Elysium is a message movie. It has two messages. It might have more but I only counted two. It also has two big stars – Jodie Foster and Matt Damon. It features Sharlto Copley, the main star in writer/director Neill Blomkamp’s Oscar-nominated District 9 (2009), in an important role. Sharlto plays an evil, bad guy who has some bad luck when a hand grenade goes off about six inches from his face. This slows him down for a few minutes.
Elysium is a lot like Les Miserables (2012) but with no singing. It is about a time in the future, 2154, when there are only two classes of people. Those who live on Elysium, a space station circling the earth, and those who are on earth. Elysium is a virtual paradise where everyone goes to parties and swims in beautiful pools while their plate of hors d’oeuvres and champagne are being brought out from their mansions. Earth is not doing so well. It’s overpopulated, dirty, out of time, and without hope. On Elysium medical care is done by lying in a machine that diagnoses any illness or disease and immediately cures it by “reatomizing” you in just a few seconds. Earth has hospitals but they are out of medicine and there are only a couple of Band-Aids that everyone shares. Your best chance, if you are sick, is to find what may be a clean patch of dirt, eat it and hope you get better.
Damon. plays a skilled laborer who gets radiated in an industrial accident and has only a few days to live. He gets a bionic super arm and decides to help a few friends to get to Elysium and get in the special machines to get fixed up. Unfortunately he must fight off robots, drones and Copley. Then he must sneak onto a shuttle and make it to Elysium without being shot to pieces by the director of security, Jodie Foster. Foster is not happy because she had to leave a wedding party to kill him.
The film is fairly evenly split by time on Elysium, the pretty scenes, and time on earth in Los Angeles, which looks like the biggest garbage dump in history. Locations in Mexico and Canada stand in for L.A. and Elysium. Not hard to tell which was which.
Lots of fighting ensues and deja vu scenes from other films of the same genre pop up every few minutes. When the end nears, a big event occurs and we find out the movie’s messages on medical care and immigration. I learned a lot. Here’s a message for you. Wait for Elysium on free TV.
Rated 2.3 out of 4.0 reasons that the reatomizing idea looks pretty good.