ELYSIUM Reviews: Somewhat earthbound for all it's lofty goals, but not "terra-ble."

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Old 08 August 2013   #16
For the record, D9 is (IMHO) the most over-rated sci-fi movie of the last 20 years. I like this one much more, but that's not saying much. It's a pretty standard actioner, with little-to-no character development beyond Max and the woman. Hell, the next most interesting character in the movie was the criminal gang boss (with the bad leg). The others were just cartoons.

The movie lacked a good set-up, and they fell back on some musty old screenwriting cliches to get out of trouble. Foster's early scenes just feel weird, (and I love her as an actor) and her in-and-out accent is just bizarre. Some other general weirdness was the station not having any kind of roof. Not sure what they were thinking there. And what's with the station not having an on-board defense system and instead having to launch from Earth? Seems potentially dangerous since it could scatter debris right toward the station.

But on the level of future-weapon and spaceship hardware pron, this one goes to eleven. Just amazing hardware to be seen almost every moment of the film (even if said ships have a semi-magical ability to hover endlessly over the city, then just shoot up into orbit when necessary). I love the way it is so matter-of-fact. The ships just bend and bounce and creak, and flaps open and close when they land and it's loud and messy and just fantastic. I'll probably watch it again as a rental/streaming.
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Old 08 August 2013   #17
I thought it was awesome. I actually thought it was nearly as good as district 9. It loses points to me because it was a bit less unique than district 9.

But as far as the style and how engaging it is. It's as good as district 9. I really love the style of the director.

People criticizing the characters and plot points, I think are focusing to narrowly on too specific of things. When you take into account the broad spectrum of the social dynamic of the film, and how everything interrelates to everything, the whole thing really is quite complex, and does have alot of interesting dynamics going on.

Ya Matt Damon's role and his relationship to his female friend doesn't invoke as much emotion as russel crowe and gladiator. But I don't think thats really intended to be the strong point of the film.
 
Old 08 August 2013   #18
I like this movie pretty much

I like the story and the idea of it. I like it equal to district 9.

But for me I don't rely on critics to choose to see a movie. I go see because it got me interested.

As for the 3d parts, amazing job they do.
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Old 08 August 2013   #19
I am so disappointed by this movie. Extremely. Shallow movie, simple characters, bad acting, awesome CG.

Some thoughts bellow:

[ SPOILER - Click to reveal ]
Spoiler:
I love Matt Damon but the guy had nothing to work with. Jodie Foster was awful and had a weird accent. The story is so predictable and simple it was annoying. The Kruger guy had potential but for me it didn't cut it. He felt under developed and not villain worthy. Speaking of villains the movie always felt it lacked the antagonist.

1) Since the character of Matt Damon is irradiated in such a stupid way it made me not feel sympathy for the guy. You need to make the public see how the good guy is punished by life and society not because it's his choice but because that's the nature of the world. Yet he chooses to do something so obviously wrong that at the end I was like "what did you expect to happen?". His character doesn't feel talented in any way, and didn't make me feel that he is the hero that this world needs. He is just a working guy with great heart. But from this to fighting robots and military dudes is a loooong way.

2) Life on Elysium is barely shown. OK, rich people at pool parties. That's all?

3) Electing a president is done via inserting a new username in the system. LOL?

4) The love story had potential but to me it didn't feel worthy of all the sacrifice.

5) THE SUIT WAS SHIT! I am sorry, but it made me angry. It felt useless, ugly, and a joke to put on. He just had pipes and pistons on him that didn't do much anyway since he could get stabbed and shot easily and in the end it made me so angry because this is a Sci-Fi movie, make a suit design and put Matt in to inspire ass kicking. '

6) All it took at the end is to send some shuttles with medpods and the world is saved? Are we to believe that the rich guys were so evil they could not spare some med pods to give it to Earth? I thought these med pods were a rare thing to have and would make Elysium a lot more valuable, but they were not. And really? Elysium is now free to access and that will save humanity? All board the Elysium train. We have green grass and medpods in our homes.

Anyway, I have many other things to say but I don't have the energy. Good thing this month I saw Wolverine and The Conjuring to still make it a good movie month.
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Old 08 August 2013   #20
Well, the movie had its flaws, but i still loved it. I mean, there are 456 alien invasion and 68768 comic movies out there every year, so it is great to have something that actually qualifies as science fiction. True, some of the plot points and characters had problems, but nothing that really prevented me from enjoying the movie.
I decided to watch it with german translation because of all the negative talk about the accents, so I didn't have that problem, but can imagine that this can be a problem.
The only thing that really disappointed me was that Elysium and the life there was barely shown. I think they did it that way to give the audience the same feeling that the poor people on earth must have had, the feeling of something unreachable and very distant (or maybe it was just to expensive).
But damn, I was waiting for a movie to exploit this great torus concept and it has so much potential for stunning views... but there were barely 4 or 5 scenes that showed Elysiums interior in all its glory. I would have loved to see more Syd Mead goodness. But well, I guess this is better then overusing this asset.

