User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 866 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 92 out of 866
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  1. Sep 3, 2013
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Elysium answers the question "What if yuppies colonised Halo?" The residents of the eponymous space station are portrayed as a caricature of the American elite, swanning about their marble mansions and swimming pools in polo shirts and sports coats like they've gone for a weekend on Long Island. They are juxtaposed with citizens of Earth who live in overpopulated, arid slums, working and dying in their droves with no access to the health care and lifestyle enjoyed by the wealthy.

    Elysium seems the latest in a string of post-apocalyptic/science-fiction blockbusters starring A- list actors. Tom Cruise had Oblivion, Will Smith had After Earth, Brad Pitt had World War Z. This time, Matt Damon is the hero. Elysium comes at a difficult time to stand out from the crowd, but this is the sophomore feature of director Neill Blomkamp, who wowed audiences four years ago with District 9.

    The theme again is apartheid like social divide, extrapolated to a scale to reflect the same occurrences in the present day. On one level, this is how citizens of wealthy countries go about their daily lives, often with utter indifference to the suffering of those in poorer parts of the world. This is dystopian fiction in its purest and earliest form. But then perhaps Elysium is not saying anything new.

    More intimately, this is the relationship between classes within less economically developed cities, where the wealthy live in gated communities, guarded by private security firms against the poverty and volatility of the city slums. This is the case in Mexico City, where the LA scenes were filmed, and in Blomkamp's native Johannesburg. Even the wealthy citizens of present day LA are to be found in the gated communities of Beverly Hills, far from the low income urban sprawl.

    Though the divide is of wealth, the classes are represented racially and culturally. Elysium residents are mostly, but not exclusively Caucasian. When they are not speaking English, their language is French, characterising the Elysium citizens by drawing on the perceived high culture of France, which once influenced the elite of the antebellum South.

    On Earth, the dominant cultural identity is Hispanic, a future imagined as a result of unrestricted immigration from Latin America. Society has failed Max Da Costa, played by the capable Matt Damon. He has grown up an orphan, and spent time in prison, and now works in a factory building the police robots that abuse him in the streets.

    The crux of the matter as far as the plot is concerned seems to revolve around access to the nigh on magical properties of the Elysium medical bays, which appear to be located in the homes of every citizen. Whilst this clearly represents an uneven spread of medical resources, it seems that living and working in the slums of Earth would become infinitely more tolerable if the most extreme of ailments, from Leukaemia to radiation sickness, and presumably, the health problems associated with a lifetime of breathing Earth's polluted air, could be cured immediately, and automatically, at the drop of a hat. The device even offers total, instantaneous facial reconstruction, yet these features are largely wasted on the already healthy Elysium population, who treat these resources as glorified tanning beds.

    Elysium takes its name from the ancient Greek afterlife, or at least the part of it traditionally reserved for the righteous and heroic. The citizens of Elysium are anything but. Most of the residents are happy to live their lives without sparing a thought for the Earth-bound masses, but some take it a step further. Secretary of Defence Jessica Delacourt (Jodie Foster) is cold and calculated, and doesn't bat an eyelid when she orders the destruction of two illegal refugee ships, and immediate deportation of the occupants of a third. Whilst she acts outside of protocol, this goes to show what lengths some citizens are capable of going to in the defence of their borders. Soon, she plans to stage a coup against the more moderate President Patel.

    For all Delacourt's coldness, she pales in comparison to the true antagonist; the vicious, psychotic mercenary Kruger, who starts out working as an agent for Elysium. Kruger is played by Blomkamp's collaborator, South African Sharlto Copley, who played the leading man in District 9. Kruger is the polar opposite of bumbling bureaucrat Wikus van der Merwe. Due to his extremity, Kruger is dismissed from employment at the start of the film, but is quickly tasked with hunting Da Costa down on Delacourt's behalf.

