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Watching "Elysium"
Published on August 20, 2013 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I review the new sci-fi film "Elysium."

Here's an excerpt:

"I really loved 'Elysium' for the first half hour or so.

'This is great!' I remember thinking. 'All those naysaying critics were wrong!'

But my enthusiasm had waned by the end of the film. Which isn’t to say that 'Elysium' isn’t a good movie, or that it isn’t worth seeing. It is! It just doesn’t live up to its early promise, or the high standards set by director Neill Blomkamp’s 2009 debut feature, 'District 9,' which I loved. Much like the summer’s other big tentpole movies, 'Elysium' has moments of brilliance, but not enough of them to qualify as a great film.

Like 'District 9,' 'Elyisum' is an allegory, set in a futuristic urban hellscape that’s not so very different from the world we live in today. But where 'District 9' offered a tightly focused take on apartheid, 'Elysium' is overflowing with issues: drones, extrajudicial killing, immigration, income inequality, lack of access to health care, and environmental degradation. The film’s surfeit of ideas is one of the things I liked about it, especially after watching 'Pacific Rim,' which suffers from a dearth of ideas. But 'Elysium' doesn’t necessarily flesh out any of its ideas, barreling towards its conclusion at a frenetic pace and devolving into a chaotic shoot-out and fist-fight toward the end. I think it’s the 25th film I’ve seen this summer in which the hero and archvillian duke it out on an elevated platform, punching each other in the face and hurling each other into railings and walls, despite having the most amazing technology at their disposal."

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