North Texas Daily

Review: Elysium

Review: Elysium

Review: Elysium
August 08
20:32 2013

Preston Barta / Film Critic

Rating: 4/5

Writer-director Neill Blomkamp has once again established that he can compete with the best filmmakers of genre films. While his newest film “Elysium” shows more flaws than his monumental achievement from 2009, “District 9,” which went on to snag a Best Picture nomination, the positive aspects outweigh the negative. It’s a solid piece of popcorn entertainment that is smarter than your average sci-fi film.

Taking place nearly 140 years in the future, there are two different classes of people: the wealthy, who live on a pristine space station just above our atmosphere called Elysium, and everyone else, who live on an overpopulated and decayed Earth.

No-nonsense actioneer Matt Damon plays Max, an ordinary workingman that, like everyone else, is desperate to escape the planet’s crime and poverty to get to Elysium’s utopian society and immaculate medical care. After an accident that leaves his life hanging in balance, Max takes on a dangerous mission to save not only his life but millions on Earth as well.

“Elysium” is a wallop of a film that is also one of the year’s best. From its incredible weaponry to its stunning artificial intelligence and awe-evoking space station, the film delivers beautiful imagery with well-rendered special effects that manage to give more than the budget on screen.

On the acting side of things, most of the cast is underutilized and are not given all too much to work with, but it certainly doesn’t take away from the engaging spectacle that the film is. Jodie Foster’s main purpose as Elysium’s Secretary Delacourt is solely to move the plot forward. While she’s a phenomenal actress, her part isn’t large enough in scale for her to sink her teeth into. Damon makes a great lead, and still shows that he’s one of the most ultimate tough guys in Hollywood. But it is Sharlto Copley (“District 9”) that is truly worthy of mention, as his villainous Kruger overshadows all the performances in the feature. As soon as his character steps onto the scene audiences are sucked into his provocative and psychopathic demeanor.

While the film could have been improved upon in so many areas and rank next to Blomkamp’s “District 9,” it is a thrilling and action-packed sophomore effort that is worth seeking out. As the summer is cluttered with sequels and comic book adaptations, “Elysium” is a rare find. It doesn’t sacrifice the intelligence or power that its story affords it for the sake of appeasing your average summer filmgoer. It’s a refreshing feature that entertains and challenges its viewers with its relevance to today’s society.

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