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Elysium - 8/8/2013 11:37:18 AM   
Empire Admin


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Hmmm... - 8/8/2013 11:37:18 AM   
Bobby TwoTimes


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Bit disappointed this isn't an all-singing-all-dancing 5 star reviews to be honest.

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Post #: 2
RE: Hmmm... - 8/8/2013 4:01:19 PM   

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From: Balboa Towers, Balboa Island, CA


ORIGINAL: Bobby TwoTimes

Bit disappointed this isn't an all-singing-all-dancing 5 star reviews to be honest.

The general critical consensus seems to be that itís just OK.

The ĎTop Criticí tab is far less favourable howeverÖ



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Post #: 3
- 8/8/2013 8:52:38 PM   

Posts: 46
Joined: 2/3/2012
I'm fine with 4 stars, as long as its a proper 4 stars and on not the usual
Empire review scale:
5 is really 4 stars
4 really 3 stars
and so on

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Post #: 4
very lenient 4 stars... - 11/8/2013 4:36:00 PM   
soggy bottom sam


Posts: 5
Joined: 11/8/2013
the tone of Newman's review seemed like it belonged in a positive 3-star review rather than the 4-star. A bit nitpicky, I know, but this movie really did get very sloppy in the third act. Beautifully realized environments went a bit to waste on shoddy supporting cast and extremely clunky action sequences.

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Post #: 5
nice - 16/8/2013 4:26:54 PM   

Posts: 296
Joined: 11/7/2007
From: Torun
really good sci-fi.

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Post #: 6
RE: Elysium - 19/8/2013 6:06:00 PM   
My name is Legion


Posts: 84
Joined: 1/2/2008
What's "Westfield"?

Apologies to Kim Newman, but I can't read his reviews before I've seen a film, because as much I may like them, he doesn't seem to give a toss about spoiling films.

So what's the reference?

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Post #: 7
Too jittery camera - 19/8/2013 6:50:20 PM   


Posts: 117
Joined: 19/5/2008
It's good enough but the action sequences are probably the worst ever because the camera's shaking so much you can't see shit of the cool violence.

And Matt Damon as slumdog Mexican? Oh please!

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Post #: 8
Ref 'Westfield' - 19/8/2013 7:50:01 PM   


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I was busy Googling 'Westfield' for a film reference when the penny dropped - it's a shopping centre in West London. I guess Kim Newman's referring to glass, chrome, LEDs etc... I haven't seen it yet, but will look out for Jodie Foster going in and out of the great Primark in the sky.

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Post #: 9
RE: Ref 'Westfield' - 19/8/2013 10:59:17 PM   
My name is Legion


Posts: 84
Joined: 1/2/2008


ORIGINAL: peter210360

I was busy Googling 'Westfield' for a film reference when the penny dropped - it's a shopping centre in West London. I guess Kim Newman's referring to glass, chrome, LEDs etc... I haven't seen it yet, but will look out for Jodie Foster going in and out of the great Primark in the sky.

Haha, that was my only frame of reference too. Maybe when we watch the film we MIGHT get what he was on about.

Thanks for the laugh though mate, especially the last part.

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Post #: 10
- 21/8/2013 5:01:53 PM   


Posts: 34
Joined: 1/5/2006
Really disappointed. Generic action thriller with one dimensional characters. On par with Terminator 4 . It really felt like someone was trying to imitate Neill Blomkamp. District 9 was a masterpiece . Hopefully his third movie he will be back on form.

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Post #: 11
RE: Elysium - 21/8/2013 8:45:18 PM   


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Following 2009ís surprise hit that was District 9 Ė a bug-infested sci-fi actioner that satirised historical events from South Africa Ė Neill Blomkamp continues his line of satirical science-fiction on a more global scale as his latest film Elysium evokes those great dystopian stories from Aldous Huxley and George Orwell.

In 2154, two classes of people exist: the very wealthy, who live on an advanced space station called Elysium where there is no disease, poverty, or war; and the poor, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth, controlled by a robot police force. When ex-con Max (Matt Damon) sustains a fatal radiation dose in an industrial accident and has five days to live, he tries to journey to Elysium and use advanced medical machines to cure himself, much to the displeasure of Elysian Secretary of Defence Jessica Delacourt (Jodie Foster).

With District 9 Ė executive produced by Peter Jackson Ė being somewhat lightning in a bottle and a more accomplished film than Avatar despite sharing some of the same ideas, can the bigger-budgeted Elysium capture that same magic? In its opening frames, itís almost like youíre watching the sequel to D9 with Los Angeles looking like an extension of that filmís Johannesburg, only chunky robots replacing the man-sized insects. Right from the start, it is obvious that Blomkamp is great at world-building from the slum-infested L.A. to the utopian space ring of Elysium (similar to the space station from Kubrickís 2001).

