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Manuel Royal
08-12-2013, 01:43 AM
Just saw this movie; liked it a lot.

Like a lot of sf movies, it doesn't really hold up in terms of logical hard-sf detail, but it works as a fable.

Most futuristic movies are really about contemporary society. Given economic, political and medical trends, it's not hard to believe in a future where a large permanent underclass are barely getting by, while a tiny elite of hyper-rich assholes sit on a majority of the wealth and live forever.

The exoskeleton that Matt Damon is in for half the movie seems like an unnecessary plot element, but I thought it worked to illustrate human desperation within a dehumanizing environment.

Cranks up the tension well. Made me think about how to emotionally invest a reader in the action in my WIP, and how to pace it and escalate the action to a satisfying climax.

(The hard-sf reader in me kept trying to figure out the size and orbit of the eponymous giant space station. And how do they keep the air in? Not really important to the movie.)

fivetoesten
08-12-2013, 02:16 AM
Saw it earlier today. There were things to like about this movie, but I'll wait for netflix to watch it again, maybe. It was a ham-handed caricature of contemporary society. It was waaaaay over the top. I think the director is known for over-the-top political statements.

The movie was too gory in some parts, but the gore did fit the story. The casual interaction with very advanced technology was fun and believable. Earth may have been a cesspool, but it was a cesspool filled with technological geniuses.

The exoskeleton made the movie worth seeing. It would have been worth the price of admission all by itself.

Elysium with exoskeleton: Kicken' romp.
Elysium without exoskeleton: Stupid.

Zoombie
08-12-2013, 03:48 AM
Well, actually MR, I think the air is kept in my centrifugal force. Same way it has gravity.

Filigree
08-12-2013, 04:49 AM
I liked the CG and the action sequences. I thought the underlying parable was clumsy and dangerous, so I couldn't rate the movie as highly as I might have liked. 'Social justice' is not merely trumpeting that there is a problem, but positing solutions to the problem.

This may be the only time I'm ever on the same page as many Tea Party activists. Free health care for everyone? Sure - as long as recipients and their kids agree to safe, reversible, enforced contraception. Because the Earth of 'Elysium' is already so overpopulated and polluted it cannot function, even with all the pretty tech sent down from the station.

Same goes for the elites of Elysium, who ran away from their responsibility to the future. I guarantee that station could not exist without the planet below. The same way that current wealthy elites (who appear more and more to owe less allegiance to any particular country) have largely ignored their responsibility toward the world and its future.

Sure, it's just a movie. But the director missed some interesting twists by playing this one for social sympathy instead of a more realistic dialog.

Manuel Royal
08-12-2013, 03:37 PM
Well, actually MR, I think the air is kept in my centrifugal force. Same way it has gravity.No, that wouldn't work. It'd expand out into space. Air is very light; and air that shallow wouldn't have enough weight to counteract its pressure. On Earth, the air stays put because it's 100 miles thick; its weight holds it down.

So, if I were to fanwank this, I'd assume Elysium has some kind of force field that holds the air in, but allows shuttles to enter and depart. (Though normally I'd expect shuttles to come and go at the hub.)

Several scenes required shuttles to be able to land (or crash, as the case might be) directly onto the habitat surface; and I imagine they felt a discussion about the technical aspects of that wasn't necessary.

Manuel Royal
08-12-2013, 03:42 PM
This may be the only time I'm ever on the same page as many Tea Party activists. Free health care for everyone? Sure - as long as recipients and their kids agree to safe, reversible, enforced contraception. Because the Earth of 'Elysium' is already so overpopulated and polluted it cannot function, even with all the pretty tech sent down from the station.

Same goes for the elites of Elysium, who ran away from their responsibility to the future. I guarantee that station could not exist without the planet below. The same way that current wealthy elites (who appear more and more to owe less allegiance to any particular country) have largely ignored their responsibility toward the world and its future.Agreed; I think they could even have brought this out in dialogue fairly naturally, without screwing up the pace of the movie. It's basically a fable, with far more implied than stated, which is fine; but I would have liked a little more discussion.

Zoombie
08-12-2013, 10:24 PM
So, a topless ring only works if you've got something as big as Ringworld...got it.

Though, was...I the only one who felt kind of uncomfortable that the heroic savior of all the poor, Spanish speaking brown people on Earth was a...very very white guy?

