Wednesday, August 7, 2013


In the mid-22nd Century, pollution and overcrowding have made the planet Earth no longer hospitable for rich white people, who now inhabit a utopian colony on a gigantic 2001-like hamster wheel orbiting in space. After being accidentally trapped in a radiation chamber at his factory job and given five days to live, an ex-con (Matt Damon) becomes part of a deadly scheme to steal a vital computer chip which will gain access the great outpost's mainframe, making it's benefits available to the masses, and thus being able to save his life and that of the sickly daughter of his childhood sweetheart (Alice Braga). Neill Blomkamp's follow-up to his wildly successful District 9  is somewhat an extension and what I would consider an improvement. It contains the same generalized social problems (here immigration and socialized medicine replaced the travails of the South African ghettos) and features cliched basic story elements. That being said, I can't remember the last time an action picture pulled me in this much and Blompkamp does a very interesting thing here by demonstrating the brutal randomness of the violence despite his heightened sci-fi setting. Also, the special effects were seamless and not affected with the artificial glossiness that has plagued so many other big budget movies. Damon does a fine job carrying the film, as we all know he's capable of, Braga turns in fine work as the love interest, and Sharlto Copley, the star of District 9, is frightening as a rogue government operative on Damon's trail. After a convalescent summer (make that the entire year) at the box office, it finally awakens with Elysium, a movie that proves that big budget filmmaking need not be stupid or, in baffling recent cases, boring.