy it. A really disappointing experience which has only made me want to dig out my District 9 DVD again.

0
Posted September 6, 2013 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings?
 
 

It’s the late 21st Century and the Earth has become over-polluted and over-populated. Its residents live in slums, disease is rife and employment rare. Society is policed by no-nonsense robots which enforce the law to the letter.  Meanwhile, the planet’s elite have all escaped to Elysium, a luxurious, utopian space station where there is no disease or crime. They are waited on by robot servants and have illnesses and injuries cured by residential medical pods. Everyone on Earth wants to get to Elysium, whereas those in charge of its defence and security will do everything in their power to ensure nobody unwelcome gets in. One such person is Matt Damon’s Max Da Costa, who upon learning that he only has a short amount of time to live following a major accident, undertakes drastic measures and sacrifices in order to make it to Elysium and cure himself.

This is the intriguing premise of Director Neil Blomkamp’s visually stunning follow-up to the superb District 9 and there are clear comparisons between the two; the robots are sleek and slim-line and share a similar physique to the aliens in District 9, whilst the slums inhabited by the aliens in District 9 and the people in Elysium also look distinctively similar. Blomkamp’s techniques and style deployed in Elysium also draw comparisons and I wonder if these will become something of a trademark for him.

However, despite these comparisons, Elysium is nowhere near as accomplished or even as entertaining when it comes to the plot, the characters, the dialogue or the action itself.

It’s wrought with plot-holes and scenes that had me shaking my head in combined confusion and disbelief, but worse yet was the atrocious screenplay, with the dialogue delivered by an array of performances that varied from over-the-top (Shartlo Copley, excellent in District 9) to mundane (Damon). Somewhere in a category all on her own is Jodie Foster, who was quite simply terrible and whether it was down to a technical issue with the editing or whether it was deliberate, boasted the most intriguing, distracting and confusing accent I think I’ve ever seen on screen.

These aren’t necessarily defining flaws in action / sci-fi films, as long as the action itself is exciting and well done. Unfortunately, though, this is not the case here. Blomkamp’s tiresome use of the hand-held camera technique meant it was near impossible to work out what was going on during some of the close-combat battles, and the shaky jolting during some of the higher tempo scenes was just irritating. It would be easy to reference Bourne here, what with Damon the headline star and The Borne Identity showing the world how the hand-held technique can be effectively utilised, but that wouldn’t really be fair to Blomkamp because he did manage to execute the method successfully in District 9. Why he couldn’t seem to be able to pull it off again here is just one of the many questions I have about this film.

What makes these issues all the more irritating is that the visuals truly are incredible, but whereas it is common to see films that are all style with no substance; i.e. they look spectacular and sacrifice a good plot and screenplay for intricate and detailed CGI; they tend not to take themselves too seriously and so you can allow for a few plot holes and some hammy acting if you are enjoying the visuals and effects. Elysium does take itself seriously, though, and it is trying (and failing) to tell a story. As a result, the poorly written plot and screenplay, the poorer performances and the badly constructed action scenes and set pieces become entirely noticeable in between the outstanding visuals.

At a little under two hours, this wasn’t even enjoyable entertainment to pass the time for me. I found it to be far too messy, far too flawed and way too intense for its own good and I really struggled to enjoy it. A really disappointing experience which has only made me want to dig out my District 9 DVD again.


John

 
A fan of quality TV and movies since as long as I can remember, I love watching, talking, writing and thinking about just about any film going. So that's what I'm going to do...