As well as brilliantly designing these futures that donít attempt to look futuristic, even towards the design of the robots, he can shoot action sequences that are intense and practical, given the use of impressive VFX. With the film is very action-centric particularly in its third act, it can get in the way of the ideas which though are a tad familiar, they give the film more substance than your usual big blockbuster.

Although a lot of the characters are essentially archetypes youíd expect from dystopia sci-fi, the A-list casting make them more than what they are. Being at his scruffiest hence his appearance as a ďboldieĒ, Matt Damon who is always an engaging presence, his role is primarily a physically-demanding one as Max spends most of his time in a rudimentary exoskeleton. On the villainsí side, Jodie Foster is on the most caricatured as the Elysian Secretary of Defence whose accent I canít quite make out, but it is D9 star Sharlto Copley steals the show as the vicious South African mercenary Kruger who is clearly enjoying playing nasty.

Given a bigger budget and an A-list cast, Neill Blomkampís latest never quite captures the strength of his brilliant debut District 9, but Elysium is an impressive actioner that can also be classified as smart sci-fi.

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Post #: 12
Kruger is a slasher, alright... - 22/8/2013 12:03:37 AM   

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From: Oxford, UK
Short version: I'd have preferred more ambiguity between the good-guys and baddies, and also less shaky-cam, but Elysium stands head-and-shoulders above most of its class this year. Those punches smart, and it's thanks to Neill Blomkamp.


More reviews and rambling like that ^^^ at: >>> <<<

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Post #: 13
Being generous - 22/8/2013 1:16:23 AM   

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From: Winchester, Hants
Just got back from seeing this at Odeon IMAX Southampton - I admit, last year this film was top of my list of anticipation, but as the trailers rolled out my interest took a little bit of slack. But only a little bit.

I respect Neill Blomkamp - District 9 is a strong film, and Elysium does make that film seem like 5-star stuff. But you have to remember that film was his first album; this is his difficult second album. For me, there were enough merits to call this a better blockbuster than Man Of Steel, Oblivion, or any of the other shoddy action we've had this year. For a start the running time was about right. Secondly, like Del Toro's Pacific Rim, there was a freshness to the international casting - though I would've liked to have seen more of Diego Luna in the film, and some more character development around Alice Braga. Sure I could nitpick all day, but I reckon this film will mature with age - there are plenty of laugh-out-loud spots of dialogue, delightfully squirmy violent outbursts, and some jaw-dropping technology. Sure the action was a bit Paul Greengrass at points, but this will only make it last on the small screen - I can't count how many times I've watched the Bourne trilogy on my TV at home. I feel like this film was Blomkamp's love letter to those directors he aspires to be like - Scott, Cameron, Verhoeven - and he's definitely on his way, but carving his own niche at the same time. After seeing Kosinski's Oblivion earlier in the year, I was hoping for something that would look just as beautiful, but have a tighter, more straightforward plot - and Elysium delivered that. I didn't expect it to be simpler than Pacific Rim, though, so in a way I was disappointed, but it really is difficult to please the masses with too much of a cerebral approach - sadly I doubt Upstream Colour, the great experimental sci-fi of the year, will get much eye-time from audiences. So for now, I would rate this on the tail-end of the top 3 sci-fi blockbusters of the year -

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Post #: 14
I really enjoyed it... - 22/8/2013 10:25:42 AM   


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Yes there were times where situations seemed a little illogical or characters were slightly two dimensional but this is Blomkamp making his world fit the Hollywood blockbuster.

There are still District 9 levels of grit in there and some spectacular imagery.

I'd take "Blomkamp-lite" over most Summer releases any day of the week.

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Post #: 15
RE: Being generous - 22/8/2013 10:31:02 AM   


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I think you're spot-on.

It very much skirted the line between Verhoeven's Total Recall and Robocop but with enough Blomkamp to make the whole thing fresh and relevant.

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Post #: 16
RE: Being generous - 22/8/2013 10:53:05 AM   

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By the end of the 21st century, Earth has been reduced to a diseased, overpopulated cesspit. While the poor struggle away on the ruined planet, the rich have moved up to an artificial haven named Elysium, where all disease and sickness has and can be eradicated at the flick of a button. After being exposed to a lethal dose of radiation, factory worker Max (Damon) must find a way up to Elysium if he has any hope of surviving.