Manuel Royal
08-13-2013, 02:47 AM
Though, was...I the only one who felt kind of uncomfortable that the heroic savior of all the poor, Spanish speaking brown people on Earth was a...very very white guy?Yeah, it would have made more sense for Matt Damon's character to be more caramel, less white chocolate. There are plenty of good Latino actors around. But, Matt Damon being on board might have been what got the green light for the picture; I don't know.

Zoombie
08-13-2013, 08:48 AM
Yeah, it would have made more sense for Matt Damon's character to be more caramel, less white chocolate. There are plenty of good Latino actors around. But, Matt Damon being on board might have been what got the green light for the picture; I don't know.

This movie feels a lot like it was...executive meddled. Needs big name actors, even if they don't really bring anything other than their big name, needs a happy ending, even if the universe set up precludes a happy ending...

That kind of stuff.

Really, Elysium is one of those movies that has bits of better movies in it that I really want to see now. Kruger's character - seeing as how he was a Street Samurai - makes me want to have a Shadowrun movie. The space habitat makes me want to have an Eclipse Phase movie.

Though, as a side note, it is kind of interesting to see actor's political affiliations come out in what movies they back and act in. Wasn't Damon in the forgettable "Liberal Rambo" movie a few years back?

I wouldn't be shocked if he was quite liberal. But it is just a guess.

Manuel Royal
08-13-2013, 03:04 PM
Though, as a side note, it is kind of interesting to see actor's political affiliations come out in what movies they back and act in. Wasn't Damon in the forgettable "Liberal Rambo" movie a few years back?Stuck on You? Yes, he was in that.

Unless we really screw up, within a century there'll be a lot of people living in orbit in the Earth-Moon system. There are a lot of movie possibilities in that.

one_trick
08-14-2013, 07:30 PM
Saw it yesterday. Blah! As SF fan I reluctantly give it 2 and a half stars out of five.

The director should not be allowed to write his own scripts in the future. The whole plot was a mess and the characters were even worse. Not to mention the stupid plot holes that seem to plague every other movie lately.

MarkWinters
08-18-2013, 05:25 AM
The director should not be allowed to write his own scripts in the future. The whole plot was a mess and the characters were even worse. Not to mention the stupid plot holes that seem to plague every other movie lately.

He wrote District 9. I liked that pretty well. Maybe he could use a co-writer, like he had in that one.

redfalcon
08-18-2013, 06:04 AM
I wish they would stop with the political push in movies. The movie looked great until I heard the poli crap.

I want to go to a movie/read a book to escape all the poo in the world.

Going to movies like this are like going to Disneyland and being escorted around by Dick Cheney, granted with Dick you would get that feeling of adventure at least if he had his shotgun.

Zoombie
08-18-2013, 06:11 AM
He wrote District 9. I liked that pretty well. Maybe he could use a co-writer, like he had in that one.

Maybe he could use a different co-writer, because I'm going to bet dollars to donuts that executives meddled the SHIT out of this movie.

"So, we're giving you all the money ever. But remember, it needs to be nice and simple for American audiences. Also, get a big name in the lead, we need that..."

Toothpaste
08-18-2013, 08:02 AM
I wish they would stop with the political push in movies. The movie looked great until I heard the poli crap.

I want to go to a movie/read a book to escape all the poo in the world.

Going to movies like this are like going to Disneyland and being escorted around by Dick Cheney, granted with Dick you would get that feeling of adventure at least if he had his shotgun.

Then . . . don't go see movies like this?

I mean, I totally get the desire to just watch something escapist. Movies are my drugs, when I'm feeling low or out of sorts I use them to help boost my mood. And in such instances I definitely just want something that's fun and isn't trying to teach anything.

But at the same time, when I don't need a film to help me escape, I appreciate when someone tries to say something more. Especially in a big Hollywood movie. Now. Was this message particularly subtle? No. As I described it elsewhere, "it wears its message on its sleeve and then takes it off its sleeve and attaches it to a hammer and then bangs you over the head with it and then puts the hammer in a box and FedExes it to you priority overnight". But I still appreciated that he had something he wanted to say. Just like in DISTRICT 9 (which was far superior). You don't have to like that, but then . . . don't see this movie. There are plenty of other films out there that don't have any kind of message attached. Especially in the summer blockbuster season.

