Elysium - grade/review and spoilers - also controversy

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by DarthTom, Aug 8, 2013.

  1. Base_Delta_Zero

    Base_Delta_Zero Commodore Commodore

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    I want to watch the opening scene from the logical sequel where Elysium and Earth are now both slummy shitholes rife with renewed poverty, disease and warfare since there clearly isn't enough room on the space station for billions of Earthers to immigrate, nor are there enough supplies of meditech to help everyone on Earth. And even if there were somehow enough (which there couldn't possibly be since it was designed to support a tiny population of spacers), if everyone is made effectively immortal with the meditech...Earth will quickly overpopulate, burn through whatever resources it has left and collapse into anarchy...again.

    The whole thrust of the final act was to make all people on Earth citizens ... somehow. The AI on Elysium is apparently rebootable and overwritable, but only with a magic boot disk file. It can even install a new president with a line of code! Ummm...what? How? Why would anyone think this was a good system to employ? The movie never addresses any of this.

    And apparently all of the "undocumented" people on Earth actually ARE documented, because simply changing the Earth_Population line of code from Illegal to *Legal means Elysium recognizes everyone everywhere BY THEIR NAMES. Um what? How? Before the machines couldn't ID anyone on the station without a raised ID brand, but after the code change, it knows everyone's name and agrees to fix them instantly, launching all of its medical shuttles and droids towards Earth.

    The only worthwhile part of this film (for me) was the basic, hands-on tech, which like District 9, feels quite used, lived in and actually makes sense in-context. It was slick where it needed to be, and functional.

    The political message was pretty Homey D. Clown bop on the head blatant. The Black Hats were mainly white Ameri-Euros protected by "Homeland Security" and all were either stupid, corrupt or cartoonishly evil. They all had massive mansions and sat around all day being rich, attractive and evil (or oblivious). The White Hats were all brown or black (except for the Great White Savior with a DESTINY FOR GREATNESS, Matt Damon), decent -though dirty- folk constantly referred to as "undocumented", who were just struggling to get along under the thumb of the man. Even the extremely well-equipped coyote gangs were Robin Hood-like heroes.

    Getting to Elysium is presented as a panacea for the people of Earth. Everyone will get free healthcare! And not just free for the people, but literally magically free, with no apparent overhead for the government giving it out. People will have homes and jobs! Even though machines do all of the menial labor on Elysium (costing nothing beyond the initial purchase and periodic maintenance) and the rest of the admin jobs are already filled by immortal rich people; and the station doesn't have room for everyone to have a new home in space, no matter how many mansions they knock down to build suburbs.

    There are no Mexican day laborers on Elysium! Sneaking aboard past non-existent (officially sanctioned)defenses and running into the well-tended parks only delays your deportation back to Earth by MINUTES. No rich person is going to hire a smelly Earther to pick weeds when they have shiny robots with their family crest painted on the chassis to do it.

    Arrrghhhh! This movie makes no sense! It sets up a clearly ALIEN society with tech and political situations which would dictate interesting, completely unique scenarios from what is happening today, and yet still reflect the concerns of today if handled intelligently and then throws that all away and starts immediately sticking in anachronistic people/things/situations from today's reality so the mouth-breathers in the audience recognize that SpaceAmerica is bad for not just granting amnesty to all illegal EarthAliens and showering them with magical free healthcare.

    The first few scenes with Damon were actually quite promising, with a coolly realized oppressive dystopian feel...and then the plot happened and all that potential flew right out the airlock.

    The cyborg fight (singular) was pretty lame, as well. The fights with the droids were much more entertaining, but all too brief.

    And finally (I promise), the biggest plot point in the movie and the crux of Damon's character's actions throughout is the Johnny Mnemonic magic boot file he hacks from Fichtner's CEO's brain. As is clearly shown to the audience when Fichtner creates the magic boot file and downloads it into his brain, it is protected by both an encryption algorithm and a security program which he sets to "lethal" just in case someone besides him tries to access it. Then Damon accesses it.

