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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Clash of Class

The year is 2154 and life for the residents on an impoverished and over-populated planet Earth is tough. Deplorable slum-like conditions have bred disease, pollution and misery diminishing the value of life of the race of humanity on the surface. There are two classes of what is left . The lucky few of the higher class have established an antiseptic utopian society on a massive orbiting space station that can been seen from the urbanized ghettos on the planet far below. Called Elysium it has become a symbol of social unrest for those who have nothing... and nothing left to lose.

While disease and unrest run rampant on Earth the citizens of Elysium live in excessive wealth and health. All disease has been cleansed for every home upon the orbiting station possesses a healing chamber. The impoverished peoples on the planet risk everything to escape the gritty life to immigrate to the station. Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster), a government official, will stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve the luxurious lifestyle of the citizens of Elysium. She will also stop at nothing to take over the governorship of the high class society as she plots against the powers that be.

Matt Damon plays a reformed deviant, Max, striving to survive the harsh conditions in the ruined urbanized overpopulated slums of Los Angeles. He finds himself backed into a corner after an industrial accident exposes him to a lethal dose of radiation and he is given only five days to live. His only hope of survival is to get to one of the Med Bays upon Elysium and is unknowingly pulled into Delacourt's take over plot. The Secretary sends her henchman Kruger (Sharlto Copley) to stop Max.

Fast paced action and excellent special effects make this movie a pretty fun ride. Copley plays his role as Kruger ruthlessly and becomes one of the more memorable bad guys in recent Science Fiction film history. I found it a bit unsettling to see Jodie Foster in the role of villain, because I have pulled for her as a character for good on so many occasions, but she pulled it off superbly. Matt Damon has always been a favorite (I picture him as my main character Dr. Brandon Jordan in the Morian Trilogy).

Sadly though, as the movie came to fruition, I found it falling a bit short of being great. While the special effects and fast pace make it worth the view, the plot fails in several areas. There is not enough perspective given on life of the actual residents of Elysium. It is as if director Neill Blomkamp
 in World War Z fashion rushed the ending of the movie (see earlier post World War Z ip). Though the movie is worth seeing once for its special effects and social commentary it falls well short of BlomKamps break-through Sci Fi epic District 9. 

I give this movie 3 1/2 stars