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Monday, August 12, 2013


"Bring down the bone saw!"

Within the overall ranking of great film, there is a sub-section of great reserved for awesome Sci-Fi, the rarest of all great. This blog will begin with a review of such a film.

Having just seen Elysium I am more probably more envious of director Niell Blomkamp than any other person in the world right now. Besides the fact that Blomkamp’s now two feature films are fantastic, his other film is District Nine, he’s only 33 and he operates as a visionary in the Sci-Fi genre, a genre where visionaries are in urgent demand.

In 2154 Earth’s wealthiest have abandoned the filthy scourge that has become our home planet and taken up residence on Elysium, a Garden of Eden type space station equipped with ultra-advanced medical technology. It’s all just a quick shuttle ride away from Earth. Close enough to be realistic, but just outside the reach of masses.

Matt Damon plays Max, a heavily tattooed former criminal trying to get this life back on the straight and narrow, but the Los Angeles of 2154 where he resides makes it difficult. After a run of bad luck he is dealt a deadly dose of radiation while working at his factory job. From here Max’s only chance of survival is to get to Elysium. Conveniently, Max just happens to be on a first name basis with Spider, a mastermind hacker crime boss that has the means to get Max there. After an unpleasant scene were Max is fused to with a robotic exoskeleton all he needs to do to attain his passage is hijack a corrupt official’s brain and download the data to his own.

The dismal picture that Blomkamp paints of our future as a species is grim, although slightly glorified. His Los Angeles 2154 resembles the favelas of current day Rio de Janerio, hardly a fictional dystopia, and although Damon is a pleasure to watch amidst this dystopian fiction, his overall goal of trying to save his own life is not enough to garner sympathy. It is difficult to care about the worth of a single ex-con’s life amidst the pandemonium and violence that everyone around him also suffers.

This disconnect never really resolves itself despite an attempt: Max ends up trying to save his childhood friend, and her daughter too. It doesn’t work, but it also doesn’t matter. This film is about wholes, big pictures, sums of all things greater than the individual. The technological marvels of Elysium are matched only by the decrepitude of the world that Blomkamp creates. A statement has been made loudly about humanity’s potential trajectory, lest we decide to alter it.