    Damon downloads the file into his own brain without dying. Ok, he hasn't actually read the file, you're thinking. Doesn't really help Fichtner, since he gets shot during the brain-hacking attempt, and he doesn't warn them off to save his own life by saying it's useless without him, since it's lethal to anyone but him. He just mumbles "You have no idea what you are doing." Sure, maybe that's how it works: you have to try and read the file for it to kill you.

    NOPE. Head Coyote Guy jacks into Damon and reads it and instantly knows what it can do at a glance. I mean, it's on his computer. He could print screen and he'd have it. Damon still doesn't die. What kind of encryption/protection software is this? Is it lethal or not?

    Then EvilCorp on Elysium capture Damon and THEY jack in and read the file. He is still not dead. It's only when Damon has to heroically sacrifice himself to free all of Earth that activating the boot file kills him.

    So wait a second. Fichtner was promised unlimited power and money and mwawawa evil pact with the devil to make and deliver this file to Jodie Foster so she could make herself the president ... by hacking a single line of code...fine. Whatever. Sure. Then Fichtner puts this thing in his head with a lethal failsafe that only activates...when the file is used to reboot Elysium's AI! Fichtner was supposed to be doing for evil what Damon ends up doing good. Fichtner clearly had no intention of dying. Why would the failsafe work in this way? Why would Fichtner even bother with it, if he wasn't going to bargain for his life with it? Arrrghhhh!

    World Building - B
    Visuals - A
    Fight Choreography - C
    Story - F
    Acting - C (Everyone but Damon with more than one line overacts, especially Jodie Foster with her hugely distracting mystery accent and mustache-twirling)

    Overall - C-
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2013
  2. Yminale

    Yminale Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I agree with your analysis but there is one flaw. These people have cheap access to space. You need resources, send the robots to mine asteroids. Need energy. Tell the robots to built solar arrays or mine Helium 3 from the moon. Need water. Tell the robots to capture a comet. Need space. There are these objects called PLANETS that happen to be in the neighborhood. Venus itself is roughly the size of Earth and could be terraformed.

    Maybe the ultimate lesson of Elysium is that rich people are sociopaths who can't share a little to help the unfortunate.
     
  3. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ So who maintains the robots?
     
  4. Yminale

    Yminale Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Other robots. Once you develop a working AI, humans won't be needed for basic maintenance and construction.
     
  5. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Pretty depressing, really.
     
  6. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    And that's a bad thing?

    Wow, what terrible goals! How dare they! ;)

    [LEFT]Am I the only one who thinks it's bizarre when people are "defending" their movie saying "It's not trying to say anything! Really, people, it has no message, it's just another silly popcorn blockbuster"! :lol:
    [/LEFT]
     
  7. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Actually, I think it's bizarre when people try to interpret everything and anything into a piece of entertainment.


    It's called acting, you know? Someone who plays a serial killer is - usually - not a serial killer and doesn't agree with his views. Same goes for a writer and director. When they write and direct a film, whatever happens in it does not have to be their opinion. It's fiction. And entertainment.


    What I find bizarre is when an author repeatedly stated that his work of fiction does not contain any allegories (and even puts it into the foreword), and then you find a whole bunch of literature Phd theses discussing the allegories in his work. That is not only bizarre, it's incredibly silly.

    We have enough authors and directors and actors expressing their (controversial) political opinion everywhere any chance they get. So I don't get why we still need to look for more political opinions and controversy in places where there aren't any.


    It's so lovely when politically infested people look at something they disagree with, and immediately label it as part of an "agenda". Those are poor souls.


    Heck, there's this never ending Star Trek Insurrection discussion. And someone brought up a source that not even the cast agreed with what the characters do in the film. But they did the film anyways.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2013
  8. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    I've been looking forward to seeing this film for awhile and I'm not deterred by anything I've read so far.

    Television and so much of our society is geared toward feeding consumerism and ultimately lining the pockets of those at the top of the chain. Politics can often seem pointless where so many look to be just spinning their wheels.

    And so a film offers up commentary and a counterpoint view and everything is threatened to come crashing down around us?

    It's fictional allegory in a movie for crissakes! It's not a call to social upheaval. And it's certainly nothing new in SF for allegory to be less than subtle and mostly one sided.


    I'm seeing this this afternoon.
     
