Matt Damon in Elysium (2013)

El Missing Something

In the year 2154 the super rich have left Earth to live in luxury on space station called Elysium where the air is clear, there is no crime and illness is left down on the over crowded planet. And to make sure that never changes Secretary of Defence Delacourt (Jodie Foster) makes sure those on Earth can't migrate to the space station whilst also trying to stage a coup to become President. On Earth former car thief Max (Matt Damon) finds himself on a mission to reach Elysium as an accident has seen him suffer from radiation poisoning and his only hope is on the space station.

Here in my mind is what "Elysium" should have been, even what it intended to be. Whilst for some it would be a sci-fi action movie about a hero dealing with the bad guys, the men hunting him down and saving not only his life but those which are close to him for others it would be a clever commentary about social divide with the rich living in luxury and using their wealth to keep poverty out of sight and mind. And that movie could have been visually entertaining but also captivating with its commentary on that great social divide.

But "Elysium" didn't end up that movie. What "Elysium" ended up was a movie which went wrong by putting too much focus on the effects and that made it a movie which was a series of peaks and troughs. Those peaks were those big moments of CGI enhanced action but because these had so much attention paid to them that all the story telling in between and attempts at creating character depth became the mundane troughs. Now for some this will be enough, they will enjoy the slow motion explosions and the spacecrafts etc etc but for me I needed more than the visual tricks and it didn't come.

The knock on effects of this is that "Elysium" then starts relying on Matt Damon's star power as an action hero to save it and sadly not even Damon in action man mode can't bring this movie to life. The thing is that "Elysium" has other stars such as Jodie Foster and Sharlto Copley but it ends up all about Damon because neither of them gets chance to establish their characters.

What this all boils down to is that "Elysium" might entertain some audiences whose enjoyment rests on special effects and star power. But for those who expected more in the line of story and character depth they are going to be left wanting.