When your first film is a major commercial and critical success like District 9, seeds of anticipation and worry are planted in the collective mind of your audience. Questions start crowding to the surface: “Is this guy for real? Is he a one-hit wonder? Can he do it again?” Needless to say: Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium had ginormous shoes to fill, serious expectations to meet, and a lot to live up to. Did it succeed? Yes… and no. Mostly no.
It’s Better Up There
The year is 2154, and society is divided into two classes: the wealthy, who live on a man-made habitat called Elysium, and the not-so-wealthy, who live on a diseased and overpopulated Earth. Matt Damon plays Max, an Earth-dweller determined to reach Elysium by fair means or foul. Jodie Foster is Delacourt, Elysium’s Secretary of Defense, equally determined to keep trespassers like Max off of her precious habitat – even if it means shooting them down in cold blood. Sharlto Copley, who played the hero Wikus in District 9, makes an appearance here as Kruger, Delacourt’s lunatic henchman.
The best thing about Elysium is undoubtedly the look of it. From the gritty, grimy dumps of futuristic LA, to the pristine paradise itself, this film is dressed to impress, and it does; in my opinion, it’s the most visually-arresting movie we’ve seen all summer (which is saying something, if you consider the competition). Combine this with Blomkamp’s talent for crazy cool sci-fi tech – a talent so amply demonstrated in District 9 – and it becomes hard to oversell how amazing it all really looks. (Come on, y’all. I can’t be the only nerd who wants an Exo-Suit for Christmas.)
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