Taking place in the year 2154, Neil Blomkamp's Elysium is the story of a world divided, with the very wealthy living a life of pristine health on the space station Elysium while everyone else lives on vastly overpopulated Earth. On earth, Max, an ex-con, is trying desperately to live an ordinary life but when an accident at the factory leaves him contaminated with radiation, he becomes desperate to make it Elysium where they have state-of-the-art medical care that would save his life. Elysium is a fast-paced, visually stunning film that's highly entertaining while managing to have an interesting social commentary as well. The first thing that jumps out about Elysium is how impressive the visuals are. Blomkamp has a great visual eye and everything in Elysium from the cinematography, visual effects, and production design is top notch. The film is full of some really inventive weaponry and futuristic ideas that feel fresh with Blomkamp still keeping his grimy, dusty, futuristic aesthetic intact with how he captures Earth. Blomkamp is not nearly as skilled as a writer and Elysium does have a few clunky narrative threads,characters, and genre tropes that stop it from being exceptional. While some reviews seem to be much harsher on this issue, it didn't really bother me too much though because Elysium completely delivers on what it promises. The film's social/political allegory is very transparent with Jodie Foster's character being a little over-the-top but I don't think Blomkamp was really trying to make her anything but that. Foster is shown as a deceitful and power-hungry individual from the very beginning, not a typical wealthy individual, so I don't think it's fair to criticize Elysium for being too one-sided in its argument against the upper-class. The robots in Elysium also play a very important role, showing the detachment from humanity which ensues under a machine workforce. These robots make it even easier for the wealthy to suppress the poor because of the lack of face-to-face contact. In the end, Elysium is not ground-breaking from a storytelling standpoint but it's without a doubt a smarter than typical blockbuster, albeit heavy-handed, which provides a lot of entertainment value.
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