Escape to the Movies: Elysium

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Yeah sorry, this movie is not as good as Bob paints it. It's alright, its just nowhere near great. The allegory didn't bother me as I was expecting it, however, it lacked the charm that District 9 had so it kind of slogs when the action slows (fortunately that doesn't happen a lot). They overuse shaky cam in any of the melee fights, likely to keep the exo-suits from looking to fake, but it really ruins a couple of the combat scens.

And Jodie Foster is TERRIBLE. She really brings down the rest of the movie. I don't know what happened to her as an actress, but just plain awful and a terrible accent as well.

I'm glad Elysium turned out to be good; Neil Blomkamp is turning out to be my favorite sci-fi director because the characters, the world, the sci-fi elements all blend well together in a believable way that translate well on screen. Still holding my breath for that district 10 movie; it'll happen someday....

Casual Shinji:
We're never gonna get that Battle Angel Alita movie, are we? :'(

i second that thought shinji :(
since the movie rights are being held hostage by that s.o.b. james cameron, who by the way wants to make 3 more avatar movies(overkill there cameron?) there probably won't be an battle angel movie until 2018-2020. There's also the conflicting reports of him retiring after completing avatar or saying he'll start battle angel in 2017, which is after the avatar sequels. i wished he'd left go of the rights and become the producer instead.

LysanderNemoinis:
Holy cow, Bob being mesmerized by a liberal wankfest propaganda movie. Let me go get my socks that just blew off.
And as for the aesthetics goes, the movie looks like someone smashed Battle Angel Alita and Vanquish together and then hired someone from MSNBC to write the script.

True.

Escape To The Movies has become an elaborate exercise of one man's pursuit of the elusive art of self-deception and the repeated dissembling of information.

I just got back from it. The action absolutely rocked, and Sharlto Copley put on one of the most memorable and powerful performances of a crazy-ass villain since Heath Ledger. The aesthetic was brilliant, and the movie was full of plenty of small touches to make it feel more real. For example, attention is never explicitly drawn to it, but Kruger's arsenal is extremely divergent from the standard equipment of his cohorts and nicely reflects his mental state.

My friend who I saw it with is a lifelong Republican, and he had no issue with it. There's a difference between propaganda and simply trying to make a point. If your political views are so fragile that you can't handle a movie that expresses different views, well, you're in for a rough time. Be more selective with your theater trips. Or just stay at home and watch Red Dawn again.

I will say this, though: Jodie Foster was terrible. I'm surprised Bob didn't say anything. The probation-bot at the start of the film acted better than her.

My worry with Elysium, which I know nothing about, is that the movie will have the super healthcare machine be destroyed or otherwise ruined, and Elysium brought to the ground, restoring the early 21st century status quo of everybody living on Earth for around 60-80 years. Because shitting on technological development in order to suggest that the audience's status quo is wonderful seems like the kind of thing the movie would do.

If it's not that - if the movie doesn't cast technological/medical advances into the wind in favor of social justice, either directly in its plot or indirectly via thematic suggestions - then I might be interested. Sci-fi that explores economic injustice is great; but I can't stand stories that solve problems by destroying scientific advancement.

Araksardet:
My worry with Elysium, which I know nothing about, is that the movie will have the super healthcare machine be destroyed or otherwise ruined, and Elysium brought to the ground, restoring the early 21st century status quo of everybody living on Earth for around 60-80 years. Because shitting on technological development in order to suggest that the audience's status quo is wonderful seems like the kind of thing the movie would do.

If it's not that - if the movie doesn't cast technological/medical advances into the wind in favor of social justice, either directly in its plot or indirectly via thematic suggestions - then I might be interested. Sci-fi that explores economic injustice is great; but I can't stand stories that solve problems by destroying scientific advancement.

Don't worry, it isn't the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still all over again.

Bob, I want to know your thoughts on Blomkamp possibly making a Half-Life movie. He's expressed interest, and from what I've read, he's a Half-Life fan. If a half-life movie gets made, I want it to be him, and not J.J. Abrams. Just a suggestion :P

OT: Man that looks awesome, I can't wait to go see it.

I hate district 9 with the fury of 1000 burning suns and hope everything Neil Blomkamp makes crashes and burns just because of that. it's so heavy handed and defies logic just to make a point. If people are so evil that they'd sell their mother to get the alien weapons...I'm guessing they would just used Catfood to bribe the pawns into doing whatever they wanted rather than toss them into a slum and risk potentially WMD getting out into the hands of gangsters. Our greed and cowardly nature would saved the prawns (You seriously think the US, China, Russia or any other world super power would just sit back for 30 years and let South Africa get us all nuked for being racist when their homeplanet gets word of what awful hosts we've been? Not likely.) then if you're going argue all our flaws turned up to 11.

