Now that Its been a few weeks since I’ve seen Elysium, and I really need to update my site anyways, I figured I’d post my thoughts on Neil Blomkamps latest Sci Fi movie.
I guess I should say right off the bat, I had super high expectations for this film. That probably does skew my view of the film to a degree, but honestly, I’m really tired of being apologetic over my disappointment on a movie that failed to move me. This year has been a barren wasteland of movies that have failed to succeed in accomplishing the simple act of moving the viewer in an emotional way, or linger in your mind with thought proactive subject matter. It’s been hours upon hours of amazing scenery and mindless explosions. While Elysuim definitely comes closest to actually being a good movie in a sea of visual tech demos disguised as movies, it’s still not close enough to being a great story. Something I’d imagine what people go to the movies to see normally right? Games can get away with having subpar stories because the hook is the interactivity. Movies don’t have that freedom. Its their job to tell a fucking good story.
By now everyone should know how Elysium goes. It’s the future, and the world is broken up into two classes. The super rich and elite which live on a giant space station that resembles the habitat from the original Halo game ring worlds,and then there’s the poor who live on earth . Stranded on a decaying planet the poor have become the cheap labor force for the elite.,creating robots and health bays which can cure a person of all ills. Something the elite have full access to while the poor suffer from easily curable diseases.
That theme pretty much plays itself out throughout the movie without really diverting from it, so by hour 2, its been beaten into your head over and over. The characters are all incredibly flat and uninteresting. The snobbish elite stay snobbish and elite, and the poor are upset and demand access to proper medical care. They risk life and limb to get their sick ones onto Elysium in order to cure them. Its all they really care about. For me it would’ve been all the sushi and mimosas all the rich seem to be always having.. Anyway, the few rebels want justice, freedom, and equality, but it doesn’t get much more complex than that. Enter Max, played by Matt Damion. Ex-car theif, ex-asshole trying to do the right thing by just working at a local robot factory and keeping his head down. All his old thug buddies are still up to their old tricks and try to convince him to work on ‘one more heist” which he ignores. That changes when he gets radiation on him, and his only hope is now one of them sick bays on Elysium. So Matt goes back into full asshole mode, buddies up with other assholes and makes a deal to steal data from a major executive in order to get a ticket to Elysium (illegally). Things gets worse and more complicated than that, but it all eventually comes together in a Big Exo-suit battle between Damon, and Sharlto Copley as ‘Kruger”, the Ex military badass assigned to take Damon down. Just to say a few things about Sharlto, god can this guy act. He really just chews every scene he’s in,(in a good way). Its hard to believe he was just a friend and a producer of Blomkamps original short movie “Alive in Joburg“ His portrayal of Wikus in district 9 was incredible. I can’t wait to see what else this guy does.
So back to the movie, which goes along at a pretty predictable pace. The story attempts to get slightly more complex with an old love interest introduced . This Love interest has a kid with some other dude, and this kid is sick, so Max is feeling the extra burden of not only saving himself but trying to help out some old girlfriend who has a sick child from some other dude. Yah thats pretty believable…Max finally get’s on Elysium, but finds out the data he agreed to steal is encrypted , and now he has to decide if de-crypting it and saving not just the child but the rest of the planet, or die. His buddy didnt have the balls to do it so he hands over the keyboard to Max, who enters Alt-Ctrl-dEL, and ends the movie.
And that’s pretty much it. The movie plays out like very flat cut-scenes from a video game you can’t play. No one , and I mean no one, has any layer of depth to them whatsoever. Max had a one track mind on going to Elysium, and his buddies are all bout stealing stuff and freedom, Kruger was always awesome all the time. .. Ok sure Max does make the ultimate sacrifice at the end which ends up opening Elysium to the poor etc, but his character wasn’t subjected to enough foreshadowing to warrant that. I mean sure, he had a very tiny tender moment with his ex girlfriends kid, but it just wasn’t enough. Ironically for as a predictable movie as this one, its pretty funny Im crying out for some foreshadowing, but really there isn’t enough character building here for me to care for anyone. When Sharlto played Wikus in District 9, he was an asshole to the aliens. He started out as this very condescending twit who was forced into a situation he didn’t want to be in, and then finally succumbed to it all and gave up his window for freedom to help save two aliens he had grown with.. There is no growing here with Max in Elysium, its all just implied. Which as been a very gross trend in movies lately, and frankly I’m getting sick and tired of that.