    The film does not shy away from the graphic depiction of violence and brutality. The futuristic weapons are more likely to explode their victims than anything else, and this happens more than once. Along with the dirty, dusty streets of LA, this gritty realism contrasts with the futuristic veneer of Elysium, and sets the film apart from other sleek, sci-fi thrillers. As such, Elysium exists as a slightly superior summer blockbuster.
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  2. Sep 21, 2013
    5
    I was disappointed at the end. Even though it was a great sci-fi concept and several unexplored themes; it was offensive that there was an exaggerated racial theme portrayed. I wasn't the only one that felt like that, the rest of my group felt like that too at the end. Matt Damon is a great actor and went to see the movie because of him. His acting role doesn't disappoint, it is justI was disappointed at the end. Even though it was a great sci-fi concept and several unexplored themes; it was offensive that there was an exaggerated racial theme portrayed. I wasn't the only one that felt like that, the rest of my group felt like that too at the end. Matt Damon is a great actor and went to see the movie because of him. His acting role doesn't disappoint, it is just the plot and surrounding events that are disappointing. I did enjoy the ending, but the writers could have elaborated more on what the future held. Clean movie for a family to watch, no nudity, harsh foul language, or extreme violence. Expand
  3. Sep 21, 2013
    5
    District 9 was a masterpiece, Elysium is not!
    This is a big disappointment. Visually it's great but the story is too simple, full of good ideas under-used.
  4. Sep 29, 2013
    10
    When I watched district 9 I knew that neil blomkamp was going to he a good director he takes it owns ideas and makes good movies also the performance of sharlto copley was amazing.
    In this movie (ELYSIUM) he makes a new idea by making the movie and making it well, I know that some of you expected the movie a little bit better but dont let the critics screw your movie.
  5. Mar 24, 2014
    2
    This film is bad. Really bad. The set up is a little interesting, but aside from the first five minutes it fails to deliver. Its not that I dont like action films, or sci-fi films, because I do, its just that this is not a good film. Poorly written, boring and incredibly unoriginal with a score of 6.7 this film is far overrated.
  6. Nov 29, 2013
    6
    this felt like a movie made from a novel, like there was a much more in-depth story but we were only shown a small part of it. Matt Damon was excellent, but everyone else (Jodie Foster especially) seemed like they were playing caricatures of typical movie roles. A good sci-fi flick, but felt like it could have been so much more.h
  7. Dec 25, 2013
    2
    This movie had some entertaining moments but it's basically another propaganda film from the left. If you like Matt Damon and an action-filled movie, it might be worth 2 hours of your life but you can probably do better than this.
  8. Dec 26, 2013
    1
    this movie it is disappointing a lot of bad words and cruel situations didn't like it at all, i was expecting more from Damon why they have to use the f word all the time.
  9. Dec 27, 2013
    1
    Really disappointing to see 2 of my favorite actors (matt and jodie) bomb it with this one. Basically, Occupy Wall Street with space ships. My kids and I sat around all-too-accurately predicting the plot and even dialogue. I love the part where a bunch of random numbers flash on the screen and the character recognizes it as reboot code right.
  10. Dec 27, 2013
    3
    I didn't really care for the movie. It's one of those movies where I kept looking at my watch to estimate how much longer the movie has. The acting was ok, but that's no surprise. It just didn't live up to the hype.
  11. Dec 28, 2013
    6
    Although Elysium is certainly disappointing (due largely to outrageous expectations set by District 9), the film does contain a breathtaking action sequence or two, and a humane and likable Matt Damon in the lead role.
  12. Dec 28, 2013
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. A film I very much looked forward to after really liking district 9. D9 had so much leaning towards apartheid in South Africa and Jodie Foster used the accent rather poorly I might add and this one basically used spanish speaking and Los Angeles as the poor area. Elysium is much like Newport Beach in "The OC" is treated and Malibu in Los Angeles. There are many other opportunities to venture on ideas and they were overlooked. This was free from Redbox so the price was right. The worst part was having to waste the time and gas to return the disc. Expand
  13. Dec 29, 2013
    10
    Elysium is great, great story line, a handfull of seasoned great actors
    Jodie foster, mat damon, woman who played in "i am legend"
    Guy who played in movie "heat"
    I never got bored, always wondering whats next,
    A full value movie for your $
    There is way too many critical nit pickers out there.
    A very good entertaining movie period
  14. Jan 1, 2014
    7
    It isn't as good as District 9, but that doesn't mean it isn't good at all, it's actually a very good action film. The story is pretty good, the performances aren't great, but what shines are the visual effects and just the slow motion moments are exhillerating.

