'Elysium' brings science fiction back to its roots
Elysium returns to the roots of science fiction with its social commentary. Some may see it as an indictment of the immigration system, but its overarching values are how the rich see the poor and what health care means to people in different echelons.
Set in 2159, Matt Damon plays Max who is an orphan living on the planet Earth which has been reduced to a polluted, overpopulated lower class housing unit. After exposure to radiation that will kill him in five days, he decides that his only opportunity to live is to escape to the space station Elysium.
Like the Elysian Fields in Greek mythology, Elysium is the place where all of the rich people live. Their health care is so advanced that they never grow old as their cells are regenerated on an atomic level.
This is the home of Jodie Foster’s character the Defense Secretary of Elysium. Foster’s Delacourt has a speech affectation that sounds like she is constantly trying to get an automatic phone answering system to understand what she is saying – long pauses amidst not quite perfectly pronounced words. It makes her more robot than human.
While Foster’s vocal affectation may seem to be a mistake, it may also represent her inability to treat people like people. She disdains the president of the space station as soft and spits on anyone illegal.
Even with the graphic violence – one scene was so graphic that members of the audience laughed – Elysium is exactly what science fiction should be. It holds a mirror up to modern society and asks if we are willing to live with what we have created.
The film may make you uncomfortable if you choose to confront the issues that it raises. Elysium urges you to put down the popcorn and help heal people with the wealth that the world has accumulated and given to a few.
Here is Romney's Review of Elysium, a cerebral, social sci-fi movie.