For sci fi to work the setting can be fantastic, but the people and the world still need to have some semblance of real world reactions and logic for the metaphor to work. If they don't it just fails. No one in District 9 acted like a real person does. I already got my serving of white guilt from D9, I don't need see this sack of crap. Bob basically just confirmed it's heavy handed as hell, and I rather not support another film like that.

Generally I hate this class warfare bullshit that has pervaded movies of late.

Because limousine liberals just love to tout how much they love what they feel is the struggle of the "common man" from their Ivory Tower Hollywood mansions all the while completely alienating the blue collar folks they feel are beneath them.

However, Blokamp strikes me as a great filmmaker who is not going to get bogged down in typical left-leaning nonsense, and Sharlto Copley is just awesome (H. M Murdock, baby!). So I am certainly willing to give this flick a chance.

Casual Shinji:

Azurian:

Casual Shinji:
We're never gonna get that Battle Angel Alita movie, are we? :'(

Were there talks of one? Because I am wondering how they would pull that one off!

James Cameron was going to make it.

But then he made Avatar which made a shitzillion dollars, so he decided to make sequels to that instead. Apparently it's still on his radar, but if it does ever get made we probably won't see it before 2020.

Hmm Battle Angel Alita would have a bit of trouble getting adapted into a movie. Finding a good actor to play Alita would be tough since genuinely enjoyable action-girls (who don't come cross as trying-too-hard or plain bitchy/unlikieable) are an extreme rarity in Hollywood productions. Quite a few male actors who could've pulled off Daisuke I suppose :P

The biggest issue is that it's a manga with something like 50+ volumes, i.e. too freaking long, too many characters and events to squeeze into a single movie. The journey of Daisuke finding Alita's discarded top-half to Alita finally turning herself + Tiphares into the Tree Of Life is a LONG one. They would have to greatly cut-down the story and character roster, possibly change plot elements to make it into a movie. Alita didn't discover more about her origins regarding Panzer Kunst till we were into Last Order.
It would be awesome to see the cut-short ending (because how Last Order started was just dumb) where Nova figures out how to turn Alita into a flesh'n'blood human, I cried so hard when Figure discovered her like that :D

For giggles:
image

Yuuki:
snip

They could take a page out of the anime's book and make it a smaller more intimate story set against a larger background.
The intial movie just focussing on Diasuke finding Alita in the trash, fixing her up, and through her we then observe the cyber slums as she realizes she's meant for greater things. Establishing kind of a father/daughter relationship for the emotional core.

As for an actress... Alita/Gally is such an extravagant looking character, not to mention her supersonic abilities, that I could very well see a "Gollum" approach working. Cast a younger actress to perform in CGI. I wouldn't want the entire movie to be riddled with that stuff ofcourse, but for the main character I think it would work.

Copper Zen:
Funny. Bob's cheering this movie on while other reviews I've read are canning it. Time gave it 2+1/2 stars out of 5 and it only gets a 47% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Uh...is this another case where Bob's inner fanboy leaves him giddy and oblivious to problems? You may recall how he said the Captain America might be "the best movie ever". Bob has as much of a track record for going overboard liking certain directors or movies as he does for reflexively hating others (I never listen to Bob when he talks about JJ Abrahm's work, anymore).

Has anyone else seen this movie? If so I'd appreciate your opinion on it.

EDIT: The 47% at Rotten Tomatoes has changed to 67% as more reviewers weighed in their opinions.

I completely agree with you that Bob tends to raise some things up for seemingly no reason (Captain America is my least favourite of the Avenger prequels and I think only Iron Man 3 was worse than it) and then shits on others because of some other inner fanboyism (hatred of Into Darkness -a movie which while I didn't think was amazing, I still thoroughly enjoyed).

However, having just seen this movie. I can absolutely say that it's pretty damn awesome. Like Bob said, Kruger steals every scene he is in. He's probably the most amazingly psychotic badass I have ever had the pleasure to watch on screen. The story is good, the acting is great, the movie is stunning to look at, the music enhances everything that is going on quite nicely, and the action scenes can be quite spectacular. This might be my favourite movie of the summer (and I loved Pacific Rim and This is the End).

Glad to see a nice balanced review, I was worried that there would be another mass bandwagoning as the other movie critics were very average in the scores.

Go for the Bob, stay for the Arcade

You all keep saying Battle Angel Alita...
Fair enough, but I see something else in Blomkamps work.