    Elysium gets a 7.3/10
  15. Jan 4, 2014
    9
    Look. Movies like this don't need any of the following qualities to be "good": 1.) Believability (according to who, and who would assume that what they believe could happen should be the same assumption for everyone?), 2.) Realistic action sequences and flawless special effects (I honestly do NOT care about this, unless it is painfully, painfully obvious that the action sequences are notLook. Movies like this don't need any of the following qualities to be "good": 1.) Believability (according to who, and who would assume that what they believe could happen should be the same assumption for everyone?), 2.) Realistic action sequences and flawless special effects (I honestly do NOT care about this, unless it is painfully, painfully obvious that the action sequences are not of a professional quality.), and 3.) Sci Fi can still be "preachy" and still be science fiction. I never felt lectured to. I welcomed ideas of class warfare. Class "warfare" is a healthy thing in society, if it humbles the proud, and helps the more destitute and forgotten in society. I truly, honestly believe that the lack of compassion (or the grave need of it) toward those who are in need, or who are lonely, etc. (be it most any kind of need) is at the heart of this movie. It is about mercy, about the need for freedom and equality, about karma and true justice, and most of all, about selflessness, sacrifice, and pure love. How can ANYONE honestly dislike this movie, other than the brutality and language (and ok, the off-color, suggestive remarks, etc. by Kruger)? This is one of the best movies I have seen in a while. And one more thing. Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror/Supernatural movies, etc. are ALL HIGHLY unrealistic. People need to stop expecting this kind of fiction to behave in the same way as a crime drama, political, etc. thrillers, historical fiction/based on true events, etc., romances, most romantic comedies, and most other kinds of drama, movies, etc. Expand
  16. Jan 11, 2014
    10
    61! The **** is wrong with you guys! You guys probably need to drink more is all.... Try and see the story from each characters point of view... ah screw it you guys are too sober.. or dumb.. I don't care for either one..
  17. Jan 31, 2014
    2
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I would like to point out that, Damon's posture was very similar with his Bourne role. Like the way he carries his backpack. That's bad. And the way the villain died, really that easy? The worst thing was the last part. The characters just do not fit. Expand
  18. Jun 20, 2014
    3
    So I was hyped when I heard the director of District 9 (which in my opinion was a little flawed, but overall a solid 7/10 film) was coming out with a new blockbuster sci-fi film starring Matt Damon. I missed it when it was in Cinemas and watched it recently when it popped up on Sky On Demand.... aaaannnd BOOOY was I surprised. I mean, there was exactly zero chance that I expected it to beSo I was hyped when I heard the director of District 9 (which in my opinion was a little flawed, but overall a solid 7/10 film) was coming out with a new blockbuster sci-fi film starring Matt Damon. I missed it when it was in Cinemas and watched it recently when it popped up on Sky On Demand.... aaaannnd BOOOY was I surprised. I mean, there was exactly zero chance that I expected it to be as bad as it is. Now I realize that I'm either in the minority or the angry half, so let me give evidence and thus reason for my argument against this abominable waste of time.

    First off, the main character is dull, cliche and not a singe bit spectacular in the least! He's a downright **** hole at times and entirely unrelatable, making decisions no one ever in the history of forever would ever EVER make, and the exo-skeleton thing? Boring. The film shoots itself in the foot by never going into the abilities, or even the importance or point of the damned thing. So he rips a car door off and he punched someone really hard that one time... great, spectacular, real memorable stuff guys.

    The story and narrative is an absolute mess and is rushed beyond belief. For a film that's an hour and forty minutes it flew by. It's such a scrambled disaster that I cannot decide if it just skips from Beginning to End with no Middle, or whether or not it has a Beginning in the first place. The narrative just drags the audience along, like it's mocking you. I could almost hear it shouting: "Ok, here we go, Main Character? Check. Pointless love interest? Check. Hilariously pathetic Villain played by the Main character from that film before this one that everyone will be comparing this film to? Check. Alright, we're ready, only an hour and forty minutes, go go go! " It's just loathsome.

