Photo Credit: TriStar Pictures
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First things first: no, Elysium is not as good as District 9. Definitely not. But on its own terms, it stands as a captivating piece of science fiction. More so than the recent Pacific Rim and Tom Cruise’s Oblivion, Elysium gets the story of the washed up hero right. (As to why the planet must always be saved by a guy who’s seen better days is another question I’ll leave for readers to sort out amongst themselves).
It’s 2154. Stephen Hawking’s premonition about humanity and its home planet has come true: we’ve destroyed the Earth and ventured out into space. Well, some of us. A few select rich one percenters to be precise. They’ve set up an intergalactic haven called Elysium which is like a floating resort and is governed with an iron fist by Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster).
Among the 99 percent left to toil in misery on a dilapidated Earth is Max (Matt Damon). He, it turns out, is the only one who can save the millions left on Earth by getting them to Elysium. Delacourt, however, is not one to shy away from confrontation – and so she unleashes a hellacious horde of attackers to thwart Max.
It’s pretty standard science fiction plotting, but the movie manages to earn its special quality through the details of the future, many of them embodied in the figures of Max and Delacourt. If there’s one thing the movie tells us it’s that no matter how much time passes and how much our surroundings change, Humanity will forever be engaged in the fight of good vs. evil.