Movie Review: Elysium

I watched District 9. I liked District 9. When I heard that the guy who made District 9 was doing another movie, this time about the enormous class divide in modern American society, and that it had a space station and explosions and stuff on it, I was as excited as a hyperactive kid on a cotton candy sugar high.

Perhaps not Prometheus levels of excited, but excited nonetheless.

And, unlike Prometheus, Elysium didn’t disappoint. It was exactly what I expected it to be after seeing District 9: gorgeous, brutal, sprawling, epic, and nasty. Very, very nasty.

The richest of the rich, the top wealthiest of society, have abandoned Earth altogether in favor of a lovely space station called Elysium, where affordable housing starts at just $250,000,000. The people stuck on Earth, the poorest 99% of society, are mired in sprawling poverty.

The movie goes something like this:

YOUNG CHILD MATT DAMON: This world sucks.
ORPHANAGE NUN: Suffering is good. Jesus loves suffering. If you were not meant to suffer, you would have been born rich. Jesus loves the rich.
YOUNG CHILD LOVE INTEREST: This world sucks.
YOUNG CHILD MATT DAMON: One day I will take us up to the space station where the super-rich live and everything is awesome.
YOUNG CHILD LOVE INTEREST: Cool. I will draw on you with a pen now.


MATT DAMON: I have to go to work.
MATT DAMON’S SIDEKICK: Dude, why on earth are you going to work? We should steal cars or something.
MATT DAMON: If you are willing to work hard, you can better your life, improve your situation, and become rich.
MATT DAMON’S SIDEKICK:
MATT DAMON’S SIDEKICK: Are you on crack? Have you actually looked around?
DONALD TRUMP: Seems legit. Hard work, plus marrying a millionaire and declaring bankruptcy, like, seven times, totally worked for me. And going two billion dollars into debt. And having a bad toupee. You need a bad toupee.
ROBOT POLICE OFFICER: Matt Damon, what are you doing?
MATT DAMON: Waiting for the bus.
ROBOT POLICE OFFICER: Your insubordination will not go unpunished. We will beat you now.

The ROBOT POLICE OFFICERS beat MATT DAMON and break his ARM

MATT DAMON: My arm is broken. I need a cast…hey! My childhood love interest! I haven’t seen you since the beginning of the movie!
LOVE INTEREST: I’m a nurse now. Down here, we have crap hospitals, crap equipment, and crap supplies. Up there, they have high-tech autodocs that can fix anything, stop aging, and basically make people live forever. Too bad you’re not rich enough to be up there.
TEA PARTY: That’s because he’s a taker, not a maker! If you want health care that doesn’t suck, you should have been born rich, moron.

MATT DAMON talks to his ROBOT PAROLE OFFICER

ROBOT PAROLE OFFICER: You were beaten by the police. That is a violation of your parole.
MATT DAMON:
ROBOT PAROLE OFFICER: If you are beaten by the police again, you will be put in jail. You should not have been beaten by the police.
MATT DAMON:
MATT DAMON: Are you fucking serious?
ROBOT PAROLE OFFICER: If you use the word “fuck” again, it will be recorded on your permanent record. Plus, I will personally summon robot police officers to beat you.
MATT DAMON: Dude, this sucks.
ROBOT PAROLE OFFICER: If you use the word “suck” again, it will be recorded…
MATT DAMON: I get it. I get it. I’m going to work now.
ROBOT PAROLE OFFICER: The Computer wants you to be happy. Not being happy is treason. Are you happy, citizen?

MATT DAMON goes to WORK in a shitty job making ROBOT POLICE OFFICERS

ALANIS MORISSETTE Isn’t it ironic, doncha think?
MATT DAMON: Shut up.

A bunch of DESPERATELY ILL PEOPLE buy their way onto SHUTTLES operated by a crime boss named SPIDER and attempt to fly to ELYSIUM so that they can use the MAGIC AUTODOCS

EVIL JODIE FOSTER: Thank you for coming to my party of super-rich white assholes. You will notice I’m wearing a twenty-thousand-dollar dress. Life is awesome. Have some champagne!
SUPER-RICH WHITE ASSHOLE: Life is amazing.
EVIL JODIE FOSTER: Yes, it’s wonderful to live in a post-scarcity society.
SUPER-RICH WHITE ASSHOLE: Well, is it technically a post-scarcity society, since our wealth is built off the backs of billions of poor people?
EVIL JODIE FOSTER: Of course it is! Don’t think of them as billions of poor people. Think of them as…a giant collective Mechanical Turk that takes care of all our needs.
INTERNET LIBERTARIANS: Seems legit.

