First Two Reviews of Neill Blomkamp's 'Elysium' Praise Droids & CGI
by Alex Billington
July 10, 2013
So how is it? "Elysium is definitely everything you are hoping for. It's an incredible sci-fi adventure! The most astonishing was the CGI that didn't look like CGI. You really thought it was the real thing." Although we fully expected Neill Blomkamp's District 9 follow-up Elysium to premiere at the San Diego Comic-Con this year, I confirmed with Sony that it will be skipping the Con entirely. No premiere, no footage, nothing. So when will they let the cat out of the bag on this one? We're not sure. The good news - we can still be the first to bring you the very first reviews from a secret screening that took place in Europe a few weeks back.
Two regular readers of FirstShowing based in Europe recently had the chance to see the finished version of Elysium and they each sent me their take on the sci-fi movie (watch the latest trailer). The first two reviews:
First of all I have been looking forward to his sci-fi adventure so much. I’ve seen everything so far, trailers, pictures and I have been reading every article about it. So when I got the chance to finally see it I almost freaked out. I tried to keep my expectations down, but hey it’s Blomkamp, the guy who brought us District 9. Loved that movie if you haven’t already figured that out. I was pretty excited when the movie finally started. Would be just good or even better? I was just about to find out!
Two hours later the screening was over I just tried to return to reality. I’ve had been to a trip to Blomkamp's Elysium and that awesome feeling I had wouldn’t go away. I rarely react like this, but Elysium was still inside of me. That was a trip you are dreaming to make. Awesome isn’t word enough to describe it. It’s an incredible sci-fi adventure that will be a part of you till you die.
There are many things that really look incredible, but the CGI is amazing. We all have seen what CGI usually look like, like a video sequence from a game. No matter if it’s Man of Steel, The Avengers or any other action movie. It’s cool, but still you aren’t convinced because you can see it’s CGI. But Blomkamp managed to believe that we were on Elysium and boy, I really wanted to take the next space shuttle there. Then you realize, Elysium doesn’t exist. Damn you Blomkamp! I really wanted to make that trip.
Been a long time since I felt this was. I walked around with a grin in my face and I bet people wondered what was wrong with me. If someone had asked, I would say, Blomkamp happened to me! Don’t miss it when it comes out. You won’t regret it. 10/10
It is the sequel you'd expect after the success of Neill Blomkamp's District 9. Elysium is bigger in budget and scale, and less original and personal. But this science fiction story is still a cool and believable one, with a strong cast and a great work on the special effects. The story follows Matt Damon's Max, one of all the poor and hard-working men on Earth, who has always dreamt of a life on Elysium. It's way too expensive, but after an accident at work leaving him with less than a week to live, he has nothing left to lose but to try and fight his way up there.
You see, the richest people have left the over-populated and over-polluted Earth for a luxurious space station called Elysium. And besides having endless cocktail parties and games of golf, everyone also has a medical pod that can heal anyone. How convenient! But there is some trouble even in paradise. Jodie Foster plays a brilliant power woman who wants to take control of Elysium, and a few twists and turns later it seems that Max, the illegal immigrant, might be her only hope. And I haven't even mentioned Sharlto Copley's character, the frightening Terminator-type character who easily could have had more screen time.
Unfortunately, I had some issues with District 9 and I have the same issues with Elysium. The story isn't quite enough to fill out the entire 2 hours. While the first half of the movie is very promising, the second half gets lost in quite boring fights and shoot-outs, all leading up to a finale with few surprises. There is also at least one flashback too much. The scenes from little Max's childhood are just too cheesy for this otherwise smart sci-fi flick.
But if you loved District 9 then Elysium is probably your thing too. It is an exciting science fiction story where the technology nicely blends into the believable world(s), just like we've seen in Looper or Blomkamp's directorial debut. Remember how the aliens in Johannesburg never looked like CGI creations? There are some pretty cool guardian androids here looking just as realistic. 7/10