READER REPORT:

Elysium 'big disappointment'

KAAL KACZMAREK
Last updated 05:00 26/08/2013
elysium

TRIPE: Matt Damon in Elysium.

Elysium - Official Trailer

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Yawn. Another apocalyptic movie? But wait (wipes sleep from eyes) starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. And directed by District 9 wunderkind, Neill Blomkamp! No, no need to read the reviews - let's go!

Opening scene: a flashback of young Matt Damon playing with his childhood sweetheart in a pre-apocalyptic urban slum. Voiceover from grandmother (or some other wizened gravelly voice): "You were born to do something special".

Oh-oh.

From this cliched, everything-that-annoys-you-about-Spielberg beginning, Elysium the movie, unlike its subject, does not fly. The premise has promise and runs basically along the same lines as Ben Elton's novel Stark. The 'haves' led by Jodie Foster have abandoned Earth and created a utopian space station which hovers like a floating green-lawned, London Eye over Earth. Down on Earth, thing aren't too nice: overpopulation, environmental degradation, crime (you get the picture) and rogue South African rugby players/agents (think Sebastian Chabal with a rocket launcher) doing dirty deeds for their bosses hovering above.

Among all this is Matt Damon, a bad guy gone good, just trying to earn a wage and reconnect with his newly-found, long lost love from the opening scene (I can barely type it without retching). Matt has a nasty work accident and, with his health deteriorating, is inspired to try to reach the miraculous machine which heals all (The BeJeezus 2200) with the help of Doc Brown and a De Lorean - no, wait - an eccentric Brazilian crime wiz, his long-lost love, her sick daughter holding a teddy bear and a spacecraft.

Sigh.

Elsyium, somehow, is getting positive press reviews. This is mystifying and I can only blame it on the reverence for the actors and director's previous shining glories. District 9 featured people turning into prawns but Elysium is real tripe.

The aforementioned promising plot is riddled with holes and the characterisation is ridiculously cardboard cutout especially Jodie Foster's inexplicably terrible commander (think Sigourney Weaver in Avatar bad). I think Matt Damon's character had an advantage basically being in pain for the duration of the movie - that way his winces delivering the leaden dialogue were at least in character. The visuals - yes, they are impressive - were not enough to forgive the crimes being committed elsewhere.

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A big disappointment.


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