Director Neill Blomkamp is establishing himself up as a politically charged sci-fi guy, but he needs to think a lot harder before attempting more movies like Elysium. Much like his first movie District 9, Elysium is ripe with political hot topics. With his new film Blomkamp wants to address issues such as out of control upper class privilege, immigration, ineffective medical care and abusive political control. But by the time the credits role he’s said nothing useful about any of those things other than that they do indeed exist. This is what passes for insight in modern movie making. Exactly like District 9 Blomkamp throws his ideas out the window after an hour or so and becomes preoccupied with making people go kablooey all over the screen. After two films it’s clearly a fetish with him. Maybe he played with explosives to much as a kid.
As a weekend action movie Elysium is passable. It has very commendable special effects and the first half of the movie is engrossing and well constructed. There is an inescapable sensation though that Blomkamp’s scenario as a whole hasn’t been totally thought out. What exactly is the plan for people who escape to Elysium, the great haven for the rich floating in Earth orbit? Some of the satirical bits are pretty sharp and star Matt Damon fits right into heightened chase escapades like this. But as the plot escalates more inconsistencies creep into things and the general attitude of action movie nonsense takes over. The whole exploding people thing again. The film culminates in an ending which is somehow upbeat but completely divorced from any logic the movie has spent more than enough time establishing. In short, the world is still a total environmental and economic disaster and billions of people live in filth and poverty but they’ll have some fancy medical robots to help them out. That makes everything okay? Blomkamp seems to think so.