Elysium does not go deep into the immigration reform and social status issues that are displayed front and center in the film’s trailer. It doesn’t have to. Upon viewing the film, it provides enough exposure of a message without being too in the face about it.
Elysium works as a sort of but not really follow up to Neill Blomkamp’s feature film directorial debut District 9 (2009). Watching the movie, one can tell that it expands upon some of District 9’s themes of segregation and reform. The movie is set in 2154 when the earth is polluted and full of waste. The city of Los Angeles, where main character Max (Matt Damon) lives, is run down and filled with garbage. Wealthy people live on a space station habitat called Elysium that orbits earth.
Ever since he was a kid Max has always wanted to go to Elysium. They have everything: plentiful food, safety, and medical healing pods that detect and cure any abnormalities in seconds. After a factory accident involving radiation poisoning leaves Max with days to live, he decides to go on a mission to Elysium. Max wants to get to one of Elysium’s medical pods so he can heal himself and continue to live.
Audiences may feel a sense of refreshment when watching the films. It is one of the few action/special effects heavy films this year that has more than just mindless fight sequences and star power to offer. The movie lets people think about a dystopian world that might actually become a reality. Blomkamp said of the theme of the film “No. No. This isn’t science fiction. This is today. This is now.”
Since the film has a few loose ends it did not tie up, it leaves much of its dystopian/sci-fi future themes to the imagination. That shouldn’t scare away viewers. The film holds well in providing a good overview of what director Blomkamp was trying to convey. Matt Damon, Jodie Foster and Sharlto Copley all give solid performances.