Commentary
5:00 am
Thu August 15, 2013

Movie Review: Elysium

Matt Damon is really just after medical help in 'Elysium.'
Credit rottentomatoes.com

Elysium makes a few gestures in the direction of serious interests and even current events.

Working people live on an earth that is overcrowded, dirty and poor, while rich folks live up in a manmade satellite like an enormous luxury hotel. The police are brutal robotic drones. The earthbound rebels who are tring to get a toehold on the upper-class satellite look suspiciously like everything but white caucasian. The air on earth is uncomfortably bad, no doubt representing general pollution.

And the threat of revolution is everywhere.

Earther Matt Damon is really just after medical help that is only available to the rich, but like most American heroes, he is sucked into being a better man than he wants to be by the rebel leader. And while upper-government official Jodie Foster is secretly trying to take over upstairs, she doesn't know that one of her prime co-conspirators is after her job. There is plenty of opportunity for social comment in Elysium.

But what we have is pretty much the old same-o. There is more fighting than conspiring, including slugging matches between robots and armored men, and a great deal of gunfighting of an unnecessarily western variety, though no fast draws.

Spaceships glide about shooting and exploding, though there is little black-and-orange in the smoke. Sets are a little inconsistent, with the opening titles featuring colossal piled-up skyscrapers and the rest of the movie featuring deserts, but everything is grimy and ugly, unless we are in the great big empty offices on the satellite. And there is the usual pretty heroine and a little tot of a girl.

Writer-director Neill Blomkamp could have done a lot with all that, but I guess he knew his audience.