I really wanted to like Elysium, and I guess I do, somewhat. However, there are some serious problems here that kept me from getting even as far as “I really like it” or “It’s great!”. The first half seemed to drag. Too much establishing of characters, and even then, it didn’t stick. I never got a feeling that Max (Matt Damon) cared about Frey (Alice Braga) and he wasn’t particularly likable either way. The accent from Jodie Foster was silly. I mean, why? It’s not like every other person had a specific accent she needed to match. The rape threats against Frey while Sharlto Copley’s Kruger was holding her and her kid captive were really off-putting. In fact, Kruger was so over the top EVIL he was uninteresting as a villain. He’s just some crazy asshole, there’s no depth. That might be okay if Jodie’s Secretary of Defense had some depth, but nope, and then (spoiler) she gets killed.
What made the movie hard to watch, though, was the shaky-cam. I’m not normally against the technique in places where it works well. However, the hand-to-hand/knife/sword (?) scenes were darn near unintelligible. The camera was too close, and even when it wasn’t it was so shaky you couldn’t tell who was doing what. It would be understandable if you were covering for an actor that can’t do action (think Sean Connery punching people in jump-cuts in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) but this is Jason Bourne here – he can handle it. Compare it to this:
Contrast that with Elysium, where I could see what looked like they maybe could possibly be some cool moves being pulled off in the fights but no more than that.
Other things, let’s see. The computer stuff seemed way wrong. Apparently it’s just one word you need to change in a file to re-work all of a society? And did no one who game robots that much power EVER read a sci-fi book or watch a TV show where AI goes nuts? Asimov? System Shock? Portal? Sigh. I think I’d have more checks and security in place on a station where you can assume the presidency (and get control of an entire robot army) by changing a line of code and rebooting a server.
The movie tried to make a point, but it got lost for me (despite it being hammered home repeatedly) in amongst all of the other problems. Grab it from the Redbox or catch it on Netflix.