Elysium (2013) Movie Review

Elysium Movie PosterElysium

  • Rating – R
  • August 2013
  • Director – Neill Blomkamp
  • Matt Damon – Max Da Costa
  • Jodie Foster – Jessica Delacourt
  • Sharlto Copley – Kruger
  • Alice Braga – Frey Santiago
  • Wagner Moura – Spider


I Need to Get to Elysium

Back in 2009 Director Neill Blomkamp made a little sci-fi movie called District 9. This little movie got nominated at the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Visual Effects, Editing, and Adapted Screenplay. Elysium is Blomkamp’s follow up to his critically acclaimed District 9. Will Elysium have the same results?

Elysium space station

It’s Time to Change Everything

In the future of 2154, earth has become an overcrowded waste land policed by strict androids. Outside of earth, there is a space station called Elysium where the wealthy lives. Elysium is full of plant life, clean air, and machine a that can cure any illness or permanent injury with a press of a button. Many people try to escape earth to live a better life, but only get shot down or deported back to earth by Jessica Delacourt (Jodie Foster), who is the Secretary of Defense of Elysium.

Back on earth, trying live to a honest life, Max (Matt Damon) has given up stealing cars and works at a factory making androids. One day Max gets into an accident at the factory and is exposed to dangerous amounts of radiation. He was given only a few days to live.

Max goes to an old acquaintance Spider (Wagner Moura), who seems to be the leader of smuggling and the selling of black market items. Max’s plan is to go to Elysium and use the medical station to heal his radiation. Spider agrees to help him get to Elysium for a favor. He is to download information directly from a brain of a citizen of Elysium, who is currently on earth. Spider noticing the radiation affecting Max, he gives him an old exoskeleton to boost his strength and also be able to download the information. Will Max be able to get the information? What does the information contain?

Max ready for action
We Will Hunt You to the Edge of the Earth for This

Elyium was beautifully shot and there was some neat action when it happened, but it just seemed very vanilla. Action scenes were innovated, but there weren’t many. The film drags heavily from this and the fact it doesn’t know where to focus makes the characters arcs seems to be rushed. Matt Damon and Jodie Foster tried to do their best with their characters considering they have no direction and are limited to a weak script. Sharlto Copley on the other hand had a blast playing Kruger, Elysium’s enforcer. Even when Copley was not in action, his performance was captivating even though his motivations lost me at the end.

The big problem is the problem is the social and political commentary it tries to make. Basically, it fails to make it’s point especially at the end. Starting off with a serious tone the movie ends up with a lot plot holes. The plot holes are created by random elements to clumsily move the plot forward. I don’t want to spoil anything, but here are some holes to ponder at. Why do need radiation to make robots? Way wasn’t there a fail a safe in the radiation room? Why aren’t the androids operating the radiation room instead of humans? Is Kruger the only defense for smugglers? There’s no planetary defense on Elysium? How does Elysium have an atmosphere? It’s literally a spinning ring with no barrier between the earth like habitat and space.

Kruger sharpening his sword
You Can Save Everyone

Did Blomkamp make a strong follow up to his critically acclaimed District 9. Sadly, no. He had strong visuals, cool creative weapons, and got an insane performance from Copley. On the other hand the action is sparse, a story with plot holes which shoots itself in it’s foot while trying to make a statement, and a feeble script. As much as I love District 9, I cannot recommend this film. Only watch it for Copley’s performance if anything and that’s if it is on Netflix, cable tv, or if somebody lets you borrow the DVD.

Random Info I got from this File:
  • Never be sarcastic to androids
  • Portable force shields are handy
  • In the future, if you have your face completely blown off, you can still be healed
Other Files to check:
  • District 9
  • Serenity
  • Blade Runner
File Status: 5 out of 10
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Graphic designer by day, and movie blogger whenever I can. Been watching films in the 80s and never lost the love for it. Started Movie Case Files in 2012, and kept writing random reviews ever since. Besides movies, I like watching UFC, collecting retro video games, spending time with the wife, and bacon.

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