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In the year 2154, two classes of people exist: the very wealthy, who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. Secretary Delacourt, a government official, will stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve the luxurious lifestyle of the citizens of Elysium. That doesn't stop the people of Earth from trying to get in by any means they can. When unlucky Max is backed into a corner, he agrees to take on a daunting mission that, if successful, will not only save his life but could bring equality to these polarized worlds. Written by
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A Stanford torus, such as Elysium, would be too small to be visible in the sky of Los Angeles to the naked eye in the daylight. Comets and asteroids which are orders of magnitude brighter than Elysium could ever be, are not visible in space to unaided human sight. See more »
Earth's wealthiest inhabitants fled the planet to preserve their way of life.
[pan from earth to an orbiting wheel world]
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Elysium is the follow up, much anticipated by many, to the critically acclaimed District 9 from South African-Canadian director and writer Neill Blomkamp.
In the middle of the 21st Century, with the world now grossly over-populated and law and order seemingly at breaking point, the super wealthy have decamped to a satellite space station highly visible from earth, a utopian society free of poverty, illness and other such mundane woes.
Meanwhile, the vast majority of earth's population lives in squalid, cramped slums seemingly based on the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro. Needless to say, the rich are all too keen to protect their enclave and any unauthorised vessels arriving from earth are duly dispatched by being blasted away.
Jodie Foster stars as Elysium's ambitious and sociopathic Defence Secretary, as ruthless at advancing her own interests as she is at ensuring the purity of the over-sized Ferris wheel whose security is in her charge; Matt Damon is the working class drone desperately trying to access the other world for the treatment to cure his radiation sickness from which he will die in 5 days.
There was clearly an interesting concept waiting to burst out here, an opportunity to explore themes of wealth, inequality, social status, health care and immigration, but sadly it failed on almost every level to build interest or have anything relevant to say.
First, we saw so little of the societal structure or way of life on Elysium itself. Apart from Jodie Foster and a few other high ranking officials, the film showed us nothing of how this satellite was run. It looked as if everyone lived in a McMansion style-home the type you find next to golf courses in Florida or on the Sunshine Coast. It all looked terribly sterile, reminiscent of the contrived town Jim Carrey inhabited in The Truman Show. We were not privy as to who cut the lawns, did the plumbing or washed the dishes. Superficially, the lives of these pampered people seemed hollow and totally unfulfilled where were the galleries, the museums, the theatres or even a casino for those that might like that sort of thing? Frankly, the impoverished life on earth which was shown with enforced work in a fascistic environment seemed far more fulfilling.
Further, Matt Damon's motives for getting on Elysium were totally selfish. All he wanted was to save his own skin. Granted, there was then concocted an unconvincing love interest and a wish to save his childhood sweetheart's little girl but this too was just parochial. Where was the burning anger borne from social injustice, the wish to better the lot of all humankind, the working class warrior on a mission? And when the film's final denouement came it was head in a sick-bag time.
The script and dialogue were banal, as was Jodie Foster's delivery. Matt Damon worked harder to bring some interest to his character but he was up against it but at least he tried.
The CGI was good but that's pretty much a given in any well-funded Hollywood film these days. Close up camera work was appalling, non-stop wobble vision which made action sequences confusing. This camera style is so unnecessary and it really is beyond comprehension as to why film-makers persist in its use; in small doses it can be effective but when near constant it produces a feeling of nausea.
It is so disappointing to be relentlessly negative about a film but when they are as lacking as this one, the positives can be hard to find.
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