Elysium DVD ReviewDecember 20, 2013
Neill Blomkamp’s 2009 film District 9 was an interesting sci-fi action flick that dealt with the issue of racism. The film was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, and Blomkamp is out to prove that that film was no fluke, delivering another very solid summer blockbuster with Elysium. The film packs Hollywood star power like Matt Damon, Jodie Foster and William Fichter, while bringing his buddy and District 9 star Sharlto Copley along for the ride as well.
Elysium once again deals with societal issues, this time namely overpopulation, poverty and immigration. In the year 2154, planet Earth is in ruin. Its inhabitants face a harsh climate, crime, and oppression, while the wealthiest humans live on a glamorous space station called Elysium – protected by robots and home to magic medical bays that can heal even the most serious of ailments in seconds. The people of Earth are willing to risk all to make it into Elysium by any means necessary. It’s an intelligent action film that demands a multifaceted actor like Matt Damon, who does some of his strongest work in his role as Max. Max is a poor citizen just trying to make his way on the forsaken Earth, when circumstances suddenly and drastically affect him, leaving a near-suicidal trip to Elysium his only option. While Max starts off as a morally ambiguous character, his story arc will see him making a stand for all of Earth’s citizens.
While Matt Damon’s Max is an interesting and engaging anti-hero, Sharlto Copley’s mercenary Kruger threatens to steal the show. Jodie Foster is capable as the evil Secretary Delacourt, who intends to make a coup against the liberal government on Elysium. Delacourt’s plan is set into action with the help of Fichter’s John Carlyle, a businessman who’s made his billions off of the hard labor of Earth’s people, Max included. Diego Luna is solid as Max’s best friend Julio, who is willing to do whatever it takes to save his life-long buddy. The rest of the cast is decent, but forgettable.
Elysium‘s DVD release features two behind-the-scenes extras, pared down from the Blu-ray’s features but still worth a look. “Engineering Utopia: Creating a Society in the Sky” showcases the incredible talent at work to bring Elysium to the big screen in such a visually captivating fashion, with looks at concept artwork and early renderings as well as interviews with the artists. “Collaboration: Crafting the Performances in Elysium” interviews the film’s actors, and shows some funny on-set moments.
While Elysium is perhaps a bit too grim of a story, and could have easily benefited from a bit more levity in the proceedings, overall Neill Blomkamp’s sophomore effort is a strong one. With plenty of exciting action, an intriguing story and stellar acting from Damon and Copley, this is a film no sci-fi buff will want to miss.