Elysium takes place on a futuristic, overpopulated, and polluted Earth where all the poor (the majority of the population) live on Earth while all the rich live in Elysium where they can get super nice free health care insta-heal machines while everybody down on Earth gets diddly squat because everybody up in Elysium is a bunch of meanie buttheads who want the poor on Earth to suffer. Ok the second part may not be the actual, "Synopsis" of the movie, but it is exactly what I got out of it and what bugs me the most about the movie. Elysium tries so hard to have a political message that not only does it go overboard, but it fails to realize how you are even supposed to deliver messages in the movie, which is by putting a subtle message into a good story.
Since the movie continually focused on health care and immigration ("symbolically") I will spend the majority of this review talking about how it didn't do it well just to be fair. First, at the end of Elysium where *SPOILER* all the citizens of Earth get to become citizens of Elysium and everybody lives happily ever after *SPOILER* the movie fails to counter the most important point, how in the world are they supposed to fit everybody from the overpopulated Earth onto Elysium? Next, if those health care machines were so abundant and easy to make (and free to use) how come they didn't have any on Earth? I know, you'll say, 'But that was the whole point, they had available health care but wouldn't give it to them!' except it makes no sense why if those machines didn't cost any money to use why they wouldn't be available on Earth, they don't keep health care from people in real life because they are a bunch of meanies (like depicted in Elysium) but because of how much it actually cost, the movie just portrays the people of Elysium as a bunch of racist dickheads with absolutely no redeemable qualities. That is the next point I want to bring up, because the movie tries to force its political message it fails to develop good characters, the hero is a flawless chosen one cliche who is being abused by society, the girl and her daughter are also shown to be fairly flawless, both the villains are portrayed to be pure evil people trying to oppress the poor, and pretty much all of the poor are shown to be helpless, good-working people, while the rich on Earth and those in Elysium are all portrayed as dickheads with no redeemable qualities. By doing so the movie fails to create good characters or even develop any of them, none of the character have any sort of development whatsoever in the movie, no character changes, and as a writer (and community theatre actor) that is an exact example of what NOT to do when making a story.
Now when it comes to the acting it is all done fairly well, what I heard the most when I came into Elysium was how good Sharlto Copley is in the movie, and I have to say he was good (and the highlight of the movie on acting basis) but he wasn't that good. The reason he didn't do anything for me was how ridiculous he played the character, it was just a cliche villain put in there so there could be some nice action scenes near the end. When it came to the other performances, Matt Damon was fine, but other than that I thought the characters were a little to over the top, especially Jodie Foster's character, while Jodie Foster did fine with what she was given it just wasn't really her role, this role would have been better suited for somebody like Jane Lynch, but even then the character wasn't even that well written.
Overall, with all these faults in the movie there is only one person I can blame, and that is Neill Blomkamp. This guy gave us a classic with District 9 but I believe his ego got to him, he tried to hard to make the entire movie about pushing his political agenda that the movie failed to be any good. I honestly wanted to write a positive review for this (and actually before I started writing I intended to give it a 6/10) but after clearing my mind with what I though I can't give this movie fresh, the only thing fresh about this movie is the outstanding visuals and cinematography. So, Elysium fails to provide on any front and by focusing to hard on delivering its political agenda it not only fails to be a good movie but to even flesh out a reasonable argument for its political agenda.
4.5/10 Sticks of Bamboo