Speculative Fiction Saturday: Elysium

ElysiumI was really looking forward to seeing Elysium. It was written and directed by Neill Blomkamp, the man who gave us a film that everyone should see called District 9. District 9 was about how humans are inherently xenophobic and proud, and shows how we would truly treat an alien race: by putting them in slums. Elysium is a film that is made for the “We Are the 99 Percent” generation, and the theme is about class.

The setup for the film is done with two sentences. I didn’t write them down, but essentially Earth became too polluted and overcrowded, and so a huge space station called Elysium was created as a permanent vacation home from the planet. Unfortunately, only the upper class live there, and they have access to machines that can cure all kinds of diseases and “never get old”.

Okay, here is where the plot holes begin. I can’t help but think that Elysium is a really big place, and I also can’t help but wonder who decided what people should live there. I mean, was there a group of astronauts who started building this huge space station and just said: “hey, let’s get have some kids and just forget about Earth”. And then they

I mean, Elysium is quite a cool place with mansions and trees, and they have machines that heal diseases, but don’t share them with the denizens of Earth below. This leads to rebel groups who fly shuttles to Elysium just to use their healing machines. Of course they get caught and get deported, but where do these rebels get access to these shuttles?

Here’s the thing that is really weird. To stop these shuttles that are headed for the space station, the defense secretary launches missiles at them. These missiles do not originate from the space station, but some guy on Earth with a missiles launcher. This defense is weak, and the launcher scene serves to introduce Kruger, who serves as the main villain.

Yeah, it isn’t Jodie Foster, and Kruger is not at all interesting as a villain at all, along with most of these characters. At least Matt Damon is doing the best he can, and I almost forgot to tell his story. He plays Max, a worker who gets cancer at work, and a robot doctor tells him he has days to live. Max realizes that he has to work with those rebels that try and get on Elysium illegally, and this is essentially the main plot.

This film has the plot of many other speculative fiction films, with the one man versus a sinister society. There are some new things in this film that I like. The first is Elysium itself, which looks so beautiful that I would not mind living there myself. That is the utopian society, but the dystopian society gives Max and exo-suit which is easily the coolest thing since The Matrix, and is probably the selling point of the film.

Sadly, the film is quite predictable, and I will have to say that I can’t recommend it. The film has a pace that is too fast and too slow at the same time, which I guess is some kind of achievement.

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