This review contains some spoilers, but from a plot perspective, Elysium is a straightforward action movie with no twists or surprises, so there isn’t a whole lot to give away.
Elysisum is another movie that has been oversold by Steve Sailer. You may recall that Steve told us that Idiocracy was the greatest movie ever, when it fact it was one of the worst movies ever. Elysium isn’t the worst movie ever, and in fact it’s quite charming for what it is, which is a campy sci-fi action movie with just the right amount of campiness such that it doesn’t become too stupid. But I was expecting more from Neill Blomkamp, the co-writer and director of the 2009 movie District 9.
Steve Sailer seems to think that Elysium is politically incorrect, but Alex Jones from Infowars thinks that Elysium is the most racist movie ever, and when he says “racist” he means that it’s racist against white people, and that the movie indoctrinates us into the liberal way of thinking that whites are evil while Hispanics are good.
Who is right? Can they both be right?
Elysium takes place in a dystopian 2154, but compared to countless other dystopian futures portrayed in other movies, Blomkamp’s dystopian 2154 Los Angeles has a realistic racial composition (95% Hispanic), and his space stations where all of the rich people live appears to be 90% white and 10% Asian. No doubt that Blomkamp’s politically incorrect attention to race is what Steve Sailer likes about the movie. But the movie clearly shows that the rich whites are assholes.
Let’s talk about that space station, Elysisum. Blomkamp deserves some credit for imagining the first space station that looks like the Hamptons. (Other reviews say it looks like Beverly Hills, but I’ve only been to Beverly Hills once, and only briefly, so to me it looks like the Hamptons.) Bedsides the few citizens of Elysium who work in the government (such as their Secretary of Defense played by Jodie Foster), the, and John Carlyle the CEO of the big corporation (played by William Fichtner) the rest of the citizens seem to spend most of the time attending pool parties at their mansions, all very smartly dressed in what could best be described as preppy country club casual. This initially made me like them a lot more than the scruffy, dirty and tattooed Hispanics living down on Earth.
Blomkamp’s future has robots. There are robot cops and robot parole officers. But why aren’t there any robot factory workers? Instead, John Carlyle mans his factories with humans who work in unsafe conditions because they are considered expendable. The hero of the movie, Max (played by an Hispanic-looking Matt Damon), is told by his white foreman that he has to go into a dangerous industrial machine in order to remove some blockage, or he will be fired. So Max does it, but then the machine starts up and he is blasted with a lethal dose of radiation.
But Max could live if he could get medical treatment at Elysium. You see, in Eysium, every house has its own super-computerized-medical-bay that can heal anything. But as I wrote above, the white people who live in Elysium are assholes. They have these super- computerized -medical-bays that are just sitting around their houses unused 99% of the time, but they won’t send any of these to the hospitals down on Earth. And they don’t seem to have any good reason for their stinginess besides just hatred of Hispanic people. At the end of the move, after the good guys “reboot” the Elysium computer making everyone down on Earth citizens, the computer sends a bunch of robot medical shuttles down to earth to heal everybody and there don’t seem to be any negative repercussions for anyone in Elysium.
The other interesting side-plot in the movie is the politics of Elysium. The hard-nosed Secretary of Defense will do anything to keep the earth-scum from invading their sanctuary in the sky, but the wimpy liberal Indian President Patel (played by Harvard grad Faran Tahir) doesn’t have the stomach for the tough policing necessary to keep their families safe.
Throughout the movie, I was waiting to discover the history of Elysium. Why did the rich people have to move to a space station? Why couldn’t they just move to the Hamptons? Or to Australia? What was their reason for withholding medical technology? There are no answers, it’s just a dystopian future where the white people are evil assholes.
I rate Elysium as being less worthy of watching than every other movie I’ve reviewed during the last year. So I recommend subscribing to Netflix and watching Damsels in Distress, Les Miserables, Let Me In, and Seripico, all much better movies.