Leftist, But Also Redemptive
Starring: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster,
Alice Braga, Sharlto Copley,
Diego Luna, Wagner Moura,
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 109 minutes
Distributor: TriStar Pictures/Columbia
Director: Neill Blomkamp
Executive Producer: Sue Baden-Powell
Producer: Bill Block, Neill Blomkamp,
Writer: Neill Blomkamp
Address Comments To:Michael Lynton, CEO/Co-Chairman
Amy Pascal, Co-Chairman
Jeff Blake, Vice Chairman
Sony Pictures Entertainment (Columbia Pictures/FilmDistrict/TriStar/Screen Gems/Affirm Films/Provident Films)
10202 West Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232-3195
Phone: (310) 244-4000; Fax: (310) 244-2626; Web Page: www.spe.sony.com/
In the story, the super-rich have fled an environmentally degraded, overpopulated Earth for Elysium, a fancy, huge space station with mansions and elaborate gardens ensconced in an Earth-like atmosphere circling the station’s hub. Meanwhile, the average citizen, many of them poor and sickly, still live on Earth.
Matt Damon plays Max, an ex-convict trying to straighten out his life in a rundown Los Angeles. Max is lucky to have a job in a factory making police robots. The robots make sure order is maintained on Earth. They also help make sure that none of the poor or working class escapes to Elysium. The problem is, everyone wants to go to Elysium, where there are healing machines that can magically cure cancer, broken bones and other deadly, debilitating ailments.
One day, an accident at work gives Max acute radiation poisoning. A medical robot gives Max some pills and tells him he only has five days to live.
Now, Max has to find a way to hijack a shuttle to Elysium and get to one of the healing machines. He finds a possible way to do it (if he also gets hold of some Elysium computer codes), but it puts him in touch with Frey, a young woman he met at the Catholic orphanage where they both grew up. Frey is now 28 and has a young sickly daughter with a terminal illness. Max is given a chance not only to save his own life, but also the little girl’s, and maybe the millions of people left suffering on Earth as well.
Two obstacles stand in Max’s way. They are Delacourt, the power-hungry security official on Elysium determined to protect it from Earth’s riff-raff, and her nasty henchman on Earth, Kruger, a brutal ex-soldier from South Africa.
ELYSIUM is directed by Neill Blomkamp, the South African director of the acclaimed but seriously flawed DISTRICT 9, which also had some political themes. Thus, ELYSIUM is a politically correct allegory of the politics-of-envy variety, where the rich people are the bad people and the poor are completely oppressed by the power structure. The movie implicitly suggests socialism is the answer to poverty and economic failure, especially socialized medicine like Obamacare. ELYSIUM is also a politically correct allegory about America’s illegal alien problem. For example, most of the characters Max encounters on Earth, including his friend and would-be love interest, are Hispanic. Finally, the two bad guys, including Jodie Foster’s character Delacourt, are white and speak with heavy South African accents.
These accents also make ELYSIUM less enjoyable than it could have been. Key lines of dialogue, especially from the henchman, Kruger, are extremely hard to hear. Not everyone will catch them. The movie’s occasionally choppy editing style doesn’t help. Also, the story’s moral, heroic elements take a little while to get going. That said, ELYSIUM becomes more interesting and more exciting the further it goes along. It also has some terrific special effects.
So, by the end of the movie, you’re rooting for Max to succeed, the little girl to get cured, and the oppression of the remaining people on Earth to end. There are also flashbacks between Max as a child with the Catholic nun who helped him and his friend when they were young. You have a destiny, the nun keeps telling Max. This proto Christian content eventually develops into a strong Christian allegory of sacrifice for mankind, destroying oppression, healing, and getting a new identity. These redemptive, moral elements help counteract the movie’s left-leaning political correctness.
Sadly, however, ELYSIUM has some extreme violence. At one point, a steel exo-skeleton is grafted onto Max’s body to help give him super-strength to combat the henchmen and deal with the robots he may encounter on Elysium. Some of the shots from this story development are fairly gruesome, as are some of the images form all the movie’s action violence. ELYSIUM also has lots of strong foul language. Multiple uses of the “f” word help ELYSIUM earn an R rating from the Motion Picture Association of America.
Overall, therefore, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for ELYSIUM. ELYSIUM is a very good science fiction movie, but it could be a little better, a lot cleaner, and less politically correct.
Ironically, as successful leaders in the entertainment industry, the filmmakers and main producers behind this movie (and Matt Damon, by the way*) are effectively living on their own Elysium. They got there through hard work, talent, and the economic liberty that the United States provides, not only for Americans but also for people from many other nations and many other lands. Instead of trying to sneak into the United States, immigrants might want to consider reforming their own countries first. Then, if they are still being oppressed by the socialist or corrupt policies of their overseas governments that stifle economic liberty and limit economic growth, they can try to come to the U.S. and become American citizens in an orderly, legal fashion. If they do make it legally in the United States, they should support economic liberty and refuse to destroy America from within by supporting the kind of socialist and corrupt policies that are (too often) ruining their own countries of origin.
* Note: Matt Damon just enrolled his three children into private schools after publicly supporting the corrupt, socialist “public” schools for years.
ELYSIUM becomes more interesting and more exciting as it progresses. It also has some terrific special effects. However, it’s a politically correct fable about rich versus poor, a leftist allegory about illegal immigration. There’s also plenty of strong foul language and some extreme violence. That said, ELYSIUM ends with a Christian allegory about sacrifice for mankind, healing, and new identities. It just could be a little better, a lot cleaner, and less politically correct. Extreme caution is advised.