After the success of District 9 in 2009, Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium was highly anticipated to be his next big success.
With a $115 million investment and huge names like Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, and William Fichtner playing central roles, the film only grew in popularity.
However, upon its release, many were left disappointed. Labeled a mediocre follow-up to the much adored District 9, the shoot-’em style of the film at times left us overlooking the key themes of the film, which are immigration, poverty, and health care.
However, this thrilling, futuristic film has aged like a fine wine, with more and more people rewatching the film with excitement.
What is now a very relatable film, we’ve put together a quick review to tell you what we thought about Elysium.
In our review, we’ll give you a brief overview of the film, highlighting some of the key successes and some frustrating failures.
Elysium (2013) – Movie Overview
The film Elysium takes place in two very different worlds. The first is a ravaged, dusty, overpopulated Earth where citizens are economically depressed and dictated by robotic civil servants and corporate villainy.
The second is a stunning, futuristic haven that sits in sight but out of reach of those suffering on Earth.
Filmed in Vancouver, this exclusive world is where the few enjoy obscene amounts of wealth, a perfect health care system, and all of life’s luxuries (sound familiar?).
Set in 2154, the film follows the difference between the two classes through the story of Max (Matt Damon), the protagonist of the film.
Up against Jodie Foster, who plays a ruthless Elysian defense minister, Max agrees to a nothing to lose mission to try and infiltrate Elysium.
In what is an exhilarating, yet, very real feeling storyline, Max battles to bring equality to the population no matter what it costs him.
Let’s start with the positives. For starters, visually, this film is absolutely epic. Thanks to the large budget Neill Blomkamp had for this film, he and his team were able to put together a visual masterpiece.
Full of impressive cinematography, the film’s locations looked great, the large scenes were impressive, and the CGI was on point. Unlike other films, the CGI effects blended in perfectly with the environment.
Despite being filmed in Vancouver and Mexico, the two worlds truly looked like the future.
The Earth in the film was arguably the most impressive part of the film.
Eerily real, you could genuinely see the world looking like that one day. Gritty, dusty, and believable, the visuals really felt like a stark warning of what’s to come if the world doesn’t change.
As far as the cast is concerned, Matt Damon and Jodie Foster amongst other actors and actresses performed brilliantly.
Matt Damon’s character Max isn’t too special or memorable, but he’s certainly someone we feel we can relate to. This makes the film feel all the more real.
The way Matt Damon added subtle sarcasm and wit into a quite serious backstory was fantastic too.
While this film may be an easy watch, featuring a simple, yet interesting story, there are unfortunately a few pitfalls. The main one is that Elysium simply doesn’t live up to expectations.
The main problem we found with the film is that the thoughts and feelings the film aims to provoke are easily lost with the overkill of gunfire and action.
Of course, we all love a bit of action in films, but at times, it feels that the main story Elysium aims to portray is lost.
The film’s issues with social and economical inequality quickly fade into the background as the film becomes a classic shoot-’em up action film.
Despite her great performance, we must also say that Jodie Foster’s antagonist role is all too predictable. Her undercover agent named Kruger is also very uninteresting and cliché.
As a result of these pitfalls, the film does let us down a little. It is hard to feel emotionally invested in the film despite its themes and stunning visuals.
All in all, Elysium is a decent film with a thought-provoking storyline and stunning visuals.
Sadly, some of the film’s characters and the overuse of shoot-’em action scenes do make it hard to get emotionally invested in the film, but we’d definitely recommend it as a film you should watch.
If you’re in the right mood for it, you’ll most definitely find the film enjoyable and exciting, but if you’re expecting a film as good as Neill Blomkamp’s District 9, don’t get your hopes up.
For us, the film left us with mixed feelings. The visuals were impressive, and the acting performances were great, but the film just didn’t pack the punch we expected it to.
If you liked this article, you might enjoy our post, ‘Short Term 12 Movie Review‘.