Neill Blomkampís previous (and first feature) film, District 9, was a brilliant triumph in the science fiction genre. Playing out as an allegorical examination of social inequality, tyrannical governments and freedom of speech, as well as an exciting, inspiring story of family and love, it was an entertaining and, I think, rather important addition to the genre Ė not to mention a bloody fantastic debut for the director. For his follow-up, Elysium, there was inevitably a certain amount of expectation for him to deliver on the same level, particularly so as it shares many of the themes and ideas of District 9. Itís another grand sci-fi with big ideas and even more examinations of real world issues like the class system and poverty, and it even looks and feels very similar, with the two films sharing a colour pallet and some earthy cinematography; Los Angeles in Elysium is essentially the Prawn favela in District 9. In fewer words, Elysium has all the makings to be a groundbreaking piece of cinema, itís just a question of whether those pieces fit together.

The opening sequence gives us a little back story on the reasons behind the creation of Elysium (which is nicely told through unassuming superimposed titles rather than a boring voice-over from the main character, which so many other films would be tempted to do), and sets up something seemingly quite special. The gorgeous images of kids running through a dusty Los Angeles at sunset, looking up longingly to Elysium, to sweeping shots of Earth from space and then Elysium itself, paired with the ethereal soundtrack, sort of just melts you into the film. Just two minutes in and I was thinking of sticking it in my top ten of the year. If it had kept this beauty up until the end credits, Iíd no doubt be lapping it with praise right now, but Iím not. Why not? Because too soon it descends into generic sci-fi territory. After that opening sequence nothing feels special or unique. Thereís nothing to set it apart from all the others, it sort of just dilutes into yet another entertaining but unmemorable blockbuster. I was hoping for something a bit profound and inspiring, for something that lifted us up and asked a load of questions; because, letís face it, sci-fi is at its best when itís asking questions. You should be leaving the cinema trying to figure things out. For whatever problems Oblivion had (and it did), at least it left us pondering a host of questions. It wasnít all clear-cut, we had to think a little and interpret it for ourselves. I walked out of Elysium without a second thought in my head.

Thatís not to say it isnít generally entertaining. Blomkamp knows what heís doing, and he knows how to pace a film to hold the audienceís attention. In general itís well written, with a plot that draws you in sufficiently and characters we can invest in (although I have a feeling that we care about the under-written lead more because itís Matt Damon rather than the because the character himself is particularly interesting). We do care about what happens, and it doesnít overstay its welcome, but if youíre looking for adrenalin-boosting action sequences youíre in the wrong place. Two words: shaky cam. Goddamn shaky cam. Itís everywhere; when two characters fight they keep ending up in different positions but we have no idea how they got there because the cameraís just all over the place, and sometimes itís even just a tracking shot of someone walking and the cameraís flying up and down. What do these people think the steadicam was invented for? Throwing the camera around does not evoke the sense of urgency, it evokes the sense of a headache.

Sharlto Copley, re-teaming with Blomkamp after taking the lead in District 9, is freaking brilliant. Thereís no other way to describe it. Playing Kruger, a gruff, cruel, psychotic sleeper agent at the will of Jodie Fosterís upper-class bitch Delacourt (who is surprisingly a bit rubbish, but weíll get to that), he seems so out of place but so perfect for the role at the same time. As he spouts off some brilliant angry lines in his delicate South African accent, weíre reminded of the bad guys in Lethal Weapon 2 who tried so hard to sound menacing but couldnít quite pull it off, like bunnies with claws, and we canít help but love it. Copley is actually a fantastic actor, and even though I found much of his work in Elysium funny when I donít think it was supposed to be, I found it funny with the best possible intentions. I wouldnít want to see Kruger any other way. On the subject of Jodie Foster, Iím a fan of hers but I didnít buy into this performance for a second. For a start it looks like much of her dialogue has been re-recorded in post and badly dubbed over, and thereís just a lack of authenticity. I donít know if itís her putting on a strange accent or just simply failing to fully embrace the role, but something didnít click.

It might look like I completely hated the film because Iíve focused primarily on the weaker aspects, but just because they generally take president doesnít mean there arenít good things to be found. I enjoyed much of it Ė I really did Ė but it was passive enjoyment. Nothing lingered, and, as Iíve said, it doesnít only not ask enough questions, but it doesnít ask any questions at all. Elysium is, overall, a decent but flawed film.

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Post #: 17
Elysium - 22/8/2013 9:16:25 PM   

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Was a little slower than I expected and pretty simple plot, but it delivers for me, I love the cgi in stark sun and dust that looks so realistic, design and concept is great, bring out the Chemrail.

