Elysium: Um…. 2 stars

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ElysiumSo, I’ve watched The Elysium this weekend. And results are rather mixed.

I mean it’s a nice action movie with standard “self-sacrifice” and “for the greater good” and “think of the children” message (that’s probably why the score is so high in Rotten Tomatoes — unless you have self-sacrifice themes you’re doomed to be labeled as a mindless flick). And I guess if you like to turn off your brain while watching the movie, it’s fine. However if you think just a bit you run into a heap of troubles. Spoilers ahead.

So, they have successfully moved Canada into the space and it’s ruled by Captain Robau from Star Trek, all while the secretary of defense is plotting to overthrow the power. There are so many things wrong that it’s not even funny.

– Earth is “overpopulated” (and diseased, blah blah blah) yet people have a “luxury” of living in a single-story slum huts. Well, luxury is relative, because we’re told about the “overpopulated” part. I’d expect Judge Dredd style skyscraper communities, hundreds of stories, tons of people living in tiny places. Because of, you know, space shortage. But no, slums it is. Up to the point of having graffiti in your house. Really?

– Are droids autonomous or controlled by humans? If autonomous, are they programmed to be a-holes and breaking arms?

– Fancy healing beds for the Evil Rich seem to require an ugly tattoo for “citizenship confirmation”. Yet later the bed can detect who is in it without a tattoo, and even supplies a name. Magic. Hm…

– Nevertheless Earth seems to be manufacturing droids for… what? Better control of Earth? Confused. Though droid manufacturing theme seems to be popular lately (Total Recall and all).

– Evil company has installed “biological tissue” sensor of sorts in the old and horribly ineffective factory chamber so it can flash a warning message for the Bad Guy instead of stopping the process. Why did they bother?

– Matt Damon is capable of detecting of lethal dose of radiation. Also it looks like heated shimmering air 😛

– Factory has a robot for “biohazard” while they only seem to be dealing with radiation. Not the same. Maybe they re-use robots?

– Magical pills Matt Damon gets keep him from dying for 5 days. After day two he looks fresh and totally non-dying. I guess magical pill is magical.

Canadian Space Station Elysium has no defenses whatsoever, given that illegal medical immigrant smuggler’s ships are shot down from the Earth. By a “sleeper agent”. They never figured out that someone might simply decide to crash a ship into the station out of spite?

– Matt Damon survives neuro-implantation done in a dirty kitchen, and grafting of exoskeleton suit by the means that require a bone saw and screwing parts directly into bones with minimal recovery time. While dying from radiation poisoning. Oh and the suit is bolted onto his t-shirt. Riiiight.

– Evil Plant Boss is capable of writing a patch for Elysium’s computer systems to do anything. Why not turn himself a president? Give his company billions of dollars? Prevent himself from being sent to this horrible Earth planet wasting time surrounded by lowly humans he so despises? Or he didn’t think about it until Jodie Foster pointed the obvious? Also he didn’t write a program to do what Jodie asked for — change the name of the President, but instead put a general “do whatever you want, just type it right here” thing there (changing, say, results of the elections, seem to never cross their minds). Also did I see Intel Assembly language?

– Super brain implant protection system doesn’t seem to prevent anyone from copying the data. Soooo… not much of a protection right? (catch some hapless human, sync with data source, download data with dire consequences for the hapless human?) Although it does give Matt Damon a headache, Johnny Mnemonic style.

– Droids don’t do anything to potential criminals until Evil Boss asks them to. And that includes vague “just want them dead” type of order. I guess his version of droids wasn’t very touchy about human life, unlike those on the station.

– Jodie Foster is capable of shutting down the whole Los Angeles traffic which jams everything that smuggler does. Yet she doesn’t use that all the time because… lots of traffic from space station? How about jamming everything except for short time periods when shuttles fly. Randomly.

– Super nurse Alice Braga is capable of stopping internal bleeding from what looks like a liver area knife wound by just using a gauze pad. I guess that stint in Repo Men really helped.

– Evil Mercenary is capable of finding exactly one out of a dozen homes where Matt Damon could have been on the first try. Lucky. Even with the flying roomba robot thingie.

– Mercenary ship can scan people somehow by using… facial recognition? What if he’s turn the other way? Oh, I guess they’ve used that tracking ankle bracelet Matt had. Or did that get cut off during surgery? We never see how he ditched it. Nevertheless, system’s big “suspect is there” square gets dismissed as “only pigs”. I guess computer always gets jammed by images of pigs.

– Exploding a grenade in closed quarters doesn’t kill everyone from shrapnel, but conveniently blows off Mercenary’s face. He survives that and is also capable of getting similar kinda of exoskeleton suite with neural implant in a record time.

– Jodie Foster suddenly loses will to live after being stabbed in the neck by the mercenary. I guess she read the rest of the first revision of the script and quickly changed her mind 😛 Otherwise it doesn’t make sense. She was willing to go for a coup but instead gave up half way through. Just when Super Nurse was about to use magical gauze pad on her neck.

– Fight on a bridge was cool, though kinda weird with whole “let me fasten myself to you with long strong cable and engage a grenade” thing.

– Only mercenary seems to know what’s going on. Security forces of the station are disorganized to the max. Yet when Matt Damon and a hacker get into the control center, the President, who was being whisked away to the undisclosed secure location suddenly returns with a team of ninjas. Do they know what the hacker was about to do? How? What was Captain Robau going to do that his security ninjas couldn’t do without him? Scream at intruders? Also, was there no back-up for the control center, blown up by the mercenary?

– Child being in a coma never prevented anyone from giving a last speech. Even if the final decision by character was to sacrifice himself for the sake of that child. While door is being forcibly opened. Did the hacker tell him rebooting Elysium will only take a few seconds and process can’t be aborted by some magical big red button (that, I guess, the President wanted to press)?

– Security ninjas are not doing anything useful, except being beaten up by a droid. Stupid ninjas.

– Robots automatically dispatch flying hospitals. What happens afterwards? I guess they knew that Evil Plant Boss was supposed to die in 19 minutes so they didn’t send any shuttles to help him (well, because he was evil, obviously).

And more importantly, if the whole fuss was about health care (Jodie Foster didn’t say why the “settlement” was “dying”) why not just have a few of those super-beds on Earth and make it a perk of working for the company making droids? Or whole Earth population will magically be crammed into the Space Canada station that is run by Skynet? I suppose this whole thing is just a series of very unfortunate events. That look cool enough in the movie.

Oh well 🙂

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