After seeing the trailer when we went to see Word War Z, I really wanted to see Elysium. I heard reports of what a great movie it was. Icing on the cake was Matt Damon criticising Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers when he visited to promote the movie.
Mr O and I saw Elysium last night. It seems to me Hollywood has become so tied up in special effects and computer generated “stuff” they have forgotten the foundation of any GREAT movie is a damn good story!
Elysium has a great story concept, but the concept is not followed through: because of this in my view the movie didn’t deliver. There were continuity problems: a main character dies at one point and I have no idea why the killer dispatched the character. The computer cables had some very out-dated looking connectors on them, although the majority of viewers may not notice. Heard of mini-USBs, guys? There is a fight scene that, while quite good choreography, doesn’t seem to make sense in the overall plot. The scene when Max (Matt Damon) breaks his arm carries meaning and message: the rest of the movie needed to be the same quality as that scene.
Much time was spent on childhood flashbacks: this may have been better spent on providing a deeper look at the world. What was the President actually president of? The world? Elysium? The USA? The context was missing. Where were all the Chinese and Indians, the two population groups that account for the majority of the world’s population today? To me, a good movie transports the viewer into the world created by the movie. A great movie either answers story questions or is powerful enough to enable the viewer to suspend belief and happily ignore questions: Elysium did neither.
The concept of every man, woman and child living on earth suffering oppression and persecution is not so far-fetched if we look at the world today in 2013, let alone some 141 years hence. 99% of the world population as asylum seekers: great plot potential. I think back to Blood Diamond, another story of oppression and persecution. The characters were well-rounded, the movie had credibility and we were not left feeling half the plot was missing.
The two main female characters were at the extremes of the spectrum (nurturer to Nazi), but then the male characters were extreme too. These are not well-rounded characters which may simply mean that by 2154 we have all become extreme.
Overall, I think the movie is too short. Elysium could have benefited from more emphasis on the story and less on the special effects and fight scenes. Speaking of fights, I will never understand how people with fantastically destructive weaponry can miss the damn targets so often! I suppose it builds tension but in close combat it just looks, well, silly.
Is it worth seeing? Well, yes, it is entertainment but I don’t recommend you lash out for Gold Class! As a sci-fi fan, I wasn’t overly impressed. I’d rate it 5 or 6 out of 10. Matt Damon did the best he could with the script he was given. Jodie Foster, whom I consider a terrific actress, didn’t get to shine either.
Sahil Jon, from the other side of the world, has also written his thoughts on Elysium. Sahil sees some different issues which I found interesting and you might too, so I suggest you visit his review. He is tougher than I am! While we each saw different issues, we came to almost the same conclusion.
Yes, Sahil, it did have to potential to be a sci-fi classic. Sadly, it didn’t make it.