Big aliens with mandible jaws over South Africa? And all those alien weapons..?
Now we have Matt Damon donning the exoskeleton without the master chief armour. Did I see the bad guy with an energy shield? Did Bob mention a sword?

Oh, and the design of Elysium itself? A large space ring... Or Halo if you will.

So with all respect to the Battle Angel Alita fans but WHERE THE FUCK IS MY HALO MOVIE!!!!!

major_chaos:
So another "dirty poor rebel heroes against EVUL rich white strawmen people" movie? Yea I'll pass,. Not only do I hate that kind of plot with a burning passion for a host of reasons, I really don't feel like paying to sit down and be told I'm shit.

And here's where I reiterate my point. Why do you feel as if a fictional sci-fi movie is specifically telling you what you are worth in this world?

Well, that was a announcement I didn't expect. Seriously, I would have expected Bob to wear a Thanos outfit and just smile darkly at the camera.

Anyway, I hope this film doesn't get to preachy in the up & down levels of social classes and still makes a good Sci-Fi based thriller.

Makabriel:
And here's where I reiterate my point. Why do you feel as if a fictional sci-fi movie is specifically telling you what you are worth in this world?

Because every other film is blaming white people for being evil. Like as if we can help it that we are born from a Caucasian mother and father, and that because we are white we are per definition evil.

The people who are really evil are the ones who had loads of cash, and still try to tell us that poor people have suffered from rich people but are damned to do anything about it.

spunkgarglewiwi:

Makabriel:
And here's where I reiterate my point. Why do you feel as if a fictional sci-fi movie is specifically telling you what you are worth in this world?

Because every other film is blaming white people for being evil. Like as if we can help it that we are born from a Caucasian mother and father, and that because we are white we are per definition evil.

The people who are really evil are the ones who had loads of cash, and still try to tell us that poor people have suffered from rich people but are damned to do anything about it.

And to that, I must say: get thicker skin. I'm white, I've been watching movies condemning the actions of the white man since I was born, and this is nothing new. There's quite a bit for white people to answer for over the history of mankind, and inevitably films will be made about it all. If you can't stop taking offense to villains being white for long enough to enjoy a film, you won't enjoy many films.

I never got District 9, i thought it degenerated into a pretty bland and tedious action movie in the last hour and Elysium doesn't seem to be anything different. I'll probably watch it some day, but not anytime soon.

The trailers defineately aren't selling it.

Nobody cares about your book about playing a videogame. We get it, your a Nintendo fan, but telling me to stick around at the end for to shill your side scroller nostalgia wank book is annoying. Please, stop asking me if I like books and/or videogames. I don't want to read a book about Mario.

TheProfessor234:

CelestDaer:
The thing that has been bothering me about the trailer since day 1: If they had this exoskeleton that would allow them to infiltrate the upper crust, why haven't they used it before NOW?

Not to spoil anything, but it's not the suit that's special. It's just an exoskeleton suit to help Max move because of his failing body.

Also, loved the movie, sure it has its faults but I still had a great time. If anything, I hope to see Copley in more roles and the next big film from Blomkamp.

And yet all the trailers I've seen for the movie have insinuated that it's the exoskeleton that matters. Bleh, still don't care.

That "van der Merwe" pronunciation... I laughed. Still, psyched to see this movie.

Not interested. I hate sci-fi being the go-to genre for movies with some kind of cheap political commentary.

The best sci-fi never comments on current society, but instead creates a new one.

I'll go see it and judge it for myself whether I would find it engaging as a movie or not, but I still feel what everyone is saying about this review in the comments here. This summer definitely hasn't been the greatest line up of blockbusters so I can understand the frustration Bob must be going through, but recently, it just feels like every episode where he gives a glowing review for a movie, it basically comes down to "Regardless of how good or bad this movie is, go see it to support what I think movies in the industry should be more like."

Go see White House Down because it pushes an extreme political agenda that everyone else is afraid of doing! Go see Pacific Rim because big blockbuster action films need to go in this direction! Go see Elysium because Neil Blomkamp is awesome!

I recall Bob having an idea for Blomkamp to be one of the possible directors for the new Star Wars. To be honest, I think I would have been more upset if Star Wars turned into yet another sci-fi liberal wankfest with a heavy-handed political message as subtle as getting smacked across the face with I-beam.

Again, I'm not saying I think it's horrible that Blomkamp does this in his own intellectual properties like District 9 and Elysium. Just keep that shit where it is, Blomkamp, in your own movie franchises.

Did anyone else think that Bob sounded like Elmer Fudd at parts of this video?

