Generally favorable reviews - based on 47 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 739 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: In the year 2154, the very wealthy live on a man-made space station called Elysium while the rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth. The only man with the chance to bring equality to these worlds is Max, an ordinary guy in desperate need to get to Elysium. With his life hanging in the balance, he reluctantly takes on a dangerous mission that could save his life and the lives of millions on Earth. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 47
  2. Negative: 4 out of 47
  1. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Aug 8, 2013
    Damon’s everyman workhorse is tragically sympathetic, plodding ahead against all odds. Copley is brilliant as the sadistic villain. Foster is … well, you gotta see it to believe it. In the meantime, you’ll be treated to one of the most entertaining action films of the year.
  2. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Aug 5, 2013
    At last, a good big film. The legacy of the summer, thus far, has been jetsam: moribund movies that lie there, bloated and beached, gasping to break even. But here is something angry and alive: Elysium.
  3. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Aug 8, 2013
    Decidedly more thought-provoking than most big-studio summer fare.
  4. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Aug 8, 2013
    A high-low tension runs through Elysium, not only in the narrative itself, but in Blomkamp’s own cinematic language, which can be lofty one moment and gleefully pulpy the next.
  5. Reviewed by: Tom Huddleston
    Aug 8, 2013
    This is a messy, poorly structured film, riddled with plot holes and lacking any kind of satisfying conclusion.
  6. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Aug 6, 2013
    Granted, Elysium could be more clever as it goes about its business. This is smart sci-fi, but it's not as smart as it could have been -- or as many "District 9" fans were probably hoping it would be.
  7. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Aug 8, 2013
    The result is a grim and predictable adventure saga that is not nimble but leaden. Dystopia has rarely been so dysto-pointing.

See all 47 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 47 out of 212
  1. Aug 9, 2013
    Just caught the matinee and feel a little guilty this one deserved a full price! No soph0more slump for Blomkamp I loved District 9 this to me even surpasses it.We get developed characters that we actually care about the performances by all were stellar,especially Damon as the guy we can relate to and Copley in a scene chewing performance delivering one of the best villains in recent memory,Foster was the too as the cutthroat politician .Blomkamp has balls and his vision of two separate societies one of the diseased, overpopulated planet and Elysium where the rich flourish disease free was richly brought to life truly a beautiful the effects by Weca are amazing! I bought in to this future world and the plot actually had a purpose with something to say about our modern society while still being balls to the wall entertaining and affecting its audience. Blomkamp delivers another classic go check it out i can't recommend enough Expand
  2. Aug 27, 2013
    I was not permitted to rate this film; rather, when I DID rate it "3" and pressed "submit", it automatically rated it a "9". So now I'm rating it a ONE, regardless of what they try force me to rate it. THIS FILM IS RATED "ONE", NOT "NINE; ONE. Expand
  3. Sep 4, 2013
    In Greek mythology, the Elysian Fields are the blissful utopia where all good souls will come to rest. In this film, Elysium is a utopia that exists side by side with a wretched dystopia, which is our very own planet Earth. Earth is overrun with poverty, disease, and decay, a place where a preponderance of visible minorities hold miserable jobs and lead miserable lives. Matt Damon as Max is a poor orphan who grows up on Earth to become a reformed car thief working in an unsafe factory, and he longs to take his childhood girlfriend to Elysium.

    Because the planet got so polluted and run down by the year 2154, the filthy rich evacuated to a giant space station that exists just outside the atmosphere, clearly visible from Earth, in the shape of a round wheel that is a country in itself. It has its own president, President Patel, apparently the only non-Caucasian who has made it to Paradise, and every citizen of Elysium lives in the lap of luxury with beautiful homes, exotic gardens, sumptuous meals, and clean air. Every household is waited on by obedient robots, and every household contains a med bay, which is an enclosed box with a plastic lid where a sick person lies down, gets diagnosed by a computer program, and then is instantly cured of every affliction, disease, and malady that can possibly beset humankind. The med bay not only cures, it grants immortality, barring an accident or other calamity. Desperate, downtrodden, and ill citizens of Earth try to make illegal runs to Elysium in outdated space shuttles, just to gain access to a med bay.

    Playing the role of cold-blooded Secretary of Defense Delacourt, Jodie Foster is horrified by President Patel (Faran Tahir), who has an interest in human rights, even though he does not exactly go over the top with his philosophical beliefs, given that he has no interest in improving the lot of the masses back on Earth. Some Elysians visit Earth for business reasons, and John Carlyle (William Fichtner), is the CEO of an exploitative company that treats employees like slaves; as a result, Carlyle has to spend quite a bit of time back on the polluted planet. Foster's Secretary of Defense is cruelly ambitious, and she wants to stage a coup to overthrow President Patel and make herself president. For that she needs Carlyle to write a computer program that will topple the present regime of Elysium by resetting the country's entire computer system with new instructions.

