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It’s been four long years since District 9 came out, standing out as one of the best sci-fi films of the decade. The film gave us hope that real, thought provoking science fiction was still achievable in an era dominated by big budgets and cinematic catastrophes.  

Well, the driving force behind District 9, Neil Blomkamp, is at it again, this time with a tale centered around class warfare and healthcare. The question on everyone’s mind from the get go is whether this will be a tremendous follow up to District 9 or a cinematic dud?

Matt Damon plays Max, a former thug trying to make it as a regular citizen in 22nd century Los Angeles. Frey (Alice Braga), a girl he grew up with, is now a nurse at the local hospital and just might be into him after all these years. When an accident happens at Max’s workplace he is given a lethal dose of radiation and has days to live. All the while “Elysium” hangs overhead like heaven, a place where the rich have unlimited luxuries, including machines that can cure any disease or affliction. Jodie Foster plays Delacourt, the head of security for Elysium that is hell bent on keeping the riff raff out. Max uses his underworld ties to try and get himself to Elysium and in the process gets strapped with an exoskeleton that gives him incredible strength and the “keys” to Elysium. Sharlto Copley plays Kruger, Delacourt’s maniac on call that gets sent after Max to take the keys back.


“Ok, I’ll just leave. Thank you for letting me know.”

Kruger. Sharlto Copley brings it so hard in this movie and manages to be truly terrifying. At first this character was paper thin, but once the film gets rolling and he does his thing it is truly mesmerizing to watch.

Also, Matt Damon as Max. I’ll throw this out there and say that he’s always good, but here — in sharp contrast to his the Bourne movies, — he manages to show real emotion and makes this character believable. Especially since he had so little to work with, but more on that later.

Finally, the special effects. Out of all the movies this summer this has got to be the best, most clear world building I’ve seen outside of Star Trek Into Darkness. The robots, the towers, and Elysium itself are just stunning and the whole time I was watching I just wanted drink in this amazing world Blomkamp managed to create. True eye candy here.

This movie’s story is thin. I mean, really thin. Which was an incredible surprise and disappointment. Characters have little to no backstory, plot points are rushed over, and even worse, the movie jumps around at a frantic pace for seemingly no reason whatsoever. In other words, it has summer blockbuster syndrome, which is the last thing I was expecting from this director. You can say what you want about District 9, but that movie dug so deep into its premise with interesting details it felt like I could’ve bought a ticket and flown to South Africa and checked out the Prawns myself. Sadly, that level of story detail is lacking, and the movie suffered for it.

Jodie Foster didn’t add points either. Her character was very cliché and her prescence is the symptom of ham fisted political overtones. At one point she screams “send homeland security” and I just rolled my eyes as the movie lost me right then there. It’s not that I don’t like politics in a movie, but The Purge, which also came out this summer, handled it with so much more class.

Which brings me to my final point. While this movie is all about this place in the sky and this awesome suit Matt Damon is in ,there isn’t a lot that is done with it, and while there are some interesting elements the whole tech side of things was very underwhelming.




Action A Go Go Approved, but only just.

It seems to be the curse of this summer movie season, but again we have a movie that’s not too bad, not too good, but definitely worth it if you want to get your blood pumping.

Finally, this movie is not the follow up to District 9 I was hoping for, which is a shame, but I get the feeling if this came from another director whose work I wasn’t familiar with I would be pleasantly surprised.