I wanted to see this movie because it had been written and directed by Neill Blomkamp, the same writer and director who made “District 9.” I enjoyed “District 9,” not because it was a great film, but because it was original. At no point in the story did I know what to expect or who was going to survive. The actors were not famous. In fact, for actors, they were kind of ugly, and that made them credible. And the story was built on a tough universal truth that we often neglect: Many of our society’s problems have no solution, not just no easy solution, but no solution at all. All we can do is make miserable compromises that are unfair and unsatisfactory.
So with the hope that “Elysium” would be another thoughtful original, we piled into the car and set out for the new Xscape movie theater in Brandywine. I was sorely disappointed. (And at $10 a ticket, it was an expensive disappointment.) My menfolk were not so disappointed. They enjoyed the mindless blasting and thought I was too tough in my assessment. But they did laugh with me at my criticism. As usual, my arguments were irrefutable.
“Elysium” is a boring, blow-em-away formula film. The story illuminates the universal truth (sarcasm alert) that rich people are bad and poor people are good. It also highlights the political truth (sarcasm alert) that fabulous universal healthcare is easy to provide. All we have to do is push a button, and fabulous free healthcare for all will appear. And the only reason we haven’t pushed the button is that mean rich people don’t want us to.
The characters in this movie are as thin as paper. I asked my young companions to tell me about the leading lady. One immediately answered, “She’s a b—-.” Of course. But where is she from? What does she want and why? Whom does she love? What does she fear? They began to laugh because they could see my point.
And finally, I dislike watching big name celebrities in movies. I find it distracting. I kept thinking about how old Jodie Foster looks. Yeah, she looks great, but I remember her as a child. And I clearly remember her as Clarice in “The Silence of the Lambs.” How can I slip into the world of the current movie when the famous faces keep drawing me back to other stories?