HOMELAND SECURITY notices three SPACE SHUTTLES filled with DESPERATELY SICK PEOPLE approaching the SPACE STATION

DIFFERENT SUPER-RICH WHITE ASSHOLE: Evil Jodie Foster, there are three shuttles filled with sick people approaching.
EVIL JODIE FOSTER: Hey, evil baby-killing mercenary rapist dude in Los Angeles, shoot them down.
DIFFERENT SUPER-RICH WHITE ASSHOLE:
DIFFERENT SUPER-RICH WHITE ASSHOLE: Really? You’re going to shoot down unarmed shuttles full of sick people?
EVIL JODIE FOSTER: Well, duh. What else would one do with unarmed shuttles full of sick people?

The EVIL MERCENARY shoots GROUND-TO-SPACE MISSILES at the SHUTTLES
Two of the shuttles are DESTROYED

EVIL JODIE FOSTER: Oh God, what have I done?
DIFFERENT SUPER-RICH WHITE ASSHOLE: You just killed a bunch of people!
EVIL JODIE FOSTER: No, not that. I think I chipped a nail!

The third shuttle lands in a PARK and the people on it run to the nearest house looking for an AUTODOC

EVIL JODIE FOSTER: Arrest those people and deport them back to Earth.
TEA PARTY: Yeah! You tell ’em, Evil Jodie Foster! If they want health care, they should have been born rich! Boot those takers right back to earth!
ELYSIUM PRESIDENT: Evil Jodie Foster, you just killed a bunch of people and you employed a mercenary whose hobbies include macrame, torturing people, raping women, and gouging the eyes out of small children. What the actual fuck?
EVIL JODIE FOSTER: I am securing our homeland! You wouldn’t like it if poor people came into your house and tried to use your autodoc to cure their terminal illnesses! I am simply looking out for those of us who have worked hard to build better homes for ourselves and our children! If those people want health care, they should have been born rich!
ELYSIUM PRESIDENT:
ELYSIUM PRESIDENT: Wow, you really did drink the Kool-Aide, didn’t you?
ELYSIUM PRESIDENT: Just for the record, killing poor people is morally questionable.

EVIL JODIE FOSTER: Corporate dude, I know you’re a multi-billionaire who built this space station, but you haven’t been making very much money lately building robot police officers in your factory. Wall Street is getting restless.
CORPORATE DUDE: You led me into an airlock and sealed the doors to tell me that?
EVIL JODIE FOSTER: No. I led you in here to tell you that I don’t like our Kenyan Marxist Muslim President. He…he said…he said it’s not OK to kill poor people!
CORPORATE DUDE:
CORPORATE DUDE: Seriously? He said that?
EVIL JODIE FOSTER: Something must be done. I want you to crash the space station’s computers and then rewrite the program so that the robot police officers recognize a different president.
CORPORATE DUDE: Gerrymandering is cheaper.
EVIL JODIE FOSTER: Gerrymandering takes too long.

The CORPORATE DUDE writes a computer program that will CRASH ELYSIUM’S COMPUTERS and place a different person in CHARGE

KARL ROVE: Booyah! That’s what I’m talkin’ about, baby! I love technology! Oh, baby! Oh, baby! Come to Daddy!

MATT DAMON goes to WORK

MATT DAMON: This blast door is stuck.
SHIFT MANAGER: Go into the radiation chamber and close it!
MATT DAMON:
MATT DAMON: I don’t think OSHA will approve.
SHIFT MANAGER: OSHA will no longer be of any concern to us. I have just received word that the Tea Party has dissolved it permanently. The last remnants of worker protection have been swept away forever.
MATT DAMON: This sucks.

