Movie Review #409: Elysium (2013)

Visually captivating yet leaves so many things unexplored

Health is wealth, but in the world of Elysium it’s wealth that determines your access to the best health care in the solar system. Not only are the poor denied access to the best services technology can offer, they are also left behind in a dying earth while the rich enjoy the luxury of living in a pristine man-made space structure from afar. It’s an incredibly cynical take on the future. And with Neill Blomkamp’s heavy-handed direction you get to witness how people would be willing to risk everything to obtain their absolute and physiological necessities. Unfortunately, with so much focus put into those topics, other intriguing areas are left unexplored, which is very disappointing.

The film gave off a vibe similar to that of District 9, though somehow there seemed to be something missing. It could be due to my indifference towards the cast aside from Matt Damon, who single-handedly carried the film’s weight up to the ending. The other characters were either unlikeable (paging Jodie Foster) or forgotten by the story altogether. Where the plot headed wasn’t all that intriguing too. Sure it strikes up a conversation because of its relevance in our world today, but it comes at the expense of entertainment. Maybe I should’ve looked at it at a different light, but my expectations were completely different from what the film actually was.

I would’ve liked it more had they been less predictable when it came to finding out where they were going next. The journey from Earth to Elysium was hardly that exciting anymore after being told about that for the nth time. I also felt claustrophobic during the final act because they were so restricted by the area they were on, which contrasts the large scope the film could’ve utilized as a sci-fi. Where it disappoints the most though is its underutilization of the genre itself, since I had the most fun while they were tinkering with their weapons and using their healing machines. I also loved the imagining of the Elysium and the visuals were astonishing despite its relative scarcity. There just seemed to be a lack of human emotion in the film that couldn’t quite hook me deeper into the story. And these minute flaws sadly piled up and dragged down an otherwise interesting movie.

GRADE: C+

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