We’ve been but patient. We've ticked through the summer, faithfully buying tickets for flop after flop, in hopes that Hollywood would deliver—not an Oscar nominee, not a moving psychological drama, not even a complex thriller--just a solid, entertaining summer movie. I must admit I had high hopes for Elysium. The film boasts an Oscar-caliber cast and a trailer that seems to say, This is what you’ve been waiting for. Sadly, this too, is disappointing.
The year is 2154, Earth is an over-crowded ghetto and home to the 99 percent. The privileged few live on a Utopian space station known as Elysium, where everyone is white and healthy (and possibly French). When Max (Matt Damon), a reformed criminal trying to make an honest living, is exposed to a lethal dose of radiation, he is determined to get to Elysium in hopes of a cure. You see, citizens of Elysium have access to state of the art medical care—apparently in the form of an extremely high-tech tanning bed—that the impoverished on Earth don’t. Are you sensing a theme yet? Meanwhile, on Elysium, the autocratic defense secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster) is at odds with her colleagues as to what actions are appropriate to keep illegal immigrants out.
On a positive note, this is an interesting, well-acted film that is just about the perfect length. Matt Damon is compelling as the unlikely hero of a revolution. The film strikes a perfect balance between sci-fi special effects and the human factor. On the flip side, the movie is beyond predictable and a tad preachy. The normally brilliant Foster phones in a robotic, paper-thin performance, adding little complexity to an already rudimentary plot. All in all, the movie’s just pretty good. It’s a 6.