Wednesday, 25 May 2016
Neill Blomkamp leapt to international attention with District 9, a film I thought started strongly but descended into mediocrity by the end. This is not the case with this, his second film. Instead, Elysium begins with mediocrity and digs energetically toward stupid for every one of its 100 minutes.
In the late 21st Century, Earth is suffering from resource shortages and massive over-population. So the wealthy build a massive space habitat (called Elysium, naturally) to serve as their private retreat. There they enjoy opulent plenty, with beautiful homes, decadent food, and insta-healing machines that can cure all illnesses in a matter of seconds. Where do the resources come from for all this? Don't ask questions the film won't bother to answer.
Back on Earth we have Max, a former car thief trying to make a go of an honest life. He would probably have more success in this if he wasn't a complete numbskull. Now I'm sure we're supposed to see Max as a charming rogue rather than a blithering idiot, but if the skull's numb, the skull's numb: and this skull is numb, brother.
Anyway, due his stupidity - and to Jodie Foster and the guy from District 9 being Evil for the sake of Evil - Maxiboy ends up running around with the keys to Elysium in his head. Naturally that puts the bad guys on his trail but fortunately for him, they're even dumber than he is.
I'm not kidding about the villains, by the by: Foster's character has some specious dialogue to justify her wicked plans, but they don't hold water for even a few seconds, and she goes on to commit the cardinal sin of "yell at the homicidal nutcase you've employed while the two of you are alone" (guess how that ends up for her?), while District 9 guy is playing said homicidal nutcase.
Don't waste your time.