Critique: Elysium (movie)

27 December, 2013

Finally managed to watch Elysium on DVD.  I had kept my expectations low and it mostly managed to meet them.  In some ways it came across as a by the numbers cyberpunk pastiche:

  • World ruled by megacorps/1%, check.
  • Disposable people ground underfoot by said megacorps for no good reason, check.
  • Head of local crime syndicate turns out to be a social revolutionary willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good, check.
  • Headware memory, exoskeltons, powered armor and robotic soldier/cops, check.
  • Absurdly powerful firearms available yet the big bad killer uses a katana, check.

That being said, the special effects were good, the space wheel was superb and the scene of Max (Damian’s character) getting the exoskeleton installed was suitable horrific -and should give any cyberpunk GM good ideas for a visit to a street doc-.  But the movie did not make much sense, the society has amazing access to power (LA is shown full of street lights for example), the crime syndicate has access to shuttles that can fly to Elysium (and they are apparently cheap enough that they can afford to send three and not expect to get any of them back) and the 1% can commute back and forth to Elysium, yet the Earth is a hellhole to live in because . . .  The medical technology the rich use on Elysium is as easy to use as pie and consumes -to all appearances- negligible resources and it is not used on Earth because . . .  The crime syndicate has access to computers that can crack megacorp encrypted files and forge Elysium identification yet they do not use them to make things better because . . .

I know, it is suppose to be social commentary but you still need to have the story structure make sense to be able to make those observations and criticisms.  Still, if you can ignore the heavy handed attempts at social commentary, it does have some good action sequences and Elysium itself just looks beautiful.

Such are my thoughts on the movie, what did you think of it?



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