Elysium is a nice place to visit, but not the best film this summer

If I go to sleep before writing this review I might not remember to do it.  So I apologize if I’m not coherent now.  I don’t have an excuse for the other times I’m incoherent.  Saw Elysium tonight and while I enjoyed the film, it could have been better.  It’s not because I don’t support tales where poverty-class protagonists raise themselves out of the dirt to become heroes.  No, it’s because I feel like Elysium could have been epic and instead I feel like the story suffered from either uninspired writing or a desire to shape the movie to message.

Matt Damon is Max and he’s a guy raised by nuns who likes a girl who is a nurse and one of his coping strategies in a world of poverty is crime.  So he’s got a history as a car thief.  But he’s trying to do good now.  He’s got a job…but it all goes wrong and he ends up a hippopotamus.  Luckily a cute girl is a meerkat.Max is on the robot assembly line and he assembles the upper torso assembly before putting them in a radiation oven where the units are cooked or hardened or who knows.  But he ends up in there and receives a lethal dose of radiation.  He figures if he can get to Elysium he can save his life.

On the way, his childhood friend Frey has a conveniently sick daughter who could also be saved at Elysium.  She’s the meerkat.

And the predictable outcome is that Max dies, but he helps the meerkat so she lives.

The future world of Elysium is great.  I really liked the robots.  They’re the police.  They’re the security.  They’re the butlers.  They’re also the parole officers.  When our plucky protagonists make it to Elysium, they’re really not to be found.  Instead it becomes all about Max and the creepy South African soldier guy.

Max dies because the data he has in his head is locked with black ice.  (Black ice is a term I have from Netrunner; what I mean is it’s intrusion counter software with actual physical destructive capabilities).  So … let’s say that if you don’t transfer the data correctly, you’ll kill the host.  Let’s say Max is a Johnny Mnemonic.  The host Max took the dump from, he dies.  (He was shot, but theoretically he would have died because they certainly didn’t transfer it correctly).  So when the data is dumped from Max, he dies.  That’s the end of the movie spoiled right there.  But partial dumps are performed, in plaintext.  So that’s how people find out what is the VERY IMPORTANT DATA that’s in Max’s head.  Because of convenient impractical use of technology.

The person who originally had the data in his head and set it up with the fatal protection is the owner of the factory, who doesn’t want to die.  So why would he set himself up for a situation where if he got hijacked, he would die?  Because he’s a good guy and knows that the data is so powerful that he’d rather die then live in a world where it could be abused?  No.  This. Makes. No. Sense.

Elysium is now ranked at #11 out of the 25 movies I’ve seen in 2013.  I’m still giving it four stars out of five.  Pretty good and I would love to see more story set in this world.

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