Elysium (2013) Review

Elysium (2013)

Directed & Written by Neill Blomkamp

Starring: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga, Diego Luna, Wagner Moura, William Fichtner

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
In the year 2154, the very wealthy live on a man-made space station while the rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth. A man takes on a mission that could bring equality to the polarized worlds.

My Opinion:

I had a bit of a “Matt Damon sci-fi” weekend: I watched Elysium & The Martian (finally – I’ll review that on Wednesday). I did really like Blomkamp’s District 9 and was very much in the minority, I think, in quite liking Chappie. I missed out on Elysium but after it got such bad reviews I didn’t rush to watch it. I still planned to watch it someday, though, as I love sci-fi and am always far more forgiving of flawed films in that genre. Elysium was a tiny bit better than I was expecting (but my low expectations due to bad reviews probably helped). Don’t get me wrong, though – it’s a total mess.

Elysium actually started out quite promising but, man oh man, it really lost its way. It looked impressive so I enjoyed watching the sci-fi elements such as the robots (that looked a lot like Chappie) and the utopian space station Elysium (although it was very derivative). I thought Matt Damon did quite well and I liked the story involving his childhood friend. I didn’t read any reviews of this in detail as I knew I’d watch it someday but I assume the main complaints were about the “baddies” (Jodie Foster & Sharlto Copley). They’re godawful! There are some pretty big problems with the script but the one-dimensional bad guys (with some really weird accents) are what let this film down more than anything else. Atrocious.

This movie had a good concept so I wish Blomkamp had managed to actually explore the themes and issues he clearly had in mind. Instead, the story becomes a messy & predictable action film in the second half.  It was just disappointing as I wanted the film to be a bit “deeper” than it ended up being. There are loads of mediocre sci-fi action films like this – I wanted a “smart” sci-fi (something like Moon or Ex Machina). It’s just frustrating when a film has the right elements but can’t make things work due to a weak script.


I didn’t hate Elysium but it was certainly a disappointment. It “looked” good, though, and I liked the first half of the film plus I thought Damon did a good job. The movie showed a lot of promise until the second half when it totally lost the plot. A weak script that doesn’t at all explore the social & political themes as well as truly horrible, one-dimensional bad guys really let the film down. I’m glad I finally watched this but I’d only recommend it if you’re a big fan of sci-fi, otherwise you’ll probably feel like you’ve wasted two hours of your time. 

My Rating: 6/10

25 thoughts on “Elysium (2013) Review

    • Yay! Glad to hear from another Chappie fan! πŸ™‚ Most hated it but I really liked the character of Chappie more than anything. I wish Elysium hadn’t been so disappointing. I still need to write about The Martian but I can say I most definitely liked it more than Elysium. πŸ˜‰

  1. I think I will remain forever alone in my love for this movie. I thought it was brilliant…superbly executed action, superb visuals and decent acting (bar Jodie Foster’s unusual accent). But one dimensional bad guys? Kruger especially was a ferocious creation, clearly driven half mad from being blown up and put back together several times. I also love Blomkemps’ style which is sort of documentary meets traditional sci-fi blockbuster. Honestly I really don’t get the hate.

    • I do like Blomkamp’s style too but it didn’t make up for the weak script in this one for me. I thought Copley was awful – his character may have been a little better if it had been played by a better actor. I also thought he was terrible in Maleficent. But I thought the film looked great – was just hoping it would be a little less shallow. I thought he did a much better job getting his point across in District 9. πŸ™‚

  2. Fuck Elysium – on so many levels. I hated this movie. That freaking accent from Copley pissed me off. Everyone went on that Kruger was such a hardcore baddie, and my other half and I just mocked him for his excessive use of “boytjie” the whole time. I wanted to flip out. Damon did what he could with the terrible material, and the film was visually stunning, but gosh, I swear South Africans don’t sound like that :/ Really, this thing was a bloody disaster.

    • Lol! So… Are you saying you weren’t a fan of this? πŸ˜‰ Ugh. That’s two movies now where I REALLY couldn’t stand Copley (he was also terrible in Maleficent). I think he’s just not a very good actor??!

      • Maybe…

        Oh goodness, he was bad in Maleficent, for sure, but still not nearly as bad as this. I don’t know, I think he is just average, nothing special. Like he was okay in Open Grave and Oldboy, but other things he totally sucks in.

  3. Pingback: The Martian (2015) Review | Cinema Parrot Disco

  4. Pingback: My Top Ten Matt Damon Movies | Cinema Parrot Disco

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