Neil Blomkamp knocked it out of the park with his directorial debut District 9. With the film's political undertones and minimal budget that produced effects and cinematography that was better than 90% of the Hollywood tent pole films in theaters, District 9 was nominated for Best Picture. Blomkamp became the new Sci-Fi "It" director and made newcomer Sharlito Copley a leading man. For his follow-up Blomkamp was given a hefty $100 million dollar budget and an A list star in Matt Damon for his dystopian Sci-Fi epic Elysium.
Elysium is set in 2154 and once again Blomkamp has given us a view of a realistic future Earth where us humans have completely ruined the Earth. Overpopulation, crime and diseases has made the Earth a less than desirable environment. So the rich and elite create a huge ship called Elysium that orbits the Earth. Elysium has pools, green spaces and machines that can cure any disease or ailment. The poor inhabitants of Earth attempt illegal immigration dashes in beat down spaceships in hope of making a new home on the paradise floating in the sky, but all their attempts are thwarted by the Secretary of Defense played by Jodie Foster.
Elysium takes a while to pick up steam with its depictions of a dying Earth. Damon's Max is a former criminal who just wants to make a living in the hell hole he calls home. Unfortunately for Max, but lucky for the audience, Max has an accident that threatens his life. Once Max's accident happens the action of Elysium picks up with Max's mission to get to Elysium so he can heal himself. There are some twists and turns along the way that I don't want to spoil. I will say Sharlito Copley shows up as a villainous undercover agent of Elysium who carries out his murderous orders with kid like glee. Copley proves he can play the hero as well as a disgusting adversary.
The big question is where does Elysium rank with District 9. The answer, not even close. District 9 was a compelling futuristic Sci-Fi thriller like nothing we had seen since Blade Runner. That doesn't mean Elysium is a bad movie. Elysium is actually a very entertaining and smart film once the exo-armored skeleton gets applied to Max. As I stated earlier, Blomkamp gives the audience a future where if we don't change the ways we deal with the environment and the difference in class structures, fiction could become reality. The gadgets of Elysium are straight out of The Jetsons and Blomkamp doesn't shy away from showing off the futuristic weaponry and the bloody carnage it causes. Elysium won't stick with you like District 9, but it's still and entertaining action packed ride with brains once it gets going. Overall, I give Elysium 3 out of 4 potatoes.
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