  9. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Actually, I think this is a bizarre sentence, which probably ended up meaning something different from what you wanted it to mean. Nobody here is trying to "interpret everything into a piece of entertainment"... whatever that means.

    Yes, and? This is amazingly irrelevant to this discussion.

    "What happens in it" isn't anyone's opinion, it's an event/plot. Maybe you were referring to a character's statement? Which would, again, be irrelevant, since nobody was discussing any statements made by any of the characters in the movie.

    I have no idea who and what you're referring to and what it has to do with this thread, since, as far as I know, this movie is not based on a book.

    Yeah, right. A movie about the class differences and the plight of the extremely poor that is ignored by the extremely rich does not contain any political themes. No, sir. :rommie:

    There doesn't need to be an "agenda" for a movie to have a political theme. The movie doesn't have to deliver a message that this and this should be done in order to have a political theme relevant to our world.

    And even if a director has an "agenda", so what? I find it funny that the idea that extreme poverty and lack of medical help for the poor is a bad thing is somehow "controversial". In my book, that's like saying it's controversial if you put forward the "agenda" that killing people is bad. How one intends to solve the problem of poverty, and what economic system one considers the most suitable to solve the problem may be controversial, but I find the idea that the very criticism of such a state of affairs is "controversial" - really bizarre.
     
  10. Galileo7

    Galileo7 Commodore Commodore

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    Agree.:sigh:
     
  11. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    Not everyone can be a leader and leaders need someone to follow them in order to be a leader. Indeed, Jodie Foster does have a staff of humans working for her. So at the very least the station should consist of a ruling class and a subservient class.
     
  12. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    And after a while longer, humans...simply won't be needed.
     
  13. Mister Fandango

    Mister Fandango Fleet Captain

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    They weren't to begin with. I'm pretty sure the Earth would function just fine without us.
     
  14. Yminale

    Yminale Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Hierarchies can exist within a class. There are going to be people who are rich because they "earned it" and those who were born to it. Not everybody in Elysium is equally rich and some will have more money or influence than others.

    Political scientists have actually forwarded the idea of a class within a class (Upper Upper class (assets worth more than 1 billion), Middle Upper class (1 billion to 100 million), and Lower Upper class (100 - 1 million dollars) to explain why really rich people like Gates and Buffet support the Democrats while the vast majority who make the lower upper class support Republicans.
     
  15. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    It saddens me when big mouthed critics on television take offense that filmed entertainment might contain ideas that make an audience think.
     
  16. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    There's a difference between life before humans came along in the first place, and life after humans have been exterminated by robots.

    But that's why we have Old Glory Insurance. ;)
     
  17. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    I just got back from seeing this. I give it an "B+" overall even though I quite enjoyed it in general.

    It's gorgeous to look at. All the high tech is given a very believable veneer. There's shiny new tech right alongside well used tech that's been banged up over time. I felt it had a decent balance of exposition and action.

    There is a viewpoint here---no question---and it ain't subtle, but it's presented in such broad strokes that it can only be taken as allegory and not taken literally with any seriousness. The real world is more nuanced than what's presented in the film, but that's true with most film and television.

    I did find the characterizations shallow or at least not very fleshed out. It's basically this is this person and this is that one and that one and so on and this is what they do. Matt Damon is essentially the generally decent, but somewhat selfish reluctant hero. Sharlto Copley is batshit crazy and Jodie Foster is a cold bitch, and they're not really much deeper than that.

    I'd like to see it again and I'll probably add it to my library.

    Good, but not stellar.
     
  18. Professor Zoom

    Professor Zoom Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'll be kind and say meh.
    The bad guys would've won if someone had the good sense of putting Max under sedation before extracting the information. Or turning of his super suit.

    It looks good, but often times heavy handed, we know he's going to help the woman and his daughter, can we just get to it? And yes, all wealthy people are bad.

    It's a film pretty forgettable, honestly.
     
  19. Kelthaz

    Kelthaz Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah, that about sums up my thoughts on the film.
     
  20. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Well the movie falls down on this point because the only ones we see are a handful who are part of those running things and they're all just sketches of characters. We're told how some supposedly live in Elysium, but we're not really shown. So in fairness we don't really know what all the people are like. We're led to assume everyone is guilty (bad) simply by being on Elysium.