Review: Elysium (2013)

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elysium poster

“I’m not interested in your little ideas. I’m interested in something much larger. This habitat is dying. There is a political sickness inside of it. A tumor that needs to be removed.”
– Secretary of Defense Delacourt

In a futuristic dystopian future, the world has been divided again. It is 2154 and the rich and affluent people of Earth have moved to Elysium, a lavish space habitat, beautiful, technologically advanced and safe, not overpopulated and desolate like Earth. On Earth, cruel robots control everything, people answering to them. Max Da Costa (Matt Damon) is one of the unfortunate ones trapped on Earth, but convinced he will have the money and means one day to buy a ticket to Elysium, to live life freely. Max has a criminal record, and it counts against him. He is a parolee and works for the assembly line Armadyne Corp. Max is not high up on the food chain and works himself to the bone. An unfortunate incident with the police bots gets Max some more time tacked to his parole, but his unfortunate meeting with them re-acquaints him with Frey (Alice Braga), a childhood friend.

elysium ill

“I could write a reboot sequence and shut down the entire system. And at that point… you could encode a new president, yes.” – John Carlyle

Returning to work after the incident with the police bots, an accident occurs which has Max lethally poisoned by radiation, leaving him with a remaining five days to live. Amradyne CEO John Carlyle (William Fichtner) is callous and uncaring towards Max’s situation, just wanting him out of the building. Max returns home, where his friend Julio (Diego Luna) cares for him. Max needs one of the Elysium Med-Bays to help him, and appeals to smuggler Spider (Wagner Moura) for a ticket up there, not caring that three other ships that attempted to reach Elysium were shot down. Eventually Spider relents when he brokers a deal – Max will get his citizenship and ticket up there if he hijacks financial information from en Elysium higher up, and Max decides to use Carlyle. Max then goes into surgery in which Spider’s men hook him up to a powered exoskeleton to sustain him and help him with the job. Meanwhile, on Elysium, Secretary of Defense Delacourt (Jodie Foster) is in a lot of trouble with Elysian President Patel (Faran Tahir) for having dispatched formidable sleeper agent Kruger (Sharlto Copley) to eradicate the three approaching ships. Kruger is cut loose, and Delacourt turns to Carlyle to make a deal to overthrow the current Elysium computer core and grant herself presidency, while Carlyle will get all future defense contracts for the next two hundred years.

elysium getting someone ready

“They will hunt you to the edge of the Earth for this.” – Spider

Max is not happy about his deal with Spider, but is desperate to get up to Elysium and heal himself – he wants to survive. When Max and his guys attack Carlyle, Delacourt gets Kruger back into action, who is sent out to put a stop to all the madness. Max is wounded in the getaway, what with the information from Carlyle he downloaded but cannot access. He goes to Frey, whom he learns has a daughter named Matilda (Emma Tremblay), who is dying of leukemia. Frey wants Max to take Matilda with him and heal her, though he refuses, citing that it is too dangerous out there. Max goes to Spider to free himself form Earth and become and Elisium citizen, and they learns that the program that they have intercepted from Carlyle can be used to make everyone a citizen of Elysium. Delacourt has put Earth under lockdown, and no ships can leave. Frustrated, Max realises that he will have to sort something out with Kruger. Meeting with Kruger to make the trade (his health for the important information in his head), he is shocked to find out that Kruger has taken Frey and Matilda hostage.

elysium kruger frey

“The only thing I can do to help you is leave, I promise you.” – Max Da Costa

Will Max be able to find a way to keep Matilda and Frey safe? Will he be given his citizenship when he turns over the information? Will Kruger allow Max to live? What will happen to everyone on Earth? Will Matilda be saved? Will Kruger realise the importance of the information in Max’s head and use it to his own dreaded ends?

elysium kruger

“It’s just a flesh wound!” – Agent Kruger

A 4/10 for Elysium, and that is being far too kind. Wtf world?! Two incredibly good friends of mine were very insistent that I not shoot the film down and check it out, so I got pretty amped to see what it was all about at the rate they were going. I mean how the hell does Jan Pierewiet get worked into a movie? A South African actor garnering the praise from so many people globally as one of the best movie villains in ages? I just had to experience this for myself. And I did. And oh boy, what a freaking disasterpiece! The camera work was just dreadful, all over the show and not sure of the story it was supposed to tell. The soundtrack is another something I was not sold on. Then let me get to Agent Kruger. Dammit I was excited, sure that he would bring to the movie what was missing. I was so sadly mistaken. For one, his pronunciation/accent was overkill and made us all sound like retards in South Africa (I will blame this on overacting, I swear people, we don’t sound like that), and he was not scary in the least. This was something that really bothered me. I heard so many account of how fresh and new he was and how frightening. He was laughable at worst and used incorrectly. The dialogue was freaking dreadful in here, and had my other half and myself in stitches half the time for how badly it came together. Wow! I was prepared to shoot someone if I heard the words “boytjie” uttered one more time or “we’ve got a runner”. Wtf why?! Again, confusion reigned supreme for the majority of this. I reckon it is now safe to assume that I am not a Neill Blomkamp fan, as I was one of the few people in the world that couldn’t abide District 9, either, and this was a massive step back from that (although maybe I should attempt District 9 again sometime). I am so sad to see Matt Damon’s name attached to this project! Overall, definitely something I would not recommend to anyone.