movie review: ELYSIUM


Everybody has a favorite “type” of movie, a genre they prefer. They love the good ones and find themselves unable to stay away from the bad ones. I used to feel that way about sci fi films. But then came the SyFy channel, and I realized I must not love sci fi as much as I had thought. Because those things blow chunks.

I love movies like Elysium; set in the near dystopian future with space ships and advanced weaponry and bald Matt Damons. They get me every time. I think the first film I saw with my lovely future wife was Aeon Flux.

Yeah. Aeon Flux. And she still married me.

I also love it when sci fi films explore rich allegorical themes about morality and society and stuff. And trust me, Eysium lays it on thick. Thick as fondant icing. If you don’t know what fondant is, it’s delicious. And thick.

this fondant looks like muppet intestines.

this fondant looks like muppet intestines.

Elysium shows us a world that has been over run with garbage and dirt, so all the rich high-class snobs leave the planet and live on a space station that is super clean. They have all the best stuff there; like machines that heal anything wrong with you, green trees, and French Jodie Fosters.  Back on Earth, everything really goes to shit.. or at least we the audience are suppose to feel it has. Really, everything looks like how 90% of the world looks and operates right now. It’s like America decides to leave Earth and now everybodys’ screwed, right?

It’s completely clear that the movie is talking about immigration and border patrol issues. Whenever I think about those issues, all I can think about is the Jean Claude Van Damme film The Shepherd: Border Patrol.

Everything that needs to be said about  immigration and border control  are communicated perfectly in that scene. Elysium is just trying to be a hipper The Shepherd: Border Patrol. But how much hipper can you get than Van Damme with a rabbit?

Elysium has a straight forward plot that’s lean. It tells it’s story then sits down. I really respect it for that. It doesn’t feel like it’s trying too hard. Bald Matt Damon plays a pretty selfish character for most the film. He doesn’t set out to take down the rich yuppies in space and save all the dying people on dirty Earth. He really just wants to save himself. To be fair, he did have one really bad day. But he doesn’t even try to save his boyhood crush, or her dying daughter. I guess he wasn’t crushing on her as bad as he thought.

But Bald Matt Damon is not the bad guy in the film, this guy is.

intimidating, yes?

intimidating, yes?

That’s right, South African Sharlto Copley who starred  as the whiney guy in District 9 and the crazy Murdock in The A-Team is the head baddie. When French Jodie Foster first says, “Activate Kruger”, then shows Sharlto Copley, I was wondering how I was gonna take this guy seriously as a bad guy. He’s only ever played underdogs, little guy roles. But by the end of the movie, If someone yelled “Activate Kruger”, I’d  be pooping in my pants. Lots of poop, at that. Kruger was  sadistic, insane,creepy, and not somebody you’d wanna mess with. When it comes to great movie villains of 2013, Kruger tops the list.

don't let Kruger near your boyhood crush.

don’t let Kruger near your boyhood crush.

I suppose I was a little let down by Elysium, mostly because the director Neil Blomkamp’s last film was District 9, and District 9 was way more affective in every single way. But it’s a fine film that might have been better if only I hadn’t seen the  trailers or watched District 9. There is a lot to love about Elysium and I look forward to this directors’ future endeavors.

Now, if you haven’t seen The Shepherd: Border Patrol, come find me and we’ll make a night of it. I’ll bring the fondant.


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