September 19, 2013

Matt Damon as ex-criminal turned sci-fi savior? You can buy it with this one, from the same director of “District 9.” 

Movie review: Eat the rich, hack the future in ‘Elysium’

By , GMA NewsSeptember 7, 2013 1:19pm

Max Da Costa (Matt Damon), orphan and Earthling, was once a legendary car thief. Now he’s just one of the many poor ex-cons trying to go straight and eke out a minimum wage life.

So far, he’s been having a horrid time of it, working at the assembly line of Armadyne Corp, a robotics factory. There aren’t a lot of plum jobs for ex-cons in the sci-fi future of Los Angeles in 2154.

Outre socio-political sci-fi puts me on my guard. All too often, it tends to propagandize rather than tell a good story. That it’s trying to slip an agenda by me makes me suspicious, but director Neil Blomkamp’s “District 9” pulled off the trick of crafting a sci-fi gem about race and prejudice by putting aliens into the blender and setting the thing in South Africa. So I went into this Matt Damon starrer with an open mind, hoping for just some fair to average entertainment.

Surprisingly, “Elysium” delivers the kind of futuristic drama with existential overtones that will definitely catapult it into cult status. Sure it sprawls and meanders into narrative speed bumps and you can likely shelve this one under “sci-fi poverty porn” (it’d fit the bill and overflow it) but this sometimes rambling, sometimes doctrinaire homage to Dick and Heinlein does work. I mean, really. The reason for that is mostly because the social caveats in here are very well executed and un-preachy.

Two things you need to know about the premise of this movie:

One: In 2154, the very wealthy live on a luxurious space station (a Stanford torus, for you OC geeks) called Elysium. Up there, the citizens live in comfort and safety with robotic servants at their beck and call. Being an Elysian also means freedom from disease since their tech has advanced to the point that their “Med-Bays” can cure anything from colic to cancer.

Two: Max and everybody else (i.e the poor) live on an overpopulated, scorched Earth. Oh, and the planet is patrolled and policed by androids under the control of the Elysians. Poverty: even in the future, it sucks.

Read the rest of the review.


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