Of all the genre’s out there, science fiction seems to be the one rarely getting it right these days. When Neill Blomkamp burst onto the screen with his gritty racial commentary film District 9 it changed the genre for the better. Now he is back with his latest look at the future with Elysium and is bringing Matt Damon along for the ride. The trailers looked to deliver a similar vision of his previous film, but does it pack the same punch both in the story as well as visually?
Elysium follows a man desperate to get to Elysium, a space station where the very wealthy live in a pristine world, while the rest of the human race remain on an overpopulated ruined Earth. With nothing left to lose, he takes on a mission against Elysium’s secretary Delacourt and the entire system to save himself as well as the millions of others on Earth. Once again Blomkamp has created a film that not only entertains but has numerous levels of social commentary without ever getting overly preachy. This time out there seems to be the health care system, over population, and pollution that all make up this world these characters inhabit. Matt Damon continues to deliver with him really stepping it up even more than usual here. What is great about his character is that he feels more like a normal guy with flaws and a reluctant hero forced into this situation as opposed to wanting to be there. You feel his desperation and in turn can imagine the rest of the planet and what they are going through. District 9 star Sharlto Copley plays a completely different type of character and is a complete badass. He steals every scene he is in and is near unrecognizable in this role. Every time he steps on screen you know something great is going to happen. The always great William Fichtner has a brief but not surprisingly good presence here. Jodi Foster is the only that just doesn’t seem to work all that well. Her performance felt forced at times and she seemed to float in and out of the strange accent she is trying to use. The visuals are gritty, dirty, and beautiful all at once and are the main catalyst to make this film come to life. There is plenty of action here and at first seems to be playing it a bit safe, but quickly proves otherwise as the film moves forward.
This is one of the best science fiction films to come along in some time and has everything you could possibly want. Most will just watch this movie and see the action spectacle and cool visuals, but this film is so much more. Pay attention to the story and what it is trying to tell you and this film will have a greater effect on you. Some of the characters could have been fleshed out a bit more, but overall still gets the message across all while delivering a bad ass action science fiction film that should not be missed. In addition to the film both the DVD and Blu-ray sport numerous special features that are sure to enhance your viewing experience.
Be sure to grab your copy when Elysium hits stores on December 17th.