ELYSIUM was a fast paced and engaging action/sci-fi ride with enough wam-bam, brutality and jaw dropping visuals for me to get my fill! With that; I expected more meat and originality from director Neill Blomkamp, taking into account DISTRICT 9, but more on that later. Lets focus on the positive for now! Much like DISTRICT 9, ELYSIUM sported a social commentary, one that addressed the social class problem we have today while dabbling in the immigration trouble as well, border jumping and all. NOTE: I loved how everybody spoke Spanish in this future North American world, it's where it's heading in the US of A cabrones! Thank Crom my Spanish is getting better and better. END OF NOTE. Sure, the rich Vs. poor thing was played up big time and devoid of any shades of grey (Are the rich truly all emotionless twats that do jack-shit all day? Maybe they are...). But hey, the themes were there, were brought home with gusto and they affected me enough for me to root for RoBo-Damon to whoop that bling ass to kingdom come, all that mattered.
I dug that the flick laid down its wild cards off the bat and then upped the stakes VERY high after that. Things needed to be done, lives needed to be saved and on top of that there was a ticking clock ploy tagged to all of it (shades of the 1950 film D.O.A. and its 1988 remake). The latter angle definitely jacked up the tension and my investment in the proceedings. Now that I think of it, this was two kinds of movies rolled into one: a chase movie, with Damon being hunted down by mercs and it was a mission movie, seeing Damon having to accomplish a hefty task in the name of saving the common folks from their piss poor existence. Kind of like Rocket Robin Hood I guess! Hey-ho! And on those fronts, ELYSIUM delivered. The chase sequences were nuts and the random gunfights were visceral to say the least! On top of that, the slew of futuristic gadgets, Halo like weaponry, incredibly well done CGI robotic cops and nifty spaceships all kicked in to up my enjoyment! I loved the ideas here, the production designs and their stellar execution. But what mucho blew my one brain cell was ELYSIUM itself! The space station, acting as an outer space Eden meets a posh Country Club was a sight to behold! And the CG execution of it was simply FLAWLESS! Wow...
Casting wise, aces high once again! Matt Damon made for an affable lead, tough yet vulnerable. His arc was similar to the arc of the lead in DISTRICT 9: Selfish dude goes through a transformation, he then has a self centered goal, which eventually becomes less about himself and more about others. Damon was freaking genius here and he tackled the varied levels of his character like the vet that he is. Jodie Foster chewed the scenery fervently as the villain-ness of the movie who spoke French perfectly (not sure what accent she had when she spoke English though) and she pimped them Armani suits like nobody's lap dog. On her end, Alice Braga was credible and likeable as the token love interest. The side players were the tits too! Wagner Moura often stole his scenes as the Rebel leader Spider, you can never go wrong with William Fichner playing a Grade A jerk and Sharlto Copley went buck nuts as the villainous mercenary Kruger. I didn't understand half of what that mofo was saying, but that was part of his psycho charm! The film came to life 10 notches higher every time he was onscreen! A truly memorable show. Add to that quality Blomkamp going ape shit behind the camera with all kinds of zany shots and powerful slow motion laced moments and you get a well rounded movie!
So what was my problem with it then? Well, I found the chain of events to be fairly predictable i.e. I knew what was gonna go down before it did, pretty much every step of the way. The picture as a whole was also way too conventional for its own good and that took me aback when taking into account that Neill Blomkamp was behind it (the lad wrote it as well). Moreover, I didn't feel they did all they could do with the exoskeleton angle. It's a pretty freaking money idea! I expected RoBo-Damon to do the human laundry way more than he did here! They should've milked it further! Finally the ending had me asking HOW would it "all realistically work" down the road and there were a couple of conveniences to serve the plot, nothing major, but it had to be elbow dropped.
With that arrow slung in your head, ELYSIUM still made for a groovy sit down! It was fast paced, looked fantastic, had all kinds of nifty action set pieces and the random gory goods were esteemed by this gorehound. Alas, it stuck too close to the mold for it to match DISTRICT 9 as a Sci Fi gem. I guess that's what happens when you get a huge budget and a big and bad Studio shadow looming over your shoulder. I still recommend you see it on the big screen though! Worth the coin yo!