    The settings themselves are soooooo uninspired. It's just Poor Earth and Rich Life-sustaining Satellite. Seriously!? That's it? Where's the damn variety? You mean to tell me that humanity just splits in two? Life is that simple huh? A and B? Black and White!? What a joke. The Elysium itself looks cool from far away shots, but once I saw its surface I became enraged . Every house, every swimming pool, every golf course, every PERSON. It all looks the same. And the Rich people are pathetic and laughably designed. They're just your posh stuck-up, head in the clouds stereotypes. And they all speak French. And treat Robots with discrimination. HOW ORIGINAL. NEVER SAW THAT ONE COMING, AWARD-WINNING STUFF. Also, the movie goes into the fact that Elysium was created because Earth was too over-populated and economies were collapsing... so you mean to tell me that instead of using this amazing, ultra-super-duper technology, that can build huge Earth-orbiting worlds that can preserve human life in the wealthiest way possible, instead of using it to save lives or build new countries or anything charitable, no instead someone with the mind similar to that of Hitler thought they'd take being a dick to the next level and flee the Human Race's problems. Who came up with that idea? Doctor Eggman? I mean this kind of selfishness and just outright evil does not and just would not exist. It just completely goes against human nature, ESPECIALLY in today's culture. It's so unrealistic relative to our world that it's unbelievable... and not in the good way.

    The ONLY good parts are the fight scenes which, where they surprisingly lack in quantity, make up for it in quality. The main villain is another horrendously laughable mockery. I guess they were supposed to make him a beefy psychopath, but he makes no sense (I didn't think it was possible to make no sense with making a nonsensical character, but apparently this movie somehow did it) and his voice is hilarious and unintentionally inhuman. While watching this it was the first time I've ever burst out loud laughing at an intentionally serious villain. Needless to say, he's just not threatening in the slightest, but the fight scene between him and Damon (can't remember main character's name, ain't that a good sign?) are futuristically stylized and fun to behold.

    In conclusion, some of the designs are kinda neat and the few futuristic fight scenes are cool looking, but a Science Fiction film should not and basically cannot rely on Action to carry itself. Crappy narrative with uninspired settings and characters cannot work when paired with infrequent action scenes. Elysium is unmemorable, downright laughable at times, shameful in its depiction of a realistic future, boring, cliche and brings absolutely nothing new to the table. The only people I would recommend this to would be Nazis.
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  19. Jun 17, 2014
    3
    If you can buy into the premise that the rich on "Elysium" engage in inequality simply for inequality's sake, then you might be entertained... I wasn't. The only entertaining part of this movie is his conversation with the automated police officer (and you can see that in an extended online preview). SPOILERS**** Really, the entire premise of this movie is basically that those on "Elysium"If you can buy into the premise that the rich on "Elysium" engage in inequality simply for inequality's sake, then you might be entertained... I wasn't. The only entertaining part of this movie is his conversation with the automated police officer (and you can see that in an extended online preview). SPOILERS**** Really, the entire premise of this movie is basically that those on "Elysium" withhold life saving machine pods from the people of Earth... just because. Seriously, there isn't an explanation for this, they just horde them. In the end, they simply send a bunch of these pods down and "equality" reigns again. Expand
  20. Dec 22, 2014
    8
    In 2009, new up and coming film maker Neill Blomkamp wrote and directed 'District 9', arguably one of the best science fiction films of the last decade. Elysium is a very good hard 'R' action movie packed with Mech suits, badass guns like the modded Ak-47 blowing apart robots with explosive bullets and the 'Chemrail' that literally tears apart it's target, when the villains face gets blownIn 2009, new up and coming film maker Neill Blomkamp wrote and directed 'District 9', arguably one of the best science fiction films of the last decade. Elysium is a very good hard 'R' action movie packed with Mech suits, badass guns like the modded Ak-47 blowing apart robots with explosive bullets and the 'Chemrail' that literally tears apart it's target, when the villains face gets blown off by a grenade you get the idea that theres some good stuff in here. Matt Damon as the main character 'Max' is good but every time sharlto Copley shows up on screen as the villain 'Kruger', he completely chews the scenery along with a thick South African accent and an assortment of tricks (or bombs) up his sleeve to take down his targets. Neill Blomkamp shows once again that he can make a thrilling visual treat packed with all sorts of exciting stuff. Expand
  21. Nov 23, 2014
    6
    Elysium was a bit of a disappointment. The story could have been further developed and become better. It seemed like there wasn't enough conflict in it. Its like it was only half finished.
  22. Oct 12, 2014
    9
    Bom elenco, orgulhoso dos atores brasileiros que estiveram presentes, a história vai crescendo e ficando melhor durante o filme, claro que como qualquer outro algumas partes decaem mas nada que atrapalhe o ápice do filme no final.
  23. Nov 8, 2014
    8
    Rich Republicans and Their Lackeys Lost In Space! Elysium is the logical conclusion of a Survival-of-the-Fittest philosophy currently espoused by many Republicans, Tea Party fanatics and the apolitical, super rich. Greed and selfishness is the Law-of-the-Land in Elysium! Don't bother healing the critically ill on Earth with amazing life saving technology. If the sick are not one of theRich Republicans and Their Lackeys Lost In Space! Elysium is the logical conclusion of a Survival-of-the-Fittest philosophy currently espoused by many Republicans, Tea Party fanatics and the apolitical, super rich. Greed and selfishness is the Law-of-the-Land in Elysium! Don't bother healing the critically ill on Earth with amazing life saving technology. If the sick are not one of the rich and powerful living aboard the giant ocean-liner-in-space then let 'em drop dead in the streets! This is a place where Ayn Rand would be King!

