I have to struggle to remember the last high concept sci-fi film that was any good. They really are hard to come by these days. The ones that come immediately to mind are Gattaca, Moon, Primer and District 9. Good sci-fi films really are a lost art. Failing to make it into that last catagory is Elysium. This is the newest film from District 9 director Neill Blomkamp. I very much enjoyed District 9. Elysium--not so much. It's a pretty obvious movie with a none too subtle message about the have's and have not's. It has a couple of fun action sequences and great effects, but we know where the movie is going at all times.
|4 guys tinkering in the garage in Primer(2004) ends up being far more chilling than anything in Elysium|
There are literally no surprises here so by the time we get to the films end, ultimately, it's a complete waste of time. There is a good cast but they don't really look like their hearts are in it. Except, that is, for Sharlto Copley who I think is terrifically entertaining in everything I've seen him in. Foster is really a wet blanket in this which is a shame because her performance in Spike Lee's Inside Man was brilliant and showed that she could play a devious, mercenary character with charm, wit and complexity. Here she plays a one dimensional security guard with delusions of grandeur. Badly. She tries to hide it by speaking in French but it doesn’t work.
|Matt Damon in Elysium|
In the future, Earth is a cesspool and all the rich folks live on the luxury satellite Elysium. Jodie Foster is the satellites security chief who doesn't have time for any niceties or criticism of her tactics. But say what you want, she keeps all those pesky poor and, in some cases, dying immigrants off the rich folks lawns. Matt Damon is a worker bee with a criminal past who is exposed to lethal radiation on the job thanks to a jerk of a boss (who isn’t completely dissimilar to one I had in the late 80s) and has five days to live.
|Jodie Foster and a glass of water in Elysium|
|Sharlto Copley, angry at his two flunkies in Elysium|
|Thurman and Hawke in Gattaca(1997). Scenes from films that are better than the one I'm actually reviewing are fun to look at, aren't they?|
|You got a problem with that?|