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Elysium – dumb name, good movie

Paul Peterson

Paul Peterson

I’ve never been a huge Matt Damon fan. He’s an average actor. Outstanding in Good Will Hunting  and adequate in all of those Bournes. He’s one of those actors who can be interesting in a role if the material is good. Luckily Elysium is exactly that. Good material. It just has a stupid name.

Set in 2154, Matt Damon plays a grunt worker named Max who is clearly a bit of a badass but keeps his nose clean. When an industrial accident gives him a death sentence if he doesn’t get treatment, he agrees to lead a seek and destroy party to the space station Elysium where all the rich people live in comfort and luxury, and where the health care is exceptional.

Two things get in the way – Delacourt (Jodie Foster) the ruthless head of the station who will stop at nothing to keep the ordinary people of earth out. Then there’s Kruger played by Sharlto Copley with a homicidal intensity that hasn’t been seen since The Terminator. That guy just won`t stop.

Written and directed by Neil Blonkamp who also did District 9 it’s a really entertaining little film.
I like science fiction if the emphasis is on the fiction, not the science. I find people bog down films in details. We don’t need a lengthy dissertation on physics and cold water fusion just tell me who, what, when and where.
Elysium does just that.

It’s a simple tale of a guy trying to save his own life and maybe do some good along the way. The story is strong, the casting exceptional, and I thought the acting carried the film.
Damon evolves into a hero along the way. We see him take on this task to save his own life and somewhere along the way he sees the bigger picture which allows him to put his needs on hold in order to promote the greater good. His choice saves the daughter of his childhood friend, who is at death’s door with leukemia. There is no health care on earth.

Jody Foster is at her ice princess best as the ruthless head of the space station who is hell bent on ruling the world not just that little part of it. Her greed and willingness to stop at nothing to achieve it ultimately undo the entire thing, as it always will in these kinds of movies.
The film is a high-tech western in its simplicity. I really like that. Story carries the action, not the effects. In fact, they do a minimal amount of techno nonsense however the restoring chambers which will take a completely destroyed face off the bad guy and restore it to its nasty best is impressive. A couple of beams of light loop over the patient and voila, all better.
Dentists beware.

Elysium is populated with a lot of interesting characters who transcend the obvious. They don’t lapse into cliche and I’m always a big fan of that.
Elysium was another pleasant surprise and I strongly recommend it
I still think it’s a stupid name though.
As always, other opinions are welcome, but wrong. That’s it for this week. The cheque’s in the mail and I’m outta here. Paul.

Filed Under: News from Everywhere ElsePaul Peterson

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