The year is 2154. Earth ran out of natural resources, people on Earth are living on top of each other high rises added onto, Limited food and water, abundance of illness, poverty and crime. The wealthy move to the space to preserve their way of life. They build an outerspace habitat, where they can live in the style they have become accustomed to, create their own resources and heal any diseases by recalibrating the body. I think you already figure, they don’t want to share.
Those on Earth have been left behind to fend for themselves, struggling against illness, droid police, automated parole officers, constant surveillance, corrupt employers, limited resources. Their are some who try to make it to Elysium via illegal shuttles that Spider has set up, but Jodie Foster’s character makes no exceptions. Every one who goes up illegally gets shot down. The story follows Max de Costa, former car thief, trying to make it on the straight and narrow but, as a known felon and ex-con, he’s not left with many options.
His arm gets broken by a police robot and he meets up with a woman he knew as a child, Fray, who is trying to make the best life she can for herself despite the odds. She’s become a nurse, but her daughter is sick. Max’s pay gets docked for having a broken arm. When a machine gets jammed his boss orders him in, he tries to refuse but his boss says “alright then, I’ll find someone who will, go clean out your locker.” Like I said, no choices. He goes in and receives a lethal dose of radiation, catastrophic organ failure will occur within 5 days. Unless he can get to Elysium.
Of course, he’s not the only one. And he ends up in a race to save the world.
He gets a freaky exoskeleton drilled into him to keep his radiation riddled body moving around (and kicking ass). He goes to Fray for help but when she tells him about her daughter Max says he can’t help her daughter get to Elysium (yeah, right, you know you’re going to help her, Matt… I mean, Max).
This movie was visually amazing. The grittiness of urban overpopulation, graffiti on everything, dirt and blood and guts. Versus the beauty of Elysium, a giant starwheel with mansions and manicured lawns, bright whites.
The action scenes are fun and exciting. The plot is good, fast paced, enough humanity shown to invest the viewer in the plot advancement. There are many different angles, many different reasons why characters are trying to get to Elysium and what it means for them. Spider wants everyone to have what they have in Elysium (do poor people not deserve healthcare? not deserve quality of life for circumstances they were born into?), Kruger… well, much more self serving but still a nice slap in the face for the powers that be, Max starts out just wanting to save his own life, Fray would risk anything for her daughter, Delacourt wants to keep Elysium preserved for her WASPy family and keep what THEY created for THEM. It’s a good story.
What I will say though, is it’s pretty heavy handed. “Oh, the people from Earth struggling to get to Elysium, it’s like illegal immigrants coming to America” derrrrrrrrrrr The people from Earth were all speaking English and Spanish interchangeably… Which makes enough sense, but the people in Elysium were all speaking English and French. French? What? Because people think French is high society? I was trying to talk about this during the movie (worst person to see movies with, right here) Spain is in Europe, it’s near France. The Latin American countries that are “developing countries” are probably what we were supposed to be thinking of, I would just like to put out there that there are former French colonies in Africa that are not dissimilar in terms of development. Here’s a map:
Like I said, I think it’s heavy handed and assuming that Americans are dumb dumbs. But maybe we are, if we don’t think too much, we think of Mexicans and French Canadians. Did Canada build Elysium? Maybe I’m thinking about that too much.
Also, the rich people on their magical habitat: why can you only build one? Build two, dumb dumbs. There is actually a point to their arguement that is people on Earth did not have illness there would be EVEN MORE PEOPLE in a place that has TOO MANY PEOPLE. This is the most unpopular truth. But it is the truth. If there’s not enough resources for the population and then mortality rate decreases there’s more people. And since we also frown on limiting breeding and what not here in this particular location, I don’t know how that works. It’s more complicated than they made it. If Elysium lets people in, they’ll run out too (unless they build another one, which no one addressed). But Jodie Foster’s Delacourt was presented as a cold hard villain that no one could possibly feel sorry for. It could have had more nuance.
Also, I would have liked it if Max had a little time to be a selfish anti-hero before getting set on a mission to save… well… everyone. If having your boss demand that you go into a dangerous machine that doses you with radiation that’s going to give you catastrophic organ failure within 5 days isn’t an excuse to go on a batshit crazy rampage… I just don’t know what it is.
Disclaimer: This is a sci-fi dystopian starring Matt Damon. There was no way for me to not love this and not fangirl at it. I frigging love Matt Damon. I do. When did he even do a sci-fi movie? Titan AE? That’s all I could think of. And he said after he finished the Bourne movies that he was out of the action game. But he did an excellent job (and is still ridiculously good looking).
Also, I know I just complained a whole bunch about societal implications but that’s kinda my thang… Are you new here? You should subscribe or follow me on twitter. And it was a really awesome movie. And *the only* block buster movie that wasn’t part of a series or a sequel or something. It looks great, it’s fun, it’s gross and tough and gritty and badass, and it’s smart enough. And the droid cops are frightening.
The lengths that those in Elysium go to to keep people out (including tattooed IDs that mesh with your DNA) the elite in Elysium being concerned about their legacy (their children and children’s children) rather than… well, everyone else, that they hide data in people’s brains, that they would employ rapists to keep what they have really drives home how ugly things can get.
And for team Earth: Max getting a robotic skeleton screwed into his body is just the beginning of how far he will go to save himself and do what’s right. That’s awesome.
Pack you iodine pills, kids.