Elysium (starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster) comes from the director of District 9. District 9 is one of my favorite movies of all time with its documentary style and social commentary. Elysium did not quite live up to the standard I was expecting but was still worth the Red Box rental.
Jodie Foster plays a selfish, self-centered French politician who is a citizen of the orbital habitat Elysium, a refuge for the wealthy who fled an extremely over-crowded and over-taxed Earth. She has no qualms repelling illegals who attempt to infiltrate the habitat in order to find a medbay and seek treatment for injuries and illnesses.
Matt Damon portrays an orphan name Max on Earth who sees reaching Elysium as the ultimate goal of his life, staring frequently at the clearly visible habitat from the squalor of Los Angeles. As an adult, Max works for the factory that manufacturers police droids, ironic since he recently spent time in prison for grand theft auto and is on probation.
The landscape of Earth shows row upon row of run-down apartments, with build-ons stacked on top of each other. Even the skyscrapers have shanty towns constructed on the tops and sides of the buildings in order to house the billions of people. Work and medical services are difficult to come by and dozens of extras on screen use canes and others transportation assistance. The police droids regularly brutalize anyone suspected of illegal activity, and the probation office is a computer program addressing Max through a speaker mounted in a plastic face.
The cinematography varies throughout the film, from the standard Hollywood poses to the shaky documentary style to a stylistic streaked blur during action scenes. Each choice exemplifies the moment.
Anyone looking for action will be satisfied with the half-dozen fire fights featuring advanced, extremely fatal weaponry. Deaths are graphic, with bodies plainly torn apart in explosions. An unauthorized sleeper agent, Sharlto Copley (District 9), chases down Max and his team in order to stop them from reaching Elysium, using remote locator droids, explosive throwing stars, and protecting himself with a personal forcefield. The technology of war very often exceeds that of peace and health.
I found a few holes in the story, and I hate to pose spoilers here for those who haven’t seen the film. Suffice it to say, if the wealthy on Elysium have no interest in helping the poor on Earth, there are a vessels used at the end of the movie that would never exist, and it seems incredibly easy to reboot and rewrite the computer system for the entire habitat.
That being said, the movie is still worth the watch for any sci-fi or dystopia enthusiast. The future provided is entirely plausible and well expressed.