Makabriel:

major_chaos:
So another "dirty poor rebel heroes against EVUL rich white strawmen people" movie? Yea I'll pass,. Not only do I hate that kind of plot with a burning passion for a host of reasons, I really don't feel like paying to sit down and be told I'm shit.

And here's where I reiterate my point. Why do you feel as if a fictional sci-fi movie is specifically telling you what you are worth in this world?

Seriously? You're wondering why a movie you wouldn't want to go see a movie that constantly demonizes you in a pandering manner. That's like wondering if some black people might be a little uncomfortable with Birth of A Nation. When you, personally, are shown in fiction as part of whatever group (race, gender, class, etc.) it's natural to feel alienated when the portrayal is entirely negative. I mean, this is the Escapist, we've had discussions for months over people who feel alienated about the portrayals of women in media for god's sake. When a director or artists is DIRECTLY borrowing concepts from reality, which is the core of Elysium (class warfare, immigration, healthcare) in a ham-fisted manner it alienates the people it portrays as, say, cartoonishly evil capitalists. That might mean certain people just don't want to see the same subjective media that you do. Major Chaos is being completely reasonable, he feels alienated by it and doesn't want to see it.

Absolutely amazing movie, easily one of the best science fiction movies I have ever seen...just wow. Neil Blomkamp is a true visionary and he captures exactly what I love about Sci-Fi movies, the visual style, the tech, the vehicles, the action...all of it. While the message comes off a little strong at points, I can see why people are upset about it because it hits a little close to home I just can't get over how awesome his movies are and Sharlto Copley....man that guy is awesome to watch in crazy mode.

O wow, what novelty, a villain that has a german name.
I'm already bored by this movie and it didn't even run in my country or even on my continent.

Anyone else get a laugh out of the "OH MOTHER ***BEEP!" bit?

I want to see this. Seems like I would enjoy this.

NeedsaBetterName22:

Makabriel:

major_chaos:
So another "dirty poor rebel heroes against EVUL rich white strawmen people" movie? Yea I'll pass,. Not only do I hate that kind of plot with a burning passion for a host of reasons, I really don't feel like paying to sit down and be told I'm shit.

And here's where I reiterate my point. Why do you feel as if a fictional sci-fi movie is specifically telling you what you are worth in this world?

Seriously? You're wondering why a movie you wouldn't want to go see a movie that constantly demonizes you in a pandering manner. That's like wondering if some black people might be a little uncomfortable with Birth of A Nation. When you, personally, are shown in fiction as part of whatever group (race, gender, class, etc.) it's natural to feel alienated when the portrayal is entirely negative. I mean, this is the Escapist, we've had discussions for months over people who feel alienated about the portrayals of women in media for god's sake. When a director or artists is DIRECTLY borrowing concepts from reality, which is the core of Elysium (class warfare, immigration, healthcare) in a ham-fisted manner it alienates the people it portrays as, say, cartoonishly evil capitalists. That might mean certain people just don't want to see the same subjective media that you do. Major Chaos is being completely reasonable, he feels alienated by it and doesn't want to see it.

Comparing this to Birth of a Nation is ludicrously unfair. The black characters in Birth were criminals because they were black; the villains in Elysium just so happen to be white. Elysium's political message condemns the actions of people who happen to be white, but the condemnation has nothing to do with the color of their skin. Unless you're an ultra-elitist 1% snob who spends their free time hunting endangered species and rolling illegal cigars out of hundred dollar bills, you have nothing to be offended by.

Let us not forget that the main protagonist is white and the president of Elysium (admittedly a minor character, but with a major position within the power structure) is Pakistani.

Yojoo:

NeedsaBetterName22:

Makabriel:

And here's where I reiterate my point. Why do you feel as if a fictional sci-fi movie is specifically telling you what you are worth in this world?

Seriously? You're wondering why a movie you wouldn't want to go see a movie that constantly demonizes you in a pandering manner. That's like wondering if some black people might be a little uncomfortable with Birth of A Nation. When you, personally, are shown in fiction as part of whatever group (race, gender, class, etc.) it's natural to feel alienated when the portrayal is entirely negative. I mean, this is the Escapist, we've had discussions for months over people who feel alienated about the portrayals of women in media for god's sake. When a director or artists is DIRECTLY borrowing concepts from reality, which is the core of Elysium (class warfare, immigration, healthcare) in a ham-fisted manner it alienates the people it portrays as, say, cartoonishly evil capitalists. That might mean certain people just don't want to see the same subjective media that you do. Major Chaos is being completely reasonable, he feels alienated by it and doesn't want to see it.

