After not seeing him in anything decent over the last couple of years, I was really excited to see what Matt Damon would bring to the table for Elysium. Some of my favorite films ever have had Damon in them (all of the original Bourne movies, The Ocean’s Trilogy, and The Departed, just to name a few). The fact that the story is in the future (141 years, to be exact) and was written and directed by Neill Blomkamp didn’t hurt either.
Admittedly, the only other Blomkamp film I’ve ever seen was District 9, but I really loved that. In fact, I felt there was a lot of similarities between the styles of District 9 and Elysium. Outside of the obvious comparison of the space-y setting, the way it was filmed felt really familiar. I can’t complain about this, as it seemed to fit the movie well.
As its touted in the trailers, Elysium is quite impressive visually. I only saw it on a “regular” screen, but that was still awesome. There are a couple of moments where the CGI is a little choppy, but they are few a far between and don’t really take anything away from the whole experience. The tech used in the film was also pretty sweet. Specifically, the droids and the weaponry were really cool. It feels a little weird to explain it this way, but it felt like believable equipment for 141 years in the future. I liked that it felt like it could be real. My only gripe with this stuff was Kruger’s (Sharlto Copley) shield. He uses it a couple of times during the film, but it basically does nothing. Throw that thing away, man!
Speaking of Copley, I wouldn’t be able to write an honest review without mentioning his portrayal of Kruger. In short, he killed it. Anything that you may read prior to seeing the film will say that Damon and Jodie Foster are the stars of Elysium, but the real star is Copley. I really enjoyed Kruger the most out of all of the characters. He played the antagonist perfectly.
Unfortunately, there were a couple of things that weren’t so perfect about Elysium. The story ends up being pretty predictable. I think anyone that has seen the trailers can piece together what ends up happening from beginning to end. There wasn’t really any surprises or twists to speak of. I was also a bit confused about the need to have everyone in LA speak Spanish, and everyone on Elysium speak French. This doesn’t contribute a thing to the story, so why have it this way?
Elysium isn’t the best movie you’ll ever see, but it’s far from the worst. There are lots of things that work really well, but there’s a couple of flaws that drag it down a bit. I would absolutely recommend going to see it. The blemishes end up being relatively minor in the grand scheme of things. Elysium is visually impressive and entertaining enough to make it worth the price of admission.