Elysium: It’s Better Up There (2013)

Posted: August 9, 2013 in Action, Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller

elysium-firstposter-full2After overpopulation finally took its toll on the Earth’s surface, the wealthiest citizens embarked on their own mission to build a self-sustaining civilization orbiting the planet. In 2154, Elysium sits in the sky as a constant reminder of the separation between the wealthy and the rest. Max, a repeat felon, is trying to make it straight but cannot seem to keep himself out of trouble. When he runs into a childhood friend, he finally feels like things are finally starting to improve until an accident at work leaves him fatally wounded with only five days to live. With no real options, Max agrees to take on a deadly mission for information in order for a chance to get to a healing chamber on Elysium, the only way for him to survive.

Starring: Matt Damon (Max), Jodie Foster (Delacourt), Sharlto Copley (Kruger), Alice Braga (Frey), Diego Luna (Julio), Wagner Moura (Spider), William Fichtner (John Carlyle), Brandon Auret (Drake), Josh Blacker (Crowe), Emma Tremblay (Matilda)

Damon had his trademark edge to him, but it was clear that he prepared for more of a aggressive role for this film. With only moments of emotional strife, he was more of an action star than many of his other roles. Foster had a stern intensity that proved to fit the shoot first personality of her secretary role. Copley’s accent was a little much, but he was definitely not the type of person one would want to meet on the street. Braga was a little off-putting but it was somewhat understandable with her sole focus on her daughter’s health.

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Though not a follow up to the hit District 9, this space-age thriller by Blomkamp looked to take a different approach on the somewhat post-apocalyptic Earth where disparity was the lay of the land. The two part of society were drastically different, as the wealthy had a chance to escape the barren wasteland of Earth. The remaining citizens were subject to the poverty and overcrowding that led to a lack of resources. Delacourt was not the leader on Elysium but she certainly seemed to have the most control behind the scenes. While trying to protect Elysium, she realized that her power was being stifled by the opposing view of the rest of the cabinet, so she embarked on a plot to overthrow the president and used John Carlyle’s technology to do it. When his return to Elysium was disrupted, it sent her on the warpath to get revenge.

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For Max, his story was a much harsher one. Living in squabbles after years of thievery and jail time, he tried to go honest by getting a regular job, but he failed to control his temper. This led to problems with confrontations with the sentinels and his boss. The injury sustained at work forced him to take whatever means necessary to get to one of the healing chambers, even taking the work of the devious Spider. Getting outfitted with an exoskeleton, Max got the strength of a sentinel and the ability to download data directly into his mind. Though the attack on John proved to be somewhat fruitful, it also caused Max to have Kruger hot on his trail and making his ability to get to Elysium that much more complicated.

The film has a fairly compelling story and a gritty charm. The disparity between Elysium and Earth is intriguing. The only drawbacks were the shaking camera work during fight scenes and the lack of compelling dialogue to help further the acting opportunities of the cast. The random story by Tremblay was also a little out of place but had a somewhat shattered connection.

Dan’s Rating: 3.5/5


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