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Elysium (2013)

tomatometer

68

Average Rating: 6.5/10
Reviews Counted: 229
Fresh: 156 | Rotten: 73

After the heady sci-fi thrills of District 9, Elysium is a bit of a comedown for director Neill Blomkamp, but on its own terms, it delivers just often enough to satisfy.

65

Average Rating: 6.5/10
Critic Reviews: 46
Fresh: 30 | Rotten: 16

After the heady sci-fi thrills of District 9, Elysium is a bit of a comedown for director Neill Blomkamp, but on its own terms, it delivers just often enough to satisfy.

audience

59

liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 152,481

My Rating

Movie Info

In the year 2154, two classes of people exist: the very wealthy, who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. The people of Earth are desperate to escape the planet's crime and poverty, and they critically need the state-of-the-art medical care available on Elysium - but some in Elysium will stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve their citizens' luxurious lifestyle. The only man with the chance

R,

Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy

Neill Blomkamp

Dec 17, 2013

$93.1M

TriStar Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (229) | Top Critics (46) | Fresh (156) | Rotten (73) | DVD (1)

Like Max, the movie has to keep moving, and Mr. Blomkamp lets you fill in the gaps yourself as it progresses. Or not.

August 14, 2013 Full Review Source: New York Observer
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Though Elysium is a testament to Blomkamp's extraordinary skill as a visual filmmaker, it does not speak nearly so well for his gifts as a writer.

August 9, 2013 Full Review Source: The Atlantic
The Atlantic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The action is bludgeoning.

August 9, 2013 Full Review Source: New York Magazine
New York Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A cautionary tale about the dangers of squandering resources that wastes its own talent.

August 9, 2013 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If Elysium is an example of how recession-era Hollywood intends to dramatize the rift between the haves and the have-nots, let's hope the studios don't also bring back Smell-O-Rama.

August 9, 2013 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An epic about saving humanity that feels more manufactured than human.

August 9, 2013 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Neill Blomkamp has created a beautifully designed and realized world. If only he'd spent half as much time focusing on the people that inhabit it.

January 22, 2014 Full Review Source: The Verge
The Verge

Any thematic audacity is snuffed out by action sequences that you can now buy at Dollar General.

January 3, 2014 Full Review Source: Grantland
Grantland

With "Elysium," Blomkamp not only fills the film with enough exciting action to make it fly by, but he also provides an interesting commentary on the continuing division of classes, turning it into something more than your average monotonous action flick.

December 16, 2013 Full Review Source: Examiner.com
Examiner.com

While not the slam-dunk that his first film was, Neill Blomkamp has created a compelling vision of a wealth-dominated future.

December 15, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinema Sight
Cinema Sight

Blomkamp delivers blockbusters based in empathy and political smarts that actually aspire to be more than insulting filmic pollution.

October 15, 2013 Full Review Source: Concrete Playground
Concrete Playground

After District 9, this is a little bit of a disappointment... but a must-see for fans of the genre.

October 5, 2013 Full Review Source: The Aristocrat
The Aristocrat

Damon once again shows why he is one of the best lead actors we have.

October 3, 2013 Full Review Source: CinemaBlend.com
CinemaBlend.com

[Blomkamp] really needs to learn that too much action blunts his more interesting statements.

September 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Mark Leeper's Reviews
Mark Leeper's Reviews

Blomkamp has toned down the body horror in favour of more conventional thrills but handles the shootouts and slugfests with panache. His tale of haves and have nots remains a striking and thought-provoking parable, even if it doesn't fully add up.

September 7, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Talk
Movie Talk

The occasionally interesting script is bludgeoned by its heavy-handed political pandering.

September 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Spectrum (St. George, Utah)
Spectrum (St. George, Utah)

The logic in the film's dystopian universe seems flimsy under moderate scrutiny. But at least it's ambitious in its attempt to mix sci-fi conventions with social commentary.