But again, there are only few movies that have the balls to try something different and original, especially in the sci fi genre, and Elysium is up there with Sunshine, Moon, District Nine, Monsters and so on. At the moment it is my favorite movie of the year (1000 times better then Pacific Rim or Star Trek). I still have great hopes for Gravity, but i wouldn't call it sci fi. My hopes for Enders Game are pretty low, the trailer is just to flashy and colorful, not sure how this will play out.
Mr Blomkamp could have made some better decisions, no question, but when it comes to sciFi he is still far ahead of all the other hollywood crap imo.
 
Old 08 August 2013   #21
I saw it last night and loved it. Mind blowing visuals and deliberately in your face politics. Brave and cool. Kind of a bit gory but I kind of expected that. ; )
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Old 08 August 2013   #22
It brought up serious topics like wage inequality, immigration, and health care availability. And then shoved a stupid, one button solution to these complicated problems.

These aren't problems because all rich people are evil and all poor people are good hearted- down on their luck folks. I find it annoying when movies take a complicated theme and over simplify it into something black and white and easy to swallow.

He handled serious issues in District 9 so well, disappointed he didn't pull it off this time.

Plus all the other problems, boring characters, bland plot that not once surprised me, and cliche villains. Another cookie cutter hollywood sci-fi film in my opinion.
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Old 08 August 2013   #23
I'm surprised at all the complaining on here! Oh wait... no I'm not. With a budget that big, on his second film, the studios were probably reigning him in at every turn, trying to dumb it down and make it as formulaic and easy to process as possible. You should be glad you got what you did, and if people don't go support it, NO MORE RISKS will be taken with original content in big budget films.
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Old 08 August 2013   #24
Originally Posted by teruchan: I'm surprised at all the complaining on here! Oh wait... no I'm not. With a budget that big, on his second film, the studios were probably reigning him in at every turn, trying to dumb it down and make it as formulaic and easy to process as possible. You should be glad you got what you did, and if people don't go support it, NO MORE RISKS will be taken with original content in big budget films.


On the contrary, since the 'studios are to blame', then wouldn't not supporting it show that people don't respond well to the formulaes?

Also, s much as I'd like to blame the studios, there's only so much you can blame them before you hit on thhe very shallow writing.
 
Old 08 August 2013   #25
Originally Posted by DagMX: On the contrary, since the 'studios are to blame', then wouldn't not supporting it show that people don't respond well to the formulaes?

Also, s much as I'd like to blame the studios, there's only so much you can blame them before you hit on thhe very shallow writing.


But that's what I mean. We don't know how shallow, if at all, what he originally wrote was. Maybe it was more intriguing that D9. As writer and director he should have complete control, but the studio may be saying,

"Nope. Cut it."

"Nope. Simplify it."

"Nope. Change that."

And if it fails, they will say, "See?! Should have made it more like Transformers."
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Old 08 August 2013   #26
Originally Posted by teruchan: But that's what I mean. We don't know how shallow, if at all, what he originally wrote was. Maybe it was more intriguing that D9. As writer and director he should have complete control, but the studio may be saying,

"Nope. Cut it."

"Nope. Simplify it."

"Nope. Change that."

And if it fails, they will say, "See?! Should have made it more like Transformers."

Okay, but lets say they gave him a lot of restrictions in how formulaic thae characters have to be, that doesn't mean the writing has to be bad. Okay maybe the story isn't good, but he can atleast show a little depth to the characters even in the limitations he had to work with.

My point being,I don't think we can blidnly blame the studios when other directors and writers have succeeded under similar restrictions. And a good writer would find his way around those restrictions to deliver the highest quality possible.

I didn't see that in this film. A lot just seemed phoned in.
 
Old 08 August 2013   #27
Originally Posted by teruchan: I'm surprised at all the complaining on here! Oh wait... no I'm not. With a budget that big, on his second film, the studios were probably reigning him in at every turn, trying to dumb it down and make it as formulaic and easy to process as possible. You should be glad you got what you did, and if people don't go support it, NO MORE RISKS will be taken with original content in big budget films.


Ok, so if we didn't like the film we aren't supposed to post? Or is it that we should rave about it even if we found it boring and poorly made just cause it wasn't an adaptation?

I'm positive the studios reigned him in and made it cookie cutter, but that isn't my fault, and I'm not going to give the film a pass because it's original or it wasn't the directors fault, or the writers fault, or etc.

Honestly I just want a good film. Show me an amazing adaptation over a lack luster original movie like this any day of the week.
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Old 08 August 2013   #28
Originally Posted by Michael5188: It brought up serious topics like wage inequality, immigration, and health care availability. And then shoved a stupid, one button solution to these complicated problems.

These aren't problems because all rich people are evil and all poor people are good hearted- down on their luck folks. I find it annoying when movies take a complicated theme and over simplify it into something black and white and easy to swallow.

He handled serious issues in District 9 so well, disappointed he didn't pull it off this time.

