Happy New Year one and all! I hope everyone had a superb New years celebration, as for me? I spent a good portion of the day before new years eve watching “Elysium” the 2nd film by the brilliant director Neil Blomkamp (of the brilliant “District 9” and his association with the doomed Halo movie project).
I had only vaguely heard of Elysium before picking it up on DVD. Since there was only one copy left in the shop I got it from that pretty much sealed the deal for me, besides all I needed to know was that Neil Blomkamp directed it and im sold there and then. It’s a science fiction like District 9 where it offers some deep questions about our society as a whole, for instance in D9 it looked at how humans treated refugees/Asylum Seekers. Granted in that film it was the alien “Prawns” who were the refugees, but you can see the real world similarities in regards to earth today. The derogatory nicknames, the acts of violence and general dis-dain and fear of them that they might take all of our jobs and invade the country/countries etc.
Elysium’s deep questions cover immigration, however not wanting to delve too much into spoiler town ill just leave it at that.
So what is Elysium? We find out early on in the film that it is a space station/habitat where all the mega rich people live, away from the ruined, diseased filled earth. How is it ruined? I’m not sure, I don’t think it’s ever fully explained but I assume it’s because of dwindling resources and over population? Anyway, Earth is where we meet our hero Max (played by the brilliant Matt Damon) he’s our everyman former goon for organised crime bosses.
Who now after giving up his life of crime after multiple jail sentences, is working in a manufacturing plant, making droid of all things (think the star wars episode 1 droids, but better, by a factor of infinity) this is terrible work for an asshole foreman, it culminates (not completely expectedly) in Max getting a lethal dose of radiation. So he has 5 days until all his organs fail and he dies one of the most horrible deaths imaginable, nothing down on earth can help him as the medical system is thread bare at best.
What about Elysium? They have wondrous medical technology that can fix him in a jiffy, one problem however, Elysium destroys anything that is not a citizen of that privileged mega rich habitat. Since there not interested in helping people and only interested in preserving the status quo. Aided by Jodie Foster playing “secretary Delacourt” a sort of acting hand of the president of Elysium.
She uses everything at her disposal to keep Elysium free of the poor peasant down on earth due to her paranoia and fear that they would destroy and change their cushy way of life. This gets tied in with the typical political bullshit her type revert to, to try to justify her radical behaviour.
There is also the issue of her using a particular sleeper agent on Earth to enact her will, even though the president told her not too, because, well, this particular agent is fucking nuts, and an absolute psychopath. So who is he I hear you ask?
His name is Kruger, and he is played by….. Sharlto Copley! Y’know, Wiccus from District 9, the main character in that film. Now granted it’s a little strange seeing him in this role when you know him as a good guy, but he fits the picture really well. Growing a bushy beard with multiple enhancements on his skull (I assume that’s what they are as I don’t think there ever properly mentioned). This guy is our main threat, utterly ruthless and utterly without remorse, he is definitely intimidating. Oh and among his other arsenal of weapons, he’s armed with a fucking Katana, movie law, every villain or hero bad-ass, at least one needs to be armed with a Katana.
Nevertheless its good to see Copley again as he is a hell of an actor and one of my favourites.
So Max our hero needs to get to Elysium to heal himself, but how is he going to exactly do that? Let alone be able to stand up to Kruger? He takes a job with a local crime boss that will enable him to enter Elysium, but how can Max even the odds for his survival? They drill an exoskeleton suit directly into his spine and brain, in what is a pretty gruesome scene of human augmentation. If you are a gamer like me, you might think immediately to the “Halo” series, because the hero in that is an augmented super soldier. So when they do similar in Elysium you can’t help thinking that’s how they would have shown it in a Halo movie.
This is a really well done movie and very very enjoyable, the final action scenes are especially a testament to that. It also has that deeper side, that thoughtfulness which I love in sci-fi which I think is sorely lacking in films like the modern-day remake of the star trek movies. Where they stripped that all out and left it as a generic action film with a little fan service thrown in.
I love the new science, the changes in society the future brings and also how technology influences it, and how we in present day can be challenged by this type of fiction.
So Elysium gets a big double thumbs up from me, please take a good look at it, it’s a great film that is worthy of your attention.
Thanks for reading 🙂