August 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinemalogue.com
Cinemalogue.com

The film is to be commended for its thought provoking premise - something we haven't seen in many films over the U.S. summer.

August 27, 2013 Full Review Source: ABC Radio Brisbane
ABC Radio Brisbane

A project over-designed yet under-thought.

August 25, 2013 Full Review Source: Electric Sheep
Electric Sheep

Depressingly predictable in its ideas and tedious in its boneheaded brutality.

August 25, 2013 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

The best parts of this 'parallel universe' experience are aesthetic.

August 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Birmingham Mail
Birmingham Mail

Neill Blomkamp cements his science-fiction credentials as a filmmaker with a genre vision the likes of which we haven't seen since the socially conscious SF of the 1970s.

August 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher
Flick Filosopher

As he did with District 9, South African filmmaker Blomkamp grounds this sci-fi thriller in present-day society, telling a story that resonates with a strong political kick.

August 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Contactmusic.com
Contactmusic.com

It's a long time since any major studio closed the silly season with a $115 million Marxist polemic.

August 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Irish Times
Irish Times

Just as the creation of a future nightmare, one that disturbingly resembles the world we already know, Elysium is masterful - definitely worth seeing.

August 23, 2013 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

It's great to watch an original blockbuster with some ideas in its head. It's just a pity, and a ironic, that for a film about humanity there's not more human interest.

August 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

Audience Reviews for Elysium

A tremendously entertaining and spectacular masterpiece. Director, Neil Blomkamp follows up his triumphant, District 9 with this scorching and head-spinning new breed of science fiction movie that's bold, stylish and wickedly original. An utterly satisfying, groundbreaking and gorgeously crafted movie. A mind-blowing and explosive action-packed thrill-machine that does not let up for a minute. An extraordinary and visually dazzling piece of work that's a captivating for the eyes and ears and is loaded with pulse-pounding action and outstanding special effects from start to finish. An exhilarating and heart-pounding movie that grabs you and sucks you in and thrills you with its imagination and story. It has a grit and style that's all its own. It's one of the most exciting and breathtaking action films of 2013. The cast is truly remarkable. Matt Damon is at his best, he digs deep into his action hero roots mixing it up with the every-man and succeeds in it wonderfully. Jodie Foster is terrific. Sharlto Copley is fantastic, he delivers big with his performance playing a psychotic terminator type of character that is just a total badass. Wagner Moura is excellent.
January 22, 2014
allan913

Super Reviewer

After the wildly refreshing "District 9", Neil Blomkamp's back to bring yet another gritty vision of a dystopian future ala "Elysium".

"Elysium" consists of the same bread and butter formula of "District 9": Cathartic, entertaining action coupled with a cautionary tale that's relevant with today's world issues. And what breathtaking action it is; it's quick, blunt, and visceral. Where action flicks like the James Bond films entertain audiences by harmoniously balancing the fisticuffs action, gunplay, and the cunning use of environmental dangers, "Elysium"'s action is best when it displays the imaginative weaponry of its universe -- it's that simple. Of course, it wouldn't be as entertaining as it is if it weren't for its dazzling special effects.

But what helps "Elysium" stand on its own amongst its competition within the action/sci-fi genre is its message -- a message that's relevant to contemporary times. The future, much like "District 9", is dark, dreary, and left with even more problems than we have it in 2014. Despite the rawness and dizzying violence that Blomkamp portrays, the cathartic action and ingeniously crafted weaponry envisioned by the crafty mind of Blomkamp interestingly shows Blomkamp's inner child -- a sucker for cool guns and awesome exploding bodies which helps tone down the dreariness of its narrative. For the most part, the message is clear and direct, easy enough for the average joe to spot, but this message and the cathartic action is all "Elysium" devotes to. Audiences soon realize that the characters are crafted as mere cogs in a machine, all in the name conveying a message relevant to contemporary times. Yes, the characters undergo the same emotional tropes a real person may feel, but their side of the story gets lost in the dust.

Where "District 9" had an incredibly captivating universe, a relevant message, and character development that was truly commanding, "Elysium" has all but the latter. Thus, "Elysium"'s lasting effect is a bludgeoning one -- one that will be quickly forgotten especially when Oscar season hits. Don't get me wrong: "Elysium" was fantastic fun, but even though the message had good intentions and may be relevant with our times, it's simply not relevant on a personal level.
January 15, 2014
Albert Kim

Super Reviewer

What starts out as quite a grounded realistic take on the future quickly descents into the kind of action flick you'd half expect to see Arnie in about 20 years ago. In fact this film reminded me very much of the Verhoeven ultra violent sci-fi 'Total Recall' with its themes on class levels, the rich and the poor and of course the hyper levels of violence.

The distopian plot is pretty simple really despite the films initial intelligent appearance. Matt Damon is a grunt on Earth doing hard labour for peanuts, Earth is now a polluted ruined disaster zone. Up above orbiting Earth is the space station Elysium where all the wealthy folk live, they enjoy a perfect existence with health care, clean air and luxury. Through negligence on his bosses part Damon gets a massive dose of radiation and has five days live. So now the clock is ticking and Damon must get his ass to Mars...errr Elysium so he can treat himself.

There are many good and bad elements in this film and straight away that is a bad one. The technology in this film goes from a really impressive realism with all the robot workers, military and police, to downright insanity with the medical care. The rich have these pod-like machines that will basically cure you of ANYTHING! absolutely anything can be fixed. This really does sound too good to be true even for a sci-fi film, its gets so ludicrous that even when the films bad guy gets his face blow off these wonder machines still manage to patch him back together bringing him back to life with clear memories of what happened before he was 'killed'. No recuperation required folks, good as new.

As said the robots in the film look amazing, very realistic and practical if you ask me, you could almost manufacture them right now!. I did love the visuals in the film from start to finish, its really glossy where it needs to be. The space station Elysium looks like the big space wheel from '2001' but the immense detail of its interior when we see flybys from spacecrafts is breathtaking, it really looks good. Most of the ships you see aren't overly original in design but again they all look functional, realistic and very cool, the bad guys ship is a very sweet looking bounty hunter ride, eat your heart out Boba Fett!. On the flip side Earth looks perfectly grimy, bleak and desolated, we've seen it all before but it still looks good.

I did enjoy the themes throughout this film, again hardly original stuff with the old class rivalry between the rich and the poor. Interesting to see an American film tackle immigration in such a stark way, especially when everyone on Earth appears to be Latino/Spanish speaking folk (minorities) and they are all made out to be ruthless, dirty, tattooed, gun toting scavengers who aren't able to hold onto civilised society without white folk. Many also don't appear to be able to do anything constructive accept criminal activities...until Damon (a white guy) comes along and saves them all. Oh and is Damon the only white guy left in this region? or Earth? well him and his nasty boss. Anywho life is cheap on Earth and the rich see it as expendable, no surprises there then.

Then of course you have the hot topic of healthcare (for the Yanks) and the fact that it appears to be free and easy (I think it was, everyone has one of those pod things). Its the perfect utopia with no scruffy ethnic minority immigrants clogging up the system. Most of the people on Elysium appeared to be white with blonde hair...those damn blondes, the mark of evil I tell ya!. Basically all the white people were bad, accept Damon, everyone else was good and repressed...not too many messages in this film huh. Oh and the really bad guys were white South Africans!! that's like...doubly bad!.

Nice touch that Damon and all the other grunts earn peanuts slaving away in factories making the very robots that make their lives a living hell with a lot of stern bureaucracy and tough laws. Still not original but it works.

So I enjoyed this film a lot right up until the point where the bad guy merc turns into some kind of comicbook super villain right out of a W.S. Anderson flick. Seriously I half expected Jovovich to pop up and fight him. Now I can't deny this guy was a good baddie but my God was he over the top, I mean they really tried to make this guy some kind of iconic badass. Head to toe in an admittedly cool looking military suit and looking very [i]Halo-ish[/i], lots of big hidden knives and guns all over the place, some kind of energy shield from the Star Wars universe and to top it all just in case he wasn't quite ultra cool enough...a samurai sword strapped to his back. Yeah this guy was meant to be the ultimate villain alright, I don't think they could possibly give him anymore weaponry if they tried, seriously tooled up.

But despite this uber visual coolness on display the film just went downhill so fast towards the end. Such a predictable mess of action movie cliches. Damon gets his exoskeleton suits early on but doesn't really do too much, they save it for the inevitable fight between him and this uber badass South African bad guy (yep he was really South African folks and his name is 'Kruger' *groan*). Two badasses wearing exoskeleton suits giving them super strength, speed, power etc...must fight to the death in yet another 'Matrix-esque/Underworld-esque' battle, gee I wonder who wins after all that wire work.

Don't get me wrong the action is top rate and extremely brutal at times. The gun battles we see are terrific and pretty realistic looking even though its futuristic gear. It all looks very much like certain popular FPS videogames to me at times, not a complaint I assure you as its really thrilling to watch, especially on Bluray. The entire film is super slick and a treat for the eyes to be sure, sound too, a very polished action film.

Highly thrilling ride from Earth into orbit that's for sure but its just a shame its a film of two halves. On one hand it seems like it could of been a very decent intelligent (if somewhat questionable) science fiction story based on life in the year 2154. but there's a clear line in the sand which the film crosses and it goes in a completely different direction, it turns into Arnie fodder. So I find myself torn liking both halves but knowing they don't really blend too well together in my opinion. Plus it does get way too stupid towards the end and the actual ending its self is soooooo corny it was embarrassing.

With some heavy themes this does feel a lot like a modern 'Robocop' but it doesn't have that dark satirical angle. More like controversial stereotyping and strong propaganda softened with sonictacular turbo violence for the masses. Definitely makes you think on various levels which is good and you do get bang for your buck which is also good. A very jumbled film but solid certainly.
January 9, 2014
phubbs1

Super Reviewer

Communism has been tried, and it didn't work. That's the principal message I'd like to get across to the makers and stars of this film. All the heroic action, desperate needs, and cartoonish villains add up to the sympathetic have-nots versus the greedy haves. This is the earth of our not-too-distant future, and its up to cyborg-ish Matt Damon and his left-wing tech savvy enablers to save the children from the doomed fate the evil rich would have them endure. With the unwitting help of our robot security force, wealth and resources will be re-distributed and all will live happily ever after. Message to critics who called this movie "thought-provoking" : turn on MSNBC already.
January 6, 2014
Clintus M.
Clintus Maximus

Super Reviewer

    1. Kruger: I always wanted a wife. I could never get around to settling down. But I'd settle down for you. You make me want to settle down.
    – Submitted by In Your D (5 months ago)
    1. Secretary Delacourt: Have you completely lost your mind?
    2. Secretary Delacourt: You're useless to me.
    – Submitted by Alex B (6 months ago)
    1. Kruger: I'm sorry that we crashed the vehicle and ruined someone's lawn.
    2. Kruger: But nobody is gonna hang us for treason.
    3. Kruger: We do the hanging!
    – Submitted by Alex B (6 months ago)
    1. Secretary Delacourt: Command: Cancel!
    – Submitted by Alex B (6 months ago)
    1. Julio: Are you nervous?
    2. Max Da Costa: No.
    3. Julio: No?
    4. Max Da Costa: Me estoy cagando de miedo.
    – Submitted by Alex B (6 months ago)
    1. Kruger: I m Just getting started.
    – Submitted by Anderson W (6 months ago)
View all quotes (20)

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