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Post #: 18
RE: Elysium - 23/8/2013 12:06:16 PM   


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To be honest I found the film quite whelming. It seemed to saunter along in front of me, without ever really reaching out and grabbing me for any extended length of time (unlike District 9, which I found engaging and thrilling). Perhaps this is most likely due to a lack of investment in the characters, I like Matt Daman but he doesn't give me much reason to here. On the other hand the world building and background are fantastic, and in this respect Blomkamp proves he's masterful in creating a believable sci-fi setting. The narrative, while not entirely original or ground breaking, had potential to be quite powerful, but I didn't feel like Blomkamp gave it enough flesh or kept it refined enough to engage me with it, perhaps he's more focused here on all the futuristic technology that everyone uses every few seconds. I have to admit that the technology is incredibly well depicted though, and what I love about Blomkamp is that he doesn't make a big deal out of it, a lot of the time it's just in the background and lacks explanation, which makes it seem much more believable, especially as it is filmed in his gritty, documentaryish style (e.g. Kruger's energy shield, whatever they use to cut open the side of William Fichtner's shuttle, and the Chemrail gun), these things are just there as part of the world and you accept them (they are also just fundamentally cool).
However, the rest of the film didn't impress much upon me, and on reflection I'm quite dissapointed. District 9 was a great sci-fi film I'll want to watch again in years to come, but this was, unfortunately, a bit forgettable. I think in future Blomkamp needs to find a better balance between big budget techy spectacle and a character driven narrative, but despite the problems with Elysium, I think he has the potential to make something genuinely incredible in the future.
And please keep using Sharlto Copley.

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Post #: 19
RE: Elysium - 23/8/2013 11:26:38 PM   
Filmfan 2

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Film of the summer, for me. I love Blomkamp's work so far and this really cements him in my mind as one of the most exciting directors to emerge in cinema in recent years. His aesthetic really stands out; it's one that is at once fantastical and completely believable as well.

I've read some critics ramblings about this film being humourless, but there's a dark undercurrent of humour running through quite a bit of this, and Damon's first encounter with the robot cops and his parole officer are very funny indeed.

The characters are a bit one-dimensional but they are fleshed out well enough to fit the story, and there is a lovely lack of clunky lines in this film. I think any criticisms of the last act descending into an action-fest are probably justified, but when its this entertaining I can excuse it. Unlike some on here, however, I had no problem with the camerawork and following the action.

I was looking forward to this film, but I had no idea I was going to enjoy it as much as I did. It's one of the very few 'event' movies this year that I genuinely want to get back to cinema to watch again, and I will certainly be doing so.


I am not drinkin' any fuckin' Merlot!

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Post #: 20
RE: Elysium - 23/8/2013 11:46:56 PM   

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Joined: 30/9/2005
I think he is an outstanding director. As a writer he is average. This is only his second feature length though so I am still amazed at how good it is. Such a simple story it is almost non-existent. Disappointing in that regard. Team him up with a great script and we will have a truly masterful sci-fi.

I loved it for the visuals but there was naff all story. Some nice ideas but it felt a bit like a film to make just for the hell of it until the next one. He said in an interview in Empire mag that he wrote this on his own and he hates writing. I think that came through unfortunately. Seemed like he was not particularly interested and just wanted to make pretty things. Which he did! Why he decided on shaky cam in some of the fighting, however, I will never understand. No need. Apparently the next film 'Chappie' is going to be with his usual collaboration partner so I am expecting a bit more.

Good fun but could do with more intellectual meat next time.

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Post #: 21
RE: Elysium - 23/8/2013 11:47:09 PM   

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If someone could write a great script for it; give him the reigns on a Dead Space adaptation. That would work so well.

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Post #: 22
Dissapointing - 24/8/2013 12:37:28 AM   


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This film is a complete letdown. The story, the characters the message were so generic.
Whereas with District 9 is the complete opposite the message is clearer and you care about the characters; Elysium had none of that. The story development was very poor.

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Post #: 23
okay, but.... - 24/8/2013 11:20:05 PM   


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Joined: 6/10/2005
I was hoping for more. While I liked the FX it was hard to feel much for the characters and I found the pace a little slow. Hated the shakeycam as usual but overall while interesting it was no classic.

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Post #: 24
SOLID Sci-fi Fun!!!! - 27/8/2013 6:01:35 PM   


Posts: 62
Joined: 24/12/2011
Entertaining Sci-fi form Director Neill blomkamp!!

