I would normally take more time to introduce characters, directors, and give a short summary before forcing my opinion down your throats; but that day is not today. When I saw the Elysium trailer I was intrigued by the world Neill Blomkamp, director/writer, had created. I loved the rough look of Earth and the ephameral beauty of Elysium, the production design caught my eye and the music pulled me in. Upon seeing Matt Damon (Bourne Identity), Jodie Foster (The Silence of the Lambs), Alice Braga (City of God) and Sharlto Copley (Europa Report) in the trailer I knew the acting would be good, I also had faith that the story/screen play would be written well because of Blomkamp’s film, District 9’s, success. Sadly, I went into viewing the film with high expectations.
(caution spoilers ahead)
Elysium started strong. Matt Damon truly did a great job with his role as Max and brought the character to life. As the story progresses, Blomkamp juxtaposes the situations on Earth and Elysium not only through visuals but through character development. While Earth is left to decay with no cures for any diseases or poverty, the people of Elysium thrive, living to be hundreds of years old.
Elysium began with much potential, but as the plot thickened it also weakened. The beginning of Elysium was strong, filled with emotion, and character development; while the middle was unmoving. After Max (Matt Damon’s Character) reaches Elysium with Alice Braga and Kruger (Sharlto Copley’s characters) in tow Blonkamp turns Delacourt (Judy Dench’s character) into a plot device.
I would like to take a moment to praise Jodie Foster’s portrayal of Delacourt. Delacourt was a perfect example of a true antagonist. An antagonist is not a ‘villain’ per say, simply, a character that works against the protagonist. Delacourt’s one directive was to secure her chair in Elysium politics and keep Elysium free of disease. She believed what she was doing was for the common good, her entire motive was for the people of Elysium. Delacourt’s death, in my eyes, was completely uncalled for and unjustified. Blonkamp created a wonderful character, then killed her off simply as a plot twist. In my eyes, Kruger had no motivation to kill Delacourt out of cold blood. Although, it had been mentioned in the beginning of the film that Kruger was mentally unstable, he displayed no hostility towards Delacourt. Kruger then became an unmotivated antagonist for the final 45 minutes of the film.
Although, I believe Delacourt’s death was uncalled for I believe that Max’s was a beautifully written scene of self sacrifice. (If you couldn’t tell I have, strong but, mixed feelings about this film). Max takes on this cyborg persona after being trapped in some sort of device in the beginning of the film (they never really specify the type of machinery) and is exposed to lethal amounts of radiation. Given only five days to live, he decides to risk everything and break for Elysium. Upon arrival, he crashes the transport ship into the surface of Elysium, almost killing Kruger and allows for Frey (Alice Braga’s character) and her daughter, Matilde, to get to a healing machine. Max immediately must meet up with Julio (the man who created the robotic-suit Max is wearing), in order to get the the information in the computer on Max’s head into the Elysium security system. It is revealed that retrieving the data will kill the unauthorized user. Hooked up to the system, Max calls Frey telling them that he will not be able to meet them back on Earth, it is then revealed they were childhood sweethearts that never worked out (until it was too late). Choosing the common good, Max allows Julio to retrieve the codes from the computer chip, allowing every citizen of Earth to become a citizen of Elysium.
All in all, I didn’t hate Elysium, but I didn’t love it either. I would recommend for you guys to watch it and see the amazing Jodie Foster as the kick-ass Delacourt and Matt Damon portray someone else besides Bourne. If you have an hour and a half to spare, and are in the mood for a bit of sci-fi, try Elysium.