Some humble suggestions that I feel would’ve made the movie more interesting without changing the actual story.
1) Ditch Matt Damon.. He’s an old goodie-goodie. I never believed he was this ex-con punk. He stood out in a his group of young latino buddies as the old white guy.
He wasn’t the right person to play max. I read somewhere that Eminem, was first approached for the role. That wouldve been perfect, Eminem has just that right amount of brooding white boy punk attitude that wouldve made this ex car theif more believable. Not to mention he would have not looked a decade or more older than his supposed buddies.
2) Drag out that child moment. When max is getting his arm wrapped up by the child, we as the audience were supposed to feel something,but its cut incredibly short. She needed to be more in the story, they needed to develop a connection in order to give Max a real reason to sacrifice. Otherwise why would I give a fuck about someone elses kid? I didn’t care if she died. So make me care.
3)Jodie Foster played some kind of defense administrator for Elysium, she was in charge of its security and she had no problem shooting down illegal immigrants like a game of COD. But why.. There’s a bit at the end where she had her throat slit and as she gagged on her own shit, the love interest of max, who was also a doctor,(and happened to be Spanish) attempted to help her, she refused the help, garbled something like “no thank you” or something and died. So was she power hungry? Did she really have this innate need to keep Elysium safe? Or was she flat out racist? I really still wasn’t sure. There’s a scene where a robot server offers her some sushi and mimosas or whatever and she shoos it away.That scene would’ve nailed home her racism ( if she was anyway) had it been a Spanish servant. Either way I didn’t get her angle , and if her angle was racial purity or SOMETHING, it would’ve made her way more interesting.
4)Kruger’s about face….(pun intended).. So after Kruger gets his face blown away and reconstructed, (for some reason )he’s gets pretty tired of Jodie Fosters barking and slices her shit. Why? why then, why now, Shes been an asshole to him for much worse, and now all of a sudden he was done with it? How about this. Kruger was pretty filthy through out the movie, but after his face was reconstructed and he was all clean and beautiful he seemed super annoyed.. Why not run with that? how about if Kruger had some really deep facial scars. Scars he was proud of, and there were moments where he revealed in each scar, and maybe told stories on how he got them. Then when his faces is reconstructed- they are all taken away, and what he considers his trophies are gone. Wouldn’t that make him snap more than say, Jodie Foster trying to act tough?
but yah- what am I thinking,
Character development and Sci-Fi movies don’t go hand in hand these days… I read somewhere that Blomkamp hates when people refer to Elysium as a Sci Fi movie. You know because its really a deep narrative , with rich characters, delivering a thought provoking message…. Pffft its a Sci-Fi movie dude, go sit over there next to Micheal Bay.
After a successful run on the opencommonly put together by Nick Liow, the assets for the flash game Da Pink Knight is now available for download and for use with your games right now.
while you can get the flash assets at http://open.commonly.cc/ Im making the time to try and convert as many of the assets from each game into PNG file for better compatability, but I will get there.
You can grab the flash assets along with the sprited PNG files for the character of the game on opengameart.og
click the image. and thanks again to every one that contributed. I will spriting the remaining 2 games as soon as I can.
So I’ve released assets from 3 older games in to the “open Game art bundle” That Nutcasenightmare put together as well as contributed to. Along with other cool artists and musicans like:
Essentially after the bundle hits its goal, the assets are available to the public. I think its a pretty great idea. Check out the sites intro video
then go to the site