Monday, August 12, 2013

Elysium Review - 3 Stars

Sometimes really good science fiction looks into the future to make a statement about our times.  In “Elysium” we meet Matt Damon—(shaved head, tattoos, bulked up muscles)—a small time criminal trying to get his life on the straight and narrow.  He lives in the Los Angeles of 2154 on an overpopulated polluted earth where humans work like dogs for a bare survival.    Up in the sky looking like a crystal steering wheel we see Elysium — the climate controlled perfect world where the one per cent live—and live and live by the way because each mini mansion features a healing tube that allows the inhabitants to cure all disease and live a healthy almost eternal life.  Growing up in an orphanage, Damon promises a little girl that someday they will live there.  He meets the little girl now a grown up nurse when an industrial accident radiates him within five days of certain death.  He has to get to Elysium and his grown up girlfriend – played by Alice Braga — needs to go with him to cure her cancerous young daughter.  The journey won’t be easy thanks to Jodi Foster, who plays the head of the Elysium defense department and has designs on taking power.  With shoulder pads and snow-white close-cropped hair, Foster plays a real Ayn Rand villain.  I don’t think I am giving too much away to reveal that Foster chooses death over the loss of her power.  “Elysium” goes heavy on the immigration and universal health care issues as well as the 99 versus 1 per cent issue.  The story winds down to the usual good versus bad fight scenes.  But the set up makes this so very interesting.  Does it deliver what it promises?  Sci fi allegory.  Is it entertaining?  Mind boggling.  Is it worth the price of admission?  Pretty good stuff.