As for the rest of the film, this is what I wrote as a mini-review that pretty much sums up my feelings:

DISTRICT 9 it ain't, not by a long shot, but I found it entertaining nonetheless.

Negatives: Yes it wears its message on its sleeve and then takes it off its sleeve and attaches it to a hammer and then bangs you over the head with it and then puts the hammer in a box and FedExes it to you priority overnight (but, at the same time, I kind of appreciate a big action movie that actually also wants to say something). And yes the writing could have had more finesse - it's fairly predictable and the exposition might as well come with a sign that reads "And now it's time for some exposition".

Okay also what was up with Jodie Foster's delivery? Because that was truly distracting and odd (she should have just spoken french the whole time). And of course what would an an action film in 2013 be like without shaky cam and too close up so you can't see what's going on framing?

Positives: the world building alone is worth seeing the film for, there's some really innovative work and some clever integrating of the familiar with the SF. Matt Damon turns in a usual solid empathetic bad boy performance (is he ever meh?). Plus he is seriously cut in this movie. Sharlto Copley chews the scenery like he hasn't had a meal in months (in other words he is just fantastic and having way too much fun playing a monster of a villain - we get told just how much so with some convenient exposition by the president - that you just don't care how two dimensionally he's written). And the action bits you actually can see are fun and very very very explosion-y. Lots of people get blowed up. FYI. This is a pretty darn gory film. Be prepared. There's a nice sense of humour behind the direness, and the effects are truly stunning. Like seriously dude. It's fun to see a film and actually want to talk about how cool the effects were. Haven't done that in a while.

In all, if you don't have DISTRICT 9 expectations, and want just a cool fun movie with some entertaining performances, check it out. It won't all follow the rules of logic, and it's fairly predictable, but sometimes that's okay.

Manuel Royal
08-19-2013, 09:03 PM
Okay also what was up with Jodie Foster's delivery? Because that was truly distracting and odd (she should have just spoken french the whole time).I think she was speaking with a South African accent (and speaking Afrikaans in one scene).


And of course what would an an action film in 2013 be like without shaky cam and too close up so you can't see what's going on framing?The Steadicam is a great invention; I don't know why we're seeing so much shaky hand-held. A little bit of movement is enough to provide a feeling of verite; they don't need to make me seasick.

Zoombie
08-19-2013, 09:40 PM
The Steadicam is a great invention; I don't know why we're seeing so much shaky hand-held. A little bit of movement is enough to provide a feeling of verite; they don't need to make me seasick.

If I were being uncharitable, I'd say that directors use it to cover for bad fight choreography because if you shake the camera a lot, you can't tell what's going on, so you can't tell that the fight sucks.

Toothpaste
08-19-2013, 10:28 PM
See South African was what I assumed Copley was doing. I could see her attempting it (though she spoke French when not speaking English), but I think it's a failed attempt :) .

As for shaky cam, yeah it's weird. I think people think they are being gritty, but I am just so tired of it all :P.

Toothpaste
08-19-2013, 10:29 PM
Zoombie - except most films these days work harder on their fights than their dialogue. And in this film you could see there was careful choreo. It's just...weird.

Zoombie
08-19-2013, 10:37 PM
Zoombie - except most films these days work harder on their fights than their dialogue. And in this film you could see there was careful choreo. It's just...weird.

It is damn peculiar...

Albedo
08-21-2013, 11:48 AM
Why doesn't the douchewheel have point defense cannon?

Shoulder-fired rockets that can reach orbit?

One fuckin' nuke. that's all I'm saying. If I was running the People's Liberation Front of Greater LA...

Putputt
08-22-2013, 11:52 AM
Okay also what was up with Jodie Foster's delivery? Because that was truly distracting and odd (she should have just spoken french the whole time).

I actually found Jodie Foster's whole character in that movie really disappointing. I thought she was going to be this amazing, powerful character, full of cunning and tricks up her sleeve to the very end...but...

WARNING: SPOILERS

In the end she just frikkin' gave up! What the hell is up with that?? And for someone as intelligent as her, someone cunning enough to get to where she's at, she reaaally couldn't tell that Kruger was fucking pissed? I can't believe her survival instincts weren't playing up, telling her, "O hai, this dangerous criminal just had his face blown off, this is probably not the time to push him in a room all by myself while his two snickering buddies watch."

