Monday, 9 June 2014
Review - Elysium - Matt Damon being boring
Matt Damon ... Max
Jodie Foster ... Delacourt
Sharlto Copley ... Kruger
Alice Braga ... Frey
Diego Luna ... Julio
Wagner Moura ... Spider
William Fichtner ... John Carlyle
Summary: The earth is polluted and overcrowded, so the rich built themselves a space station called Elysium, with an atmosphere, where they have all the best, leaving those below to fend for themselves. Max was a car thief, but when he needs the technology on Elysium to survive he becomes embroiled in a plot that could change the balance of power.
Rob and I watched this last night on Sky onDemand and I am so glad we did not pay to see it in the cinema. It simply just isn't very good.
On the positive side, Elysium looks slick and Jodie Foster looks amazing in sharp suits as the defence minister for the space station. It's good to see a film with a woman in a position of power where she makes no excuses for how she got there. She knows she is the best and can protect Elysium and that is all she cares about.
Other than that this is full of clichés, characters I really didn't like at all, not even a little bit, and a plot that simply does not make sense. The ending is so predictable that it might as well have been one of those films that shows the audience the end first and then shows them how the characters reached that point. I was bored for a good deal of the film.
Matt Damon plays Max, the reformed criminal who is just trying to get by in a system that doesn't give a shit about the little guy. It might have helped if he was a slightly sympathetic character, but I really couldn't bring myself to care about him. Everywhere he went he brought disaster and his character path was unsubtle and did nothing to change how I felt about him.
Then Jodie Foster as Delacourt was as evil as she was supposed to be, but she had no depth. Her motivations were very flat and not very interesting and it's obvious she is digging her own hole, the only question is when and how she will fall into it. If she had only had another aspect to her, something that made her human even if it was still very evil human.
The best character in my opinion was Julio; I actually liked him. Of course that means there was no way he could make it through the entire film. He had levels and so he died. (spoiler - highlight to read)
Then there is the technology - it makes no sense. They have a technology that can apparently cure any disease or ailment. Shattered bones, no problem, radiation poisoning, not an issue, final stage leukaemia, a doddle - so why haven't they used it to colonise Mars or the moon? I kid you not, at one point the healing pod says the immortal words 're-atomising'.
They can do all this and yet they're using missiles that just go bang and they don't seem to be able to simply stop shuttles that aren't supposed to get to the space station. Everyone is apparently tagged using their DNA and yet Max still has to wear a leg bracelet because he is on patrol - but that didn't seem to actually have anything to do with the plot, other than to make the police robots take notice of him to give him a reason to see Frey again.
Then there is the concept of Elysium in itself. It's all very well having lovely houses and pools, but there is more to life than just that. Surely these mega rich people would get bored? Frankly they all seem to just be background for the film that no one has really thought about.
Then we have the bad guy. Wow, I'm not sure you could get less depth than Jodie Foster's character, but they managed it. He's like a villain from an 80s cartoon just amped up for an adult audience. It's like a flashback to Jean Claude van Damme movie where the baddie was just there to be beaten up and totally destroyed.
Lets not even get into the robots.
This film is every adult distopian cliché stuffed together with not very interesting characters and technology that doesn't make any sense. Then there is the end - I won't give it away, but I was left thinking that no one bothered to think through the consequences.
As you can probably guess, I would not recommend this film.