MATT DAMON gets blasted with RADIATION

RESCUE ROBOT: You have been blasted with radiation. You can be cured with just the touch of a button for no cost. If you are rich. Ha! Ha! You are not rich, so you’re going to die. Taker.
MATT DAMON:
RESCUE ROBOT: Sign this liability waiver if you want any painkillers.

MATT DAMON signs a WAIVER and gets a bottle of PAINKILLERS

MATT DAMON: Hey, Spider, you’re a crime boss who sells tickets on illegal shuttles that try to sneak into Elysium. I am going to die in a few days if I don’t go there. What do you say?
SPIDER: Give me money.
MATT DAMON:
MATT DAMON: If I had any fucking money I wouldn’t be in this jam!
SPIDER: I want to rob a rich corporate dude. They store software in implants in their brains. How about we put an implant in your brain and you go rob a rich corporate dude and steal his data.
MATT DAMON: Eww! There’s still hair on that implant! Where did you get…
MATT DAMON: …never mind. Dude, I’m dying of radiation poisoning. How the hell am I supposed to mug a rich corporate dude?
SPIDER: I have a surplus Russian-issue powered exoskeleton! We just cut holes in all your bones, see, and bolt these things on, and then drill a hole in your skull and plant these electrodes in your brain, see, and…
MATT DAMON: Let me get this straight. You want to implant that data recorder in my brain so I can use it to steal data from a rich corporate dude, and you want to bolt a Russian surplus exoskeleton onto my body because I’m dying of radiation poisoning and I’m not strong enough to steal data from a rich corporate dude?
SPIDER: Yeah! I have a doc who works for me, and he might even stop smoking while he’s doing the surgery!
MATT DAMON: Okay.

RUSSIAN CYBORG MATT DAMON and his SIDEKICK shoot a remote-controlled MISSILE into the CORPORATE DUDE’S private Bugatti shuttle and shoot him DOWN

DIFFERENT SUPER-RICH WHITE ASSHOLE: Evil Jodie Foster, that corporate dude you were talking to in the airlock has been shot down and there are people trying to steal the data in his brain.
EVIL JODIE FOSTER: Oh no! That’s terrible!
DIFFERENT SUPER-RICH WHITE ASSHOLE: I’m afraid it gets worse, ma’am. The people who are trying to steal the data in his brain…
EVIL JODIE FOSTER: Yes?
DIFFERENT SUPER-RICH WHITE ASSHOLE: They are poor people.
EVIL JODIE FOSTER: Get me that baby-killing mercenary rapist on the line.

RUSSIAN CYBORG MATT DAMON and his SIDEKICK shoot up some ROBOT BODYGUARDS and steal the ELYSIUM REBOOT PROGRAM out of the CORPORATE DUDE’S HEAD
The MERCENARY shows up and everything goes PEAR-SHAPED

MERCENARY: I have a heavily armed and armored military attack spacecraft with infrared and heat-sensing automated missiles and machine guns and railguns and stuff, but I’m going to kill your sidekick with a sword. You know why?
RUSSIAN CYBORG MATT DAMON: Why?
MERCENARY: Because it’s more FUN.

RUSSIAN CYBORG MATT DAMON runs AWAY

RUSSIAN CYBORG MATT DAMON: Help me.
LOVE INTEREST: I can’t. My daughter is dying of leukemia.
RUSSIAN CYBORG MATT DAMON: You have to help me.
LOVE INTEREST: Why?
RUSSIAN CYBORG MATT DAMON: Because I’m the main character in this movie.

MERCENARY: Where is Russian Cyborg Matt Damon?
LOVE INTEREST: I don’t know.
MERCENARY: Cute kid. I hate doing violence in front of children. Cover her eyes.

The LOVE INTEREST covers the DYING CHILD’S EYES and the MERCENARY punches the LOVE INTEREST in the FACE a bunch of times