And why refuse help from Fray? Someone as ambitious as Foster's character would surely fight to their last breath? But newp, she just died in an extremely lame and anti-climatic way, leaving the men to battle one another. Pfftt.

/endrant

I'm just really frustrated with the lack of awesome female characters in this movie. >:-[

DarthLolita
08-23-2013, 03:30 AM
Though, was...I the only one who felt kind of uncomfortable that the heroic savior of all the poor, Spanish speaking brown people on Earth was a...very very white guy?

It surprisingly didn't make me uncomfortable. I just assumed Matt Damon's character was Hispanic with white skin. I'm Hispanic too and grew up in Ecuador for most of my childhood, so it's not uncommon.

Granted, it was kind of weird that most of the other characters had dark skin, as you said.

I can't figure out if I like the movie, though. The shaky cam was a mess and its treatment of the female characters was just...bland.

And I don't know if I misinterpreted it, but did Max only come through in the end to help Frey and her daughter instead of, y'know, all of humanity?

Toothpaste
08-23-2013, 05:58 AM
I think for me because I'm so used to seeing female characters as secondary and props to uplift the male characters I only tend to say something when a movie goes out of its way to do something right with the representation of women :P .

I will say it was nice to have the Jodie Foster role be a woman. Her role wasn't dependent on the fact that she was female, it could have been played by a man. I just didn't like how she played it, and I agree that her plotline didn't seem clever enough. She needed to be even more conniving etc.

As for Earth, Max wasn't the only white character there. But it seemed like another comment being made by the director. That even on Earth the classes are kind of divided as they are now, with the Latin Americans the lowest class, and the whites as middle management (like the guy who told Max to go into the radiation room thingy - not talking about Fitchner, the other actor who worked in the factory itself). So Max was a white guy who was on the same tier as the latinos because he was an orphan or whatever. Don't forget, there also were African Americans as well, also lower down on the rung. So it didn't bother me in that way. Where it was a bit annoying was it was clear they needed a big white male movie star so that's why the character had to be white and not latino. Then again, at least they went with Matt Damon.

*spoiler response to an above observation*




As for Jodie's death. That didn't really bug me, as she was just the kind of arrogant person who would think her level of power and her control over others extended to psychopaths. I think she just expected loyalty because of who she was and because he was her number 1. I actually was quite surprised they killed her at that point, and liked it. And her dying and telling Fray (Frey?) not to do anything made sense as well, it seemed like it was just "Too little too late" kind of thing. Though again there could have been something interesting in Fray having to save both her daughter and the evil woman who basically was responsible for her daughter not getting the care she needed.


I definitely don't consider it a strong movie. But I still found it entertaining thanks to the aesthetic and most of the performances. And yeah, I wasn't really surprised the female characters were crafted as they were, in DISTRICT 9 women were barely present. But it's nothing new, so as a woman who works really hard to create interesting/flawed/three dimensional female characters in all her work, I just do what I always do when I see a blockbuster: hope for the best, but not get surprised when it's the same old same old. I really wouldn't be able to enjoy almost any blockbuster otherwise. :P

one_trick
08-27-2013, 11:48 AM
Why doesn't the douchewheel have point defense cannon?

Shoulder-fired rockets that can reach orbit?

One fuckin' nuke. that's all I'm saying. If I was running the People's Liberation Front of Greater LA...

Yep, that really irked me. Stinger missiles reach GEO in less than a minute. And you NEED man on the ground to defend your huge space station from something that is virtually at arms length. That makes as much sense as calling LAPD when you are victim of home invasion in NYC.

But it's all because of the bad writing, IMO. We had to see this ridiculous scene just to be introduced to Kruger's character and to be convinced how bad he was (and the scene failed miserably in that regard too).

Still, I would've forgiven all this house-sized plot holes if we had good, likeable protagonists and competent antagonists. That's the main failure of the movie. Otherwise, the effects were awesome and the direction is top notch, hence my recommendation for Mr. Blomkamp to stick to directing and leave the writing to the proven professionals in that area.

robeiae
08-27-2013, 03:43 PM
I thought the rockets were fired from Earth proper for political reasons, plausible deniability and all that.

I enjoyed the movie, though I found it odd how the overriding issue was healthcare and not food/clean water.