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FILM FANS: 'Elysium' a great way to end summer

EDITOR’S NOTE: Film Fans features local residents reviewing the movie of the week: “Elysium.” Want to be a film fan? Email features@gwinnettdailypost.com.

2 out of 4 stars

“Elysium” is difficult to classify: it is a sci-fi drama, with elements of fantasy and romance. It’s loud and violent with more guns, bombs and exploding bodies than you can shake a stick at. Also, it carries a somewhat obvious and heavy-handed message about oppression, immigration and proper usage of the world’s natural resources.

In the leading role of Max, Matt Damon earns our sympathy as a convict trying to turn his life around but, instead of inspiring us as a great hero, Max seems to have a self-imposed messiah complex. Jodie Foster is fun to watch playing against-type as Secretary Delacourt, a deceptive leader of her Utopian community, but her scenes are short and lack depth. The actors in the supporting roles are a mix of mediocre to poor, with many of them having such strong accents that they are difficult to understand.

The special effects are one of the best things about this film. The opening credits are captivating, featuring sweeping views of Earth in the year 2154, complete with trashed skyscrapers and littered streets. The use of CGI is effective throughout. It is unfortunate that the script and acting are rather sub-par.

Elysium is rated R for graphic violence and language.

— Paul Tate, Sugar Hill

3 and 1/2 out of 4 stars

The sci-fi movie “Elysium,” directed by Neill Blomkamp, was terrific. Every scene with the characters were interesting and the use of special effects was spot on. Blomkamp’s last major hit movie he directed was “District 9” that had certain elements repeated in “Elysium,” for one with it being a sci-fi movie that has social commentary. It’s not as thought provoking as “District 9 was,” but it’s not trying to be either. It isn’t a sequel to “District 9.” It is its own movie that is just a fun summer movie with good likeable characters and a good story.

Jodie Foster’s character was the weakest link in this movie though. Her character was there just to set certain things in motion that had to propel the story along. I did not buy her performance. It was not on the same level of realism as the other characters were on. Sharlto Copley I feel is one of the best villains of the year so far. His presence alone had this evil villain look to him that he didn’t have to do much to his acting to believe he is the scary bad guy. “Elysium” is a nice ending to the summer fun action movies this year.

— Brittany Wygladalski, Sugar Hill

3 and 1/2 out of 4 stars

If you are a sci-fi fan and looking for an escape from the overblown superhero summer flicks, then you will truly enjoy “Elysium.” Director Neill Blomkamp of “District 9” fame creates a gritty futurist movie filled with riveting special effects, fast-paced action and a very engaging story.

The film is set in 2154 when Earth is an overpopulated, polluted and ultimately a very poor world with everyone living in a shanty town setting. The very rich have fled Earth to a lavish space station called Elysium with all the luxuries of mansions, pools, robot servants and all the top technological advances. The main advantage of Elysium is each house contains a healing chamber that cures every ailment from a simple cut to cancer in a few seconds. The story revolves around Max de Costa (Matt Damon), an ex-convict car thief working a mundane robot factory job when he accidentally gets exposed to radiation and is given five days to live.

Desperate to get to Elysium to be cured, he takes a job from his old crime boss Spider (Wagner Moura) who helps desperate people illegally enter Elysium. Max is fitted with an exoskeleton to steal valuable computer data from his factory boss John Carlyle (William Fichtner). In an effort to stop the theft, Madame Delacourt (Jodie Foster), Elysium’s defense secretary, sends Kruger (Sharlto Copley) a rugged black ops solider to stop Max and retrieve the stolen data that could threaten the way of life in Elysium.

Blomkamp does a great job of blending current social issues such as discrimination and healthcare into his storytelling of a future existence while still balancing a fantastic story with action and stimulating scenery. Overall, it was a very entertaining movie and a nice addition to a sub-par summer movie season.

— Ken Gamble, Lawrenceville