Comparing this to Birth of a Nation is ludicrously unfair. The black characters in Birth were criminals because they were black; the villains in Elysium just so happen to be white. Elysium's political message condemns the actions of people who happen to be white, but the condemnation has nothing to do with the color of their skin. Unless you're an ultra-elitist 1% snob who spends their free time hunting endangered species and rolling illegal cigars out of hundred dollar bills, you have nothing to be offended by.

Let us not forget that the main protagonist is white and the president of Elysium (admittedly a minor character, but with a major position within the power structure) is Pakistani.

Technically, you could easily point out there there would be far more issues of unspoken messages in a white protagonist being the only one who could save the lower Hispanic commoners from the evil overlords.

I bring that up only that it's easy to nitpick the analogy someone creates to make a point while entirely missing the point. Said point is that people have a right to feel offended when they're quite wrongly portrayed in a film.

TheDrunkNinja:

Yojoo:

NeedsaBetterName22:

Seriously? You're wondering why a movie you wouldn't want to go see a movie that constantly demonizes you in a pandering manner. That's like wondering if some black people might be a little uncomfortable with Birth of A Nation. When you, personally, are shown in fiction as part of whatever group (race, gender, class, etc.) it's natural to feel alienated when the portrayal is entirely negative. I mean, this is the Escapist, we've had discussions for months over people who feel alienated about the portrayals of women in media for god's sake. When a director or artists is DIRECTLY borrowing concepts from reality, which is the core of Elysium (class warfare, immigration, healthcare) in a ham-fisted manner it alienates the people it portrays as, say, cartoonishly evil capitalists. That might mean certain people just don't want to see the same subjective media that you do. Major Chaos is being completely reasonable, he feels alienated by it and doesn't want to see it.

Comparing this to Birth of a Nation is ludicrously unfair. The black characters in Birth were criminals because they were black; the villains in Elysium just so happen to be white. Elysium's political message condemns the actions of people who happen to be white, but the condemnation has nothing to do with the color of their skin. Unless you're an ultra-elitist 1% snob who spends their free time hunting endangered species and rolling illegal cigars out of hundred dollar bills, you have nothing to be offended by.

Let us not forget that the main protagonist is white and the president of Elysium (admittedly a minor character, but with a major position within the power structure) is Pakistani.

Technically, you could easily point out there there would be far more issues of unspoken messages in a white protagonist being the only one who could save the lower Hispanic commoners from the evil overlords.

I bring that up only that it's easy to nitpick the analogy someone creates to make a point while entirely missing the point. Said point is that people have a right to feel offended when they're quite wrongly portrayed in a film.

But who is being wrongly portrayed here? Elysium doesn't equal "white people". Yes, the residents of Elysium are mostly white, but that isn't a jab at every white viewer. That's a jab at elites who deny aid to those who need it out of spite and greed. If the previous sentence doesn't describe you, there's not much to be offended by here.

Is the alternative for white people to only watch movies in which we're portrayed in entirely positive lights? So Django Unchained or Glory are too offensive to be good movies now?

I feel like this review revealed WAY too much about the movie...

Yojoo:

Comparing this to Birth of a Nation is ludicrously unfair. The black characters in Birth were criminals because they were black; the villains in Elysium just so happen to be white. Elysium's political message condemns the actions of people who happen to be white, but the condemnation has nothing to do with the color of their skin. Unless you're an ultra-elitist 1% snob who spends their free time hunting endangered species and rolling illegal cigars out of hundred dollar bills, you have nothing to be offended by.

Let us not forget that the main protagonist is white and the president of Elysium (admittedly a minor character, but with a major position within the power structure) is Pakistani.

Missing the point, it's not about race, it's about grouping. Birth of a Nation was just an example of a piece of media that might alienate a black audience because it alienates them as a group. But there's less controversial examples all over the place. What Women Want, a comedy with Mel Gibson, presents women as emotional and unbalanced, mostly focused purely on their sexuality and presentation. Some women might feel alienated by such a piece because of their portrayal. This is how group mentality works, I can do it with anything that pursues a real-world 'us vs. them' dynamic.

If your narrative goal is to demonize a specific group based on race, class, gender, etc. it should not be a surprise that people from that group MIGHT not want to be told their scum for two hours by a preachy movie. It can be 'rich people are evil', or 'women are too focused on emotions' or 'Americans are all fat bigoted idiots', whatever.

Elysium takes a real world issue and tries to fit it into the Hollywood frame. It demonizes all rich people as either greedy or cartoonishly evil, and then inserts metaphors about current political events. Perhaps if the movie wasn't so focused on being a blunt and unfair metaphor for the modern economic system (yep, because a magical medicine machine that costs almost nothing is the same thing as universal healthcare) it could appeal to a broader audience.

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