Monday, April 06, 2015

Elysium (2013)

When I first saw the coming attractions for Elysium, I liked the idea.  There was someone who had to go to an orbiting space station because they had what he needed.  I was wondering how it was handled.  When I was finally able to rent the movie, I liked it, but I was a little disappointed.

Matt Damon plays Max. Max is a factory worker in Los Angeles.  One day, he’s exposed to a lethal dose of radiation and basically written off.  He’s given medication to deal with the side effects, but he has just days to live.  This sucks, mostly because the technology to cure him does exist.  There’s just one problem:  It’s all on an orbiting space station called Elysium.

Elysium is where the upper class lives.  They get all the good stuff while everyone else gets to live in slums.  If someone from Earth tries to go to the station, their ship is destroyed.  It’s basically the ultimate gated community.  Max has basically zero hope of making it there to get the help he needs, but he has to try anyway.  He has help, but it’s still no cakewalk.

I can understand the movie not being perfect.  This is Neill Blomkamp’s second movie.  His first was District 9, though.  The problem with coming off such a good movie is that people will have much higher expectations.  The message of District 9 was a little more subtle.  Here, it’s more like, “We get it already.”  The movie makes too much of a point of showcasing the immigration and healthcare issues that Earth and, by extension, Elysium have.  Elysium has all the good stuff and the people of Earth need it pretty badly.

It was a good idea that wasn’t executed as well as it could have been.  I have to wonder why there were no medical machines on Earth.  You’d think someone would at least make a bootleg version.  People try to sell panaceas all the time.  In this future, it’s not hard to imagine that someone would have a fake or sub-par med bay.  It would have made for an interesting side story, at least.

I know most people will freak out if I talk about the ending, even if I don’t give away specifics.  However, that was really the only bad part for me.  I felt like it wasn’t as strong as the rest of the movie.  At least the bulk was relatable.  Max is in need of attention and he’s willing to go to great lengths to get it.  The ending almost didn’t seem to fit the rest of the story.  This is one of those movies that I may have to watch again to pick up on things.  I’ll probably wait to watch it with someone else.

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