Plus all the other problems, boring characters, bland plot that not once surprised me, and cliche villains. Another cookie cutter hollywood sci-fi film in my opinion.


I don't think the point of the movie was to put forth a solution to such things. I think the movie was to highlight a radical end result of the direction things are going so that other people may actually think about a solution.

I also think the movie is really fascinating and bold in the simple fact it presents an extremely controversial subject no one else has dared to touch. It's really on this one component that I give the film much higher ranks, simply because of the audacity of presenting this concept, in the manner it did and managing to get away with it. Elysium is really another interpretation of the what could be deemed the whole 'Left Behind' or 'Salvation in the Apocalypse' theme. There are all these religions for all of time who try to sell people on this notion that the 'good' ones will ascend to a new realm. Christianity puts this forth as Heaven, an alternate dimension in the afterlife. Greek mythology puts it forth as Elysium (heh ya that name of the movie), which too is essentially an alternate dimension for the afterlife. Buddhism has it's multiple tiers of alternate dimensions in the after life who do good. Basically every religion and spiritual tradition has some concept and 'transcending' into another dimension for doing some good set of deeds and habits, and it convinces you to do these good set of deeds or habit so you can gain entrance into their supposed ideal alternate dimension in the afterlife.

In recent years I think the thought has been floating around more and more that, what if that instinct all old mythical traditions had that we would 'transcend into another dimension' was really just the instinct for the forthcoming space migration? And really, the whole good set of deeds like commandments or whatever of any religion, those are not the qualities that will ensure you transcendence into the great alternate dimension. But rather, the set of qualities which enable one to build, and maintain a giant space station, and maintain peace on that space station are actually the ideal prerequisite qualities necessary to go through this 'transcendence' thing, which is not really transcendence into another dimension, but is rather the transcendence into space, space migration. The prophets and seers of various religions were just looking so far into the future that they could only comprehend the eventual space migration as things like 'heaven' or 'elysium', with all the mythology surrounding them as ethereal realms, because they could not comprehend it as anything other than that at the time. But really the instinct behind the perception that formed the age old mythologies of things like heaven or elysium, that instinct was really just the far distant feeling of the eventual space migration of humanity.

You see there? Releasing a move with a space station called Elyisum, essentially the greek equivalent of heaven, where all of humanities supposed 'good' have moved onto. This is actually one of the most radical statements a film has made in years. It simultaneously undermines and reinterprets all notions of ascension in all esoteric traditions, and the resulting moralities and commandments that stemmed off those concepts of ascension.

It's a bold statement of a film, even more bold a statement than District 9, by a long shot. Even if the characters were flat and some plot lines not as ideal. Just the very setup of the world is a radical statement in itself thats beyond a level of complexity of controversy thats been presented by any film in the theaters for years.

Last edited by techmage : 08 August 2013 at 01:57 AM.
 
Old 08 August 2013   #29
I don't think their thinking on this was quite that deep. :-) The flaw here is that the station's inhabitants are not "good" per se, but rich. They are buying their way into "heaven," as it were, but there's no story payoff along those lines. What happens in the end? Do the rich all come back to earth? Do they build a bunch more stations for more people to come up to? I honestly thought the ending was going to be Damon destroying the station and all the rich folks would jump into lifeboats and be forced to re-integrate back into earth's societies where they'd forced to help make things better for everyone. But then Blomkamp wouldn't have the chance to show back-lighted slow-mo of children in wheelchairs

The more I think about the ending, the lamer it gets. Perhaps if they had set it up that the residents of Elysium wanted the surface people to share more of the wealth, but the station's governors were evil and withholding, it may have worked. But the idea that they sent medical ships (and where did all those come from?) to earth and all was better was just silly. Just think of what happens when a country like the US sends medical aid to a poor country and all the crazy & dangerous BS they have to deal with, then multiply it by hundreds or thousands (there must be many more billions of people on earth by this time, and that station probably couldn't hold more than a few tens of thousands).
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Old 08 August 2013   #30
I consider myself a Matt Damon fan, and I think he was the weakest link in the film for me.

The production design was amazing, super spot on. I would love a reboot/re-imagining of "I, Robot"; ironically I mean the film, which has nothing to do with the book, as far as I can detect reboot-haters.

I really wanted more droid time; and at the same time, I thought that the exoskeleton concept seemed like more trouble than it would be worth. I want my sci-fi technology to be enticing to me. I want future technology to appeal to my sense of fantasy; not make me think, "man, in the future, there will be this amazing cool technology that looks unpleasant to use."

More of the guy with the two droid body guards would have been nice...the whole thing was so High-concept with this kind of Sci-Fi/"Crank" grind-house-action vibe in acts two and three, I just felt like yelling at the characters to stop being dumb too much.

Jody Foster was great, her character just didn't get out and around at all.

And the over the top, juiced up bounty hunter kept reminding me of the bounty hunter in "Johnny Mnemonic" ...bad memories.
 
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