Elysium [IMAX]

Lost somewhere within this big-budget sci-fi spectacular is an indie film that could. With an obviously bigger budget and canvas to express himself, writer/director Neill Blomkamp could freely let his imagination run wild, but unfortunately his idea and story is too narrow and restricted and got drowned in the expansiveness of the new world he has created. There's a chiasmatic disconnect between the audience and the events happening on the screen. Without having a hero to root for, we are just passive observers; the little kid in danger felt shoehorned and another vain attempt to elicit compassion in the viewers. However, the kid had too little screen time and similarly for the mother, that that connection Matt Damon is supposed to have with Alice Braga was barely felt. Similarly, the only feeling we end up having is the vague sense of injustice against the 1%-ers. Damon is a good action hero, and a fine actor, however, in this case, I just do not feel for him. His motivations are so selfish, but yet, he is not an anti-hero as Blomkamp (and Damon) were not able to pull that off. Jodie Foster is just wasted in this role. Her tough as nails exterior is just so one-dimensional and although believable in her role, sadly, was just too small. The real star here, as was in Blomkamp's previous movie, is Sharlto Copley. He was barely recognisable but sure as hell made for a scary antagonist to Damon's flat hero. When he actually says something nice, you don't know if he is just shitting you, or telling you the truth. And when he goes full on crazy, Copley has got that whole crazy eyes things down pat. Without a terribly strong storyline (and admittedly not a very high concept one too), this action flick further faltered by having run-of-the-mill CGIs (the droids though smoothly animated were similar to what we had seen in District 9), boring action sequences (although the final fight was well shot/directed) and a repetitive, bland score by Ryan Amon. In the end, this film may have been intended, as District 9 was, to be an allegory of the modern times, but the latter succeeded in giving us something new and fresh, with a protagonist that connected and an antagonist that we feel conflicted against. Elysium only managed to be bigger, brighter, louder but not deliver any of the three factors above. Definitely not IMAX-worthy.


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