    Since this is science fiction, and rather engaging science fiction at that, much can be forgiven in terms of some of the logistical details. For example, when a society is as technically advanced as Elysium, will the Secretary of Defense really get her text messages on a tiny screen on her watch? Even Sean Connery's Bond could have done better than that. And when the evil John Carlyle writes the ultimate computer program that will shut down Elysium and put Delacourt in power, would he really be writing the program in assembler language in the year 2154? I could have sworn I saw the assembler language STO command (for storing numerical values in registers) rolling by on Carlyle's computer screen. And does Delacourt speak fluent French because it is a pretentious skill for the rich or because Jodie Foster graduated from a French lycee in Los Angeles?

    But the movie is carried by Matt Damon, who does not disappoint. As Max, he is strong but tender, courageous but meek, and heroic but timid. He protects the girlfriend he's been true to since childhood. But more significantly, he seeks a proper distribution of income so that the repressed citizens of Earth can enjoy the same rights, opportunities, health benefits, and the blessed serenity of the rich and overprivileged dolts who are the good citizens of Elysium. It is the Day of the Revolution.

    Although the plot is somewhat predictable and a little too violent, this movie gets extra points for being philosophically sound.
  4. Aug 15, 2013
    I thought the movie was pretty decent and enjoyable. Would I rush to the store and buy this when it comes out on DVD/Blue Ray.. nope. The movie is something like it could actually happen in our near future and it builds up like the movie Area 51 did. Robot scenes were really cool and how they did the space station was pretty crafty, and don't get me wrong! This would be a super amazing rental, but you probably won't be watching this more than once or twice. Expand
  5. Aug 15, 2013
    If you're walking into the theater expecting a district 9, please walk the opposite direction. D9 does a much better job telling you the same exact theme and message. That being said Elysium still has entertainment value and the technology featured throughout the movie is a hot slice of good old science fiction pie. If anything the surroundings and settings served more of a character than the protagonists themselves. At a point I found myself caring more about the side characters such as Spider than I did about Max (Damon). I felt Max was simply the vehicle taking me through the plot, except when he gets a nice go-pro angle camera and tears stuff up with his exo-suit. It feels incredibly unrealistic though that an everyday man could all of a sudden have the fighting experience to take on spec ops soldiers just because he has an exo suit. I won't go into detail but with the way I see it Kruger (Copley) not only steals the show, but by all logical means should have complete tactical supremacy against any opponent. So you know what, I take back what I said earlier. If you expect to see D9 (aka Copley being a thug) then this movie IS for you, because lets be honest there's merit in rooting for the bad guys. Expand
  6. Aug 25, 2013
    The film really failed to deliver.
    Now, I was absolutely fascinated with Blomkamp's first issue. It was original it made me think and it
    wasn't pretentious in my experience everything a good SF should have.
    Maybe my expectations of his 2nd feature film would have been lower if it was a different genre. But the reality is that I expected a movie of (at least) the same quality.

    And here is where the problems start. Elysium is lower quality in every respect. The script is full of holes and a lot of the story relies on the fact that the viewer will just believe in what (s)he is seeing. A blatant example without giving too much of the plot a character writes a code that would allow Elysium to reset and it is visually presented as a very complex thing yet every Harry, Dick and Tom gets it immediately after seeing it for maybe 2 seconds. Now, either everyone is super intelligent or the code is too simple, and if the latter is the case it makes you wonder how no one made it earlier.

    As for the cast, Jodie Fosters starts fabulously but then she becomes too wooden and slight out of sync. Matt Damon does what he can but he is more believable as a selfish human trying to save himself then the accidental hero he becomes at the end of the film. Diego Luna really masters his minute role. And that's another thing, none of the characters has been fully developed. They are just sketches and as the film is almost 120 minutes long one would hope that that is enough time to provide us with a full picture. Unfortunately not so.

    Finally it seems to me that if they invested a little bit more time and attention to the story, regarding both the details and the background, the film would have been a solid piece of entertainment.
  7. Dec 17, 2013
    This movie criticises current world politics and society on such blatant level that it makes me puke. Like I am some kind of ignorant retard who doesnt know that children in Africa don't receive the same medical treatments as in western world...Oh well, besides, the director still lives mentally in the pre Nelson Mandela and never learned that medics have improved on a huge scale the last years in Africa. Expand

See all 212 User Reviews