From it's visually slick opening images of a desiccated earth in the year 2154 we are introduced to common criminal on parole Max ( Matt Damon) and the Utopian paradise of the orbiting satellite world Elysium. The rich folk have it sweet up there, no diseases and med bays to take care of all ageing process and human ills while the rest live in filthy squalor on earth. Director Neill Blomkamp once again displays his uniquely realistic visions of a possible future, dirt grime and grittiness against the modern tech paradise of Elysium all bought to dazzling life again as he did in District 9.

Now instead of insectoid like aliens we have Robotic Droid Policemen and the same unsavoury black market trading, where all manner of characters such as Spider (Wagner Moura) deal in illegal shuttle trips to heal the sick from earth. Off course they get apprehended and shot down by Elysium Secretary in Charge Rhodes ( an icy Jodie Foster) and her half machine, crazed mercenary for hire agent Kruger, once again a foul mouthed if over the top Shartlo Copley...once again reprising his trademark maniac character traits.

After Max has his unfortunate accident at his factory plant he is infected with a cancerous sickness and without medical help from Elysium and it's med bay technology instant death within five days, begins his quest heal himself and topple the infrastructure of the utopian paradise high above earth. Ok, the film doesn't have the satirical and emotional depth of District 9 and relies allot more on genre convention this time, but there is still plenty to enjoy here. Apart from the dazzling visuals we have some nice action set pieces, once again exploiting the directors love of gory explosive weapon tech, while also introducing some other nice characters, Julio ( Diego Luna) Max's close buddy and help through an excruciating operating sequence where his robotic Exoskeleton is drilled to his body! But there are some nice poignant moments a young Max and Frey as contemplate their lives if they ever lived on Elysium and make a pact to go there some day.

Love interest this time comes around in the form of city resident Frey (Alice Braga) who along with Max is in desperate need of the medical facilities to cure her dying daughter from terminal Leukaemia. But overall Matt Damon steals the show again here, showing vulnerability and strength as he always does in his action character persona's with valuable data downloaded to start a Revolution on Elysium if all goes to plan,...!!

Slick and Entertaining Sci-fi!!!


< Message edited by Ramone87 -- 27/8/2013 6:05:33 PM >

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Post #: 25
Poor - 28/8/2013 10:52:04 PM   


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Joined: 11/5/2008
What action there was, I couldn't see from the awful shaky cam. And I saw it from a good seat at the BFI IMAX. Everything else was distinctly meh.

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Post #: 26
RE: Poor - 29/8/2013 8:30:56 PM   
Dr Lenera


Posts: 4084
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Kind of Paul Verhoeven meets Paul Greengrass, this decent science-fiction actioner both entertains and offers some social commentary like the good old days of the 70's, though is held back a bit by the shakycam and god-awful Zimmer/Batman rip-off score, once again the same bloody repeated note patterns we've heard a hundred times before.


check out more of my reviews on

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Post #: 27
RE: Poor - 2/9/2013 11:03:24 AM   
Vitamin F


Posts: 563
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: Norn Ireland, so it is
Despite the high production values this is just an ok action film - yes, expectation was high following District 9, but even ignoring that gem, Elysium has such a simplistic plot, simplistic dialogue and a general lack of any depth whatsoever that it all feels a little hollow and rushed.

It's watchable but entirely forgettable (I seem to think/write this a lot these days, especially regarding scifi) and Copley is wasted on the bad-guy role for the most part. Elysium is beatifully rendered but I was hoping for so much more from the film - there's nothing that comes anywhere close to the emotion levels created in District 9.

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Post #: 28
RE: Poor - 2/9/2013 10:49:34 PM   
film man aidy


Posts: 350
Joined: 8/3/2007
I don't get all the negativity for this. Just caught it and I thought it was great! Some great visuals, original story telling, a gritty hard edge(god, does Damon's character go through it!), a superb bad guy in Sharlto Copley, and no 3-D - for a change. The shakey cam work didn't bother me in the slightest. in fact I though it added to it, unlike in Man of Steel. A relatively tepid US box office seems a bit of a shame to me. It just means that less studios will invest in riskier projects such as this in the future.

I went in pretty open minded, and came out very pleasantly surprised. That makes a change from going off to see the likes of Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness, The World's End, and Only God Forgives, and not being particularly impressed.My film of the year(so far).


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Post #: 29
RE: Elysium - 3/9/2013 9:12:42 AM   


Posts: 4
Joined: 3/9/2013
I don't like this sci-fi movie

many special effects shots

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Post #: 30
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