ELYSIUM

★★★

GREAT IDEAS WITH FORGETTABLE EXECUTION

THEATRICAL REVIEW
By Jess Fenton
11th August 2013

Many a sci-fi movie has been made about aliens depleting their own resources and winding up on Earth’s front door, unwilling to play nice to get what we’ve got. It’s an idea nightmares are made of - but what if the bad guys weren’t in fact aliens, but ourselves? With global warming and fracking making headlines the world over, the idea that humans could leave their own planet barren is not only possible, but quite probable. So then what?

Set in the year 2154, Neill Blomcamp (‘District 9’) has come up with ‘Elysium’, a picturesque habitat sitting on the outskirts of Earth’s atmosphere, where only the planet's most wealthy reside. Separating the "Haves" from the "Have nots" has turned Earth into a poverty-stricken wasteland rife with crime, where the population dream of going to Elysium - and Elysium fight to keep them out.

SWITCH: ELYSIUM INTERVIEW WITH SHARLTO COPLEY

In LA, former petty criminal Max is the victim of an accident at the factory where he works, and as a result is now due to die from the injuries incurred in just five days. Desperate, Max takes on a dangerous mission in order to earn himself a one-way ticket on a refugee ship to Elysium where its residents all own personal Medi-beds, a contraption that can cure any ailment within a matter of seconds. But there’s more to this mission than anyone saw coming, and now Max is fighting not only against time, but Elysium’s mega-bitch Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Forster) and her psychopathic sleeper agent Kruger (Sharlto Copley) for information that could change the world.

Blomcamp’s spectacular storytelling talent lies in his ability to make astute social commentary.

Blomcamp’s spectacular storytelling talent lies in his ability to make astute social commentary disguised within grand sci-fi action plots. Here, the thinly-veiled themes of healthcare and wealth being mutually exclusive, the subject of refugees and the state of our own planet come into play.

However, these very strong allegories come at a cost - and that’s character. Without well-developed characters to act as a conduit for these messages, they simply fall flat on deaf ears, surrounded by explosions and gunfire.

For those looking for another ‘District 9’, this follow-up doesn’t quite live up, but it is action packed with not only great visuals, but great performances by Damon and scene-stealer Copley.

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