AUDIENCE:
AUDIENCE: Holy fuck. Was that really necessary?
NEILL BLOMKAMP: Are you fucking serious?
NEILL BLOMKAMP: Jesus Christ, what the fuck is wrong with you people?
NEILL BLOMKAMP: You’re a bunch of privileged First Worlders sitting in a movie theater eating your popcorn, while your government pursues agendas at home and abroad that are the epitome of violence, exporting homan misery on a breathtaking scale never equalled in human history.
NEILL BLOMKAMP: Every fucking day, the most horrifying acts of violence take place in Mexico, as drug cartels enabled by your failed drug policies kidnap, torture, rape, and mutilate each other and dissolve each other in acid.
NEILL BLOMKAMP: Your standard of living is enabled by cheap oil, which you pay for with unending, decades-long wars that inflict hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties in countries that most of you can’t even point to on a map.
NEILL BLOMKAMP: You allow workers to be smothered, crushed to death, suffocated, or burned alive in unsafe factories in India because you want cheap designer tennis shoes.
NEILL BLOMKAMP: And that’s what gets to you? A guy in a movie punches a woman in the face?
NEILL BLOMKAMP: Really?
NEILL BLOMKAMP: For real?
NEILL BLOMKAMP: You people are un-fucking-believable, you know that?
NEILL BLOMKAMP: Sit the fuck down, shut the fuck up, and finish watching my movie.

MERCENARY: Hey Love Interest, I like punching you in the face. I’m going to kidnap you. And your dying daughter.
LOVE INTEREST:
MERCENARY: I never have had very much luck with women. Maybe because I just never settled down. Or maybe because it’s more fun to rape and kill them, I don’t know. But I totally think I could settle down with you.
LOVE INTEREST:
MERCENARY: You know, for some value of “settle down” that means “rape and kill.”

RUSSIAN CYBORG MATT DAMON: Hey, Spider, I stole the data from that corporate guy. Now you’re going to get me on an illegal shuttle to Elysium, right?
SPIDER: No.
RUSSIAN CYBORG MATT DAMON:
SPIDER: They just went apeshit up there. They’re keeping all aircraft grounded. What did you steal? They seem pretty mad.
RUSSIAN CYBORG MATT DAMON: I dunno, you tell me.
SPIDER: ddfghdhfj
RUSSIAN CYBORG MATT DAMON: What?
SPIDER: ffdddsssaghd
SPIDER: Holy shit dude you have a program in there that can crash their computer and make any changes you want to their entire network!
RUSSIAN CYBORG MATT DAMON: So that’s why they’re hopping mad, then?
SPIDER: Yeah that’s why they’re mad! You can do anything! You can change any of their policies! You can make all their Frappuccino machines dispense soy milk lattes instead!
SPIDER: Dude, you can save us all!
RUSSIAN CYBORG MATT DAMON: Fuck that.

RUSSIAN CYBORG MATT DAMON gets a GRENADE and calls the BABY-KILLING MERCENARY RAPIST

RUSSIAN CYBORG MATT DAMON: Take me to Elysium and I’ll give you root access to their servers.
MERCENARY: Okay.
RUSSIAN CYBORG MATT DAMON: Surprise! I have a grenade!
MERCENARY: Surprise! I have your girlfriend! And her dying daughter!
RUSSIAN CYBORG MATT DAMON: Oh ffffuuuuu–

RUSSIAN CYBORG MATT DAMON blows the BABY-KILLING MERCENARY RAPIST’S face off with the GRENADE
They crash-land on ELYSIUM

EVIL JODIE FOSTER: Well, this is a mess. I hate it when a coup goes wrong.

The BABY-KILLING MERCENARY RAPIST hops in an AUTODOC and his FACE is restored

EVIL JODIE FOSTER: Listen, I know you’re a baby-killing rapist and all, but I gotta say, man, you totally screwed the pooch back there.
MERCENARY:

The BABY-KILLING MERCENARY RAPIST stabs EVIL JODIE FOSTER with a bit of BROKEN GLASS

LOVE INTEREST: An autodoc! I can save my daughter!
AUTODOC: Access denied. You are a poor person. If you wanted health care, you should have been born a rich person. Taker.
TEA PARTY: Damn straight!

The BABY-KILLING MERCENARY RAPIST bolts on a non-surplus modern EXOSKELETON and decides to launch his own COUP

SPIDER: While they’re preoccupied, let’s take another illegal shuttle up to Elysium.
HENCHMAN: Why?
SPIDER: Well, we aren’t going to get blown up, shot at, or stabbed down here, right?

ELYSIUM TECHNICIAN: Let’s take the program out of Russian Cyborg Matt Damon’s head.
OTHER ELYSