Elysium Blu-ray Review

     Actors: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga, Diego Luna
  • Director/Writer: Neill Blomkamp
  • Producers: Neill Blomkamp, Bill Block, Simon Kinberg, Stacy Perskie, Sue Baden-Powell
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: December 17, 2013
  • Run Time: 109 minutes


            Neill Blomkamp took everyone by surprise with his debut feature, District 9, able to combine cutting-edge action sequences within the socially and political relevant science fiction storyline. Elysium has all of the same things that made District 9 a success: heavy science fiction, special-effects-driven action, and a heavy-handed political message under the surface. Aside from the fact that this feels a bit more forced the second time around, District 9 was a film made in the filmmaker’s home country of South Africa with a message that was obviously personal in nature. Elysium is a Hollywood feature which makes some transparent social statements about the United States in the narrative. I found this a bit smug coming from an outsider, and Elysium tends to feel heavy-handed with cinematic soap box themes weighing the spectacle down.


            The biggest problem with the allegories and political subtext in Elysium is how blatantly transparent it is. The story takes place in the dystopian future year of 2154, in which Earth is ravaged and only the wealthy can afford to live a healthy life on the man-made space station called Elysium. This space station also provides perfect health care, which none of the impoverished citizens of the United States can get. It is already clear that the film is dealing with issues of universal health care and immigration, which is pounded into the audience’s head even more obviously by the fact that apparently all citizens on Earth are Hispanic and all on Elysium are white. This is an obvious attempt to advance the liberal agenda of addressing the health care and immigration issues the Unites States deals with in regards to our impoverished southern neighbors in Mexico. This entire film could have used a bit more subtlety and intelligence.


            What the movie lacks in smarts it tends to make up for in science fiction spectacle. Although I didn’t care for the storyline, I was drawn in by the action and a few of the film’s characters. Matt Damon heads up the cast as Max, a lowly worker on Earth who has nothing to lose after a work accident gives him little time to live. Using an exoskeleton for strength, Max makes it his mission to change things by leading a group to infiltrate Elysium and use their health care machines. Protecting the wealthy is Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster), who hires bounty hunters to kill Max, led by an enormously entertaining Sharlto Copley (District 9).


            The Blu-ray release of Elysium offers the high definition presentation mastered in 4K, along with a DVD and digital copy of the film. Exclusive to the Blu-ray is an interactive exploration of the art and design in the film, along with a series of featurettes about the space station Elysium. There is also a featurette about the visual effects and the technology of the future world, as well as an extended scene. Included on the DVD are just two more featurettes, which are also included in the Blu-ray features.


    Entertainment Value: 8/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 6.5/10

    Historical Significance: 6/10

    Disc Features: 8/10



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