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Elysium review

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Mark Suszko
Elysium review
on Aug 13, 2013 at 5:35:27 am

Saw the film tonight. I gotta give points for a sci-fi movie who's art direction includes a live action re-enactment of Picasso's "Guernica" in it. (It's an aerial shot, only about three seconds, but I recognized it).

Everything visual about the movie is exceptional. Blomkamp can compose a gorgeous frame that tells the story.

The acting is good, considering the characterizations are thin and stereotypical.

The plot however has more holes than a colander.

I also didn't care for the shakeycam used in the final fight scenes... it was just a bit too much.

I would say this is a good film to Redbox or Netflix. It had a lot more potential, but couldn't find enough time to tell the stories properly. It asks you to make a lot of inferences and fill in the gaps on your own time. This is one of those stories that I think works better in book or episodic video form.

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Scott Roberts
Re: Elysium review
on Aug 15, 2013 at 10:06:57 pm

I saw Elysium a couple days ago, so here's my thoughts (straps on exoskeleton arm attachments for maximum typing speed):


-All of the future technology is awesome. I hope you like enormous guns and things that explode a lot. Also, the bad guy uses a sword. A SWORD! Now I've seen everything.

-The production design is fantastic. Same with the cinematography. I really liked how the entire movie felt like it was covered in dirt, as if all of the Earth scenes took place at the city dump.

-I think for all the holes the plot had, it still had earnest intentions. As in, it didn't feel like Hollywood schlock. It just felt like a kind of failed attempt at greatness, that's all.

-Matt Damon is good...? I thought he had the ideal look for the character (especially when he went partial robot [never go *full* robot]). Maybe it wasn't the most memorable performance in the world, but I enjoyed how the character was faced with the reality of saving Earth a bunch of times, and he still just kind of had selfish desires to save himself throughout most of it.

-Sharlto Copley's "Kruger" was the most interesting character in the movie for me. He was an awesome bad guy. I guess for all of the rich people's robots (and money to buy more robots), their best weapon was still just a crazy dude who lives on Earth. I liked how in this world that's basically a more "civilized" Mad Max fantasy, Kruger and his cronies were the only people who looked like they could have actually been in Mad Max.

-The arms dealer, Spider I think his name was, gave such a bad, over-the-top performance that I think it actually went full circle and somehow ended up being good.

-That scene where the robot cops beat up Damon and search his backpack because he looks like a criminal, even though he's just walking to work, seemed (coincidentally) perfectly relevant to the current "Stop and Frisk" debate going on in a lot of big American cities right now. Why you gotta single Matt Damon out, robot cops? Because he's basically the only white guy walking around? THE RACE TABLES HAVE TURNED.


-So was this whole movie just a metaphor for how the 1% don't like to share their stuff with the rest of us...? Seemed that way. Seemed kind of forced.

-Jodie Foster got second billing in this? She didn't exactly take up a significant amount of screen time. But I guess it's cool to see Jodie Foster in a new movie (that's not about Mel Gibson talking to a puppet).

-So a light mist spray 200 yards above the surface of Elysium is what created its atmosphere? I guess...?

-The shaky cam wasn't just bad in the fight scenes, it was super brutal in the flashback scenes with the nun, too. I remember the first shot of flashback looked like the camera was held by a guy with no fingers.

-I sort of liked the story of Damon's relationship with his childhood friend, in theory, but I don't know... Something just felt a little draggy to me.

-Elysium's security systems kind of suck.

-Why is everyone on future Earth either Hispanic or have an accent, EXCEPT Matt Damon, whose character was seemingly raised by a Spanish-speaking nun...? I guess that's a bit of Hollywood's automatic dumbing down mechanism in play.

Final Thoughts: It's been a few days since I watched Elysium, and it hasn't really stuck in my head all that much. It's not really a thinking man's movie, but it kind of falls under that guise. It also doesn't have the lasting emotional sting that District 9 had. What it does have is a lot of small, really awesome moments that I remember with the glee of a 10-year-old. "REMEMBER THAT PART WHEN MATT DAMON SHOT THE ROBOT AND IT SHATTERED INTO A MILLION PIECES????? THAT WAS AWESOME!!!" or "REMEMBER THAT PART WHEN THE GUY HAD HIS FACE BLOWN OFF WITH A GRENADE???? THAT WAS AWESOME!!!!" It's like a highlight reel of cool five-second juvenile moments. Yet when they're all strung together, it's pretty entertaining. Or at least it's highly watchable. BUT IT'S NO DISTRICT 9.

7.5 out of 10

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Mark Suszko
Re: Elysium review
on Aug 16, 2013 at 11:46:04 pm

They recreated effing Guernica, live, for a 3- second, throw-away shot. That is AMBITION.

These settings would have made for an epic cable TV mini-series. The film run time makes you compress character development and plot a lot. Still, some great movies are able to do that, and I guess that's why they win Oscars. I had high hopes for this, but what it tells me is that Hollywood isn't yet ready to really do justice to Larry Niven's Ringworld yet. Oh, technically, heck yes. Story-wise, not a chance.

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