Elysium – A Social Fable by Neill Blomkamp

4 years after the EXTRAORDINARY Discrict 9 (I want to emphasize on the « EXTRAORDINARY »), South African director Neill Blomkamp delivers another beautiful science fiction film with several levels of meaning, however, is it as good as the EXTRAORDINARY (I’ll stop here) District 9 ?

ELYSIUM_2013_TH_EXTRAS_US-WW-artwork

Faut pas faire chier Iron Bane, il a un très gros flingue !

Don’t mess with Max, he has a very big gun !

2154, people have left Earth and enjoy a peaceful existence on a space habitat called Elysium… All of them ? No ! On the Earth remains a poor and wretched population, and life is not easy for any of them. Max (Bald Matt Damon) is one of them, dreaming of leaving Earth since he was a kid, he had to face reality accept that Elysium was conceived only for rich people ! But everything changes when an accident at work gives him a life expectancy of only five days, he then decides to attempt the impossible : join Elysium and heal thanks to a med-bay, a device capable of treating any kind of disease. The thing is, it’s easier said than done ! His former partner then proposes a deal that could completely change the situation for the Earth’s population…

Mais Kruger il a une grosse épée !

But Kruger has a very big sword !

If I say that I was looking forward to the next Blomkamp’s film, it would be an understatement, he who was the source of my biggest 2009 film slap (I am of course referring to the EX… uh, District 9). I was really curious to see what he would do with a three times increased budget. Finally, I have to admit that I am a bit disappointed… It’s not bad, but it could have been much, much better ! The story is classic, characters are stereotyped, only Sharlto Copley, in the role of the bad guy Kruger, manages to make his character interesting, funny and detestable at the same time. About the directing, it is also a semi-disappointment, the inventiveness that characterized District 9 seems to have disappeared in favor of a typical Hollywoodian style with fast cutting often resulting in illegible action scenes. (Neill, if you’re reading this -and I know you’re reading this-, shooting a scene under 4 differents angles and changing angles very 2 seconds during the editing, it’s not a good idea, not at all, sincerely, from someone who still has a lot of respect for you, kiss).

C'est beauuuuu !

Beautiful !

Qualities now, special effects are just mind blowing (and not even an Oscar nomination…), it’s one of these films you can’t say what is real and what is not. Blomkamp has worked in special effects, so that’s not really astonishing. The vehicle and ship and robot designs are quite good too, achieving to create a coherent world full of details. About the rhythm, nothing to say, it is fast and you never have time to get bored, too bad you never have time to get stuck more either…

In brief, far from being as good as Ditrict 9 (I think you got it), Elysium end up being a nice and fun to watch action/sci-fi movie. However, its script and social message are too caricatural to make it a great film. Now we just have to wait for the next Blomkamp’s film in order to determine more precisely of his talent.

Guillaume Cassar

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