Film Micrœview #87: Elysium (2013)

06.17.2014 § Leave a comment

Bad sign: one of the first shots of the movie was in space, yet was jittery as if shot by a handheld cameraman hefting a thing with weight.

Bad sign: one of the first shots of the movie was in space, yet was jittery as if shot by a handheld cameraman hefting a thing with weight.

Rating: Evil.

Elysium’s special effects are top notch. I was wowed by subtleties in the robot explosions, atmospherics, and even camera choreography (jaunting) during the final fight scene.

However, everyone that sees this movie will become a slightly worse person. It reduces the problem of global inequality from one which requires social change to one which can be solved by rebooting a system and during this weak moment introducing a glitch to it. As if those who have been in power wouldn’t just correct the glitch. The healing is all deployed at the end to Earth on ships set up for this, as if those would even exist in the first place, and then everyone on earth understands about it instantly. That’s bullshit and it’s a degenerative, infectious perspective to be excited by in a high-octane action movie like this.

Perhaps the filmmakers, if they actually cared about this issue, would have done better to investigate the psychology of the folks on Elysium — why they may or may not think it’s okay for them to have and those on Earth to have not. Or more about how it came to this level of separation. Or perhaps more investigation into this economy within which the president must run fundraisers. Perhaps the richest on earth have a chance to make it to Elysium when (obviously finite) space frees up, so the poorest pool their resources and send sleeper agents. Or perhaps the poorest of the very rich on Elysium risk getting booted out, and that’s what drives social life up there. As it was, Jodie Foster was just a heartless power-hungry monster, the president was just the guy who was there, and the general guy didn’t even have the initiative to use his power (A COUP?!). Plus, it would have been better anyway to show a bit more of Elysium before shit started hitting the fan, because it seemed like a lot of imagination went into it, and that could have been really interesting. I’ve seen enough goddamn post-apocalyptic burnt-out Earths for chrissakes.

Also, need I even address the ridiculous premise, the leaps of logic? That we have a guy with a lethal dose of radiation on a ticking clock, who then gets a neurologically integrated droid exoskeleton, AND THEN GETS THE DIGITAL KEY TO CHANGING THE WORLD UPLOADED INTO HIS ACTUAL BRAIN SUCH THAT YOU CANNOT DOWNLOAD IT WITHOUT HIS WILL YET ALSO NOT WITHOUT KILLING HIM? They kind of lost me by that point.


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