    Elysium is the ultimate gated community! A wet dream for any rich and powerful person who sees the rest of us as a threat. The corporations and their lackeys in government, the courts and the press literally turn the earth into one giant cesspool and then they get to escape to a corporate utopia in outer space! All I can say is: God help us all!

    Films like Elysium are a wake-up call to help prevent what might actually happens someday if the course the vast majority of the world is on is not changed!
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  24. May 17, 2015
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Elysium is a tour de force of science fiction and dazzling action. Matt Damon gives an engaging performance as a man who is working and living on a ruined earth. He wants to live on Elysium but Elysium is only reserved for the wealthy. He isn't wealthy and he is an ex convict yearning for a better life. He has an accident at work and his body is bombarded with radiation. He has only days to live and he decides to go to a friend for help. His friend gives him a mission to shut down Elysium's system. He tells him that if he can get vital codes extracted from this guy's mind and brought back to him he will give him passage to Elysium. The coolest part of this movie is that Matt Damon sacrifices himself to save everyone on earth. In the end, everyone gets to live on Elysium and nobody has to suffer anymore. This is one of the smartest science fiction thrillers I have seen in years. Expand
  25. May 23, 2015
    7
    Elysium is a solid sci-fi action movie with some rogh edges. The action is always intense and the CGI is fantastic. It's also a quite creative movie (I like the exo-suit like things) that has good acting. I was still a bit disappoited with it. I'm not sure how I expected it to be better (meaning in what ways) but it just isn't quite as good as it looks, I guess. I recommend it to allElysium is a solid sci-fi action movie with some rogh edges. The action is always intense and the CGI is fantastic. It's also a quite creative movie (I like the exo-suit like things) that has good acting. I was still a bit disappoited with it. I'm not sure how I expected it to be better (meaning in what ways) but it just isn't quite as good as it looks, I guess. I recommend it to all sci-fi action fans, just not strongly. Expand
Metascore
61

Generally favorable reviews - based on 47 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 47
  2. Negative: 4 out of 47
  1. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Aug 22, 2013
    60
    Nothing in the movie matches the fascination of its premise and its opening 10 minutes: the undisturbed status quo is mesmeric. Once the narrative grinds into gear, however, the film's distinctive quality is lost.
  2. Reviewed by: Robbie Collin
    Aug 22, 2013
    80
    In lesser hands, Elysium might have played like a Lib Dem manifesto with extra spaceships, but the South African filmmaker wants to explore ideas, not wave placards, and whether or not you agree with the film’s politics, the fire in its belly is catching.
  3. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Aug 9, 2013
    58
    Blomkamp overdoes even his best effects. (I would have welcomed more vistas of Elysium to break up the grungefest.) If Elysium is an example of how recession-era Hollywood intends to dramatize the rift between the haves and the have-nots, let’s hope the studios don’t also bring back Smell-O-Rama.