Tuesday, August 13, 2013

No Happy Ending for Elysium

 Earlier today, I saw Elysium. And I can honestly say I was disappointed for all 109 minutes of it.
In 2154, Earth isn't doing so well. Disease and pollution have run rampant across the planet, so all of the rich people built a space station, shot it into space, and live there without a care in the world. Also, they have magic Med-Pods that can heal anything. Literally, anything.
Max (Matt Damon) is a former criminal from L.A. who needs to get on Elysium because he recently got radiation poisoning at work and will die in five days. Desperate not to die, Max gets involved in criminal activities again so his friend Spider (Wagner Moura) can get him a ticket up to Elysium. He also gets an exo-suit surgically attached to his body (as pictured in the poster).
While stealing data from a rich CEO on a routine visit to Earth, Max gets tangled up in Delacourt's (Jodie Foster) attempt at a coup up on Elysium so she can be president. So she sends her creepy and un-understandable sleeper agent Kruger (Sharlto Copley) after him.
This guy really needed subtitles.
After fighting, running, explosions, and the kidnapping of his childhood friend and her daughter (who has leukemia), Max surrenders to Kruger and is taken up to Elysium. Everything gets worse up there. Much worse.
Kruger coups the coup-er Delacourt and decides that he should be president of Elysium. Spider shows up on Elysium to save Max. An exo-skeleton powered battle between Max and Kruger takes place where Max wins. Spider uploads the stolen data from Max's head, killing him and instating all of the sick people on Earth as citizens of Elysium. The girl with leukemia is cured and it seems that Spider becomes Elysium's president. Medical assistance is sent to Earth and people are healed. The end.
Happy ending, right?
Thank you, Mr. Spacey.
Back up a little. Spider, a criminal, is now the president of Elysium? And all of the sick people on Earth are now citizens of Elysium? This is not a happy ending (plus, Matt Damon died ... how is that happy?)!
The ending actually makes everything worse. Elysium's government would fall apart so quickly with Spider in charge that the space station would probably fall out of orbit. The man has no experience whatsoever and definitely doesn't seem like the kind of guy to hand over that much power to someone who knows what they're doing. Also, all of the sick people on Earth are now citizens on Elysium ... there were a lot of sick people. The whole reason Elysium was built was because the planet was overpopulated, polluted, and sick. Now, all of these former sick people can live on Elysium. That gorgeous space station is going to very quickly get over-populated and potentially polluted from so many people. I give it just a few decades before Elysium's "one-percent-ers" decide to build another space station for them to live on once Elysium goes down the toilet. Plus, all of these people can't get sick now because of the magic Med-Pods. So over-population will happen even more quickly because disease won't be killing anyone off. The movie ends in a seemingly happy way, but just months - heck, just days after the movie is over everything is going to fall to shit.
Unhappy ending aside, the movie just was not good. Damon didn't do a poor job portraying his character, it was just a poor character to begin with. Not once during the movie did I feel connected to Max, I didn't even feel bad when he died at the end. He just wasn't a likeable person. And the same with Jodi Foster's character. While her acting was a little more over-the-top, she was pretty much just a selfish bitch. She wasn't even an interesting villain. And Kruger was just weird. None of the characters stuck out or were special, they were just as boring as the middle chunk of the movie that dragged on forever.
Also, the political undertones were so in your face that they were more like political over-the-top-and-incredibly-blatant-tones. And there was so much unnecessary gore. Too much unnecessary gore. Four people exploded in the movie. FOUR! That is four too many.
I recommend not seeing this movie. It isn't worth sitting through and it's obvious that sci-fi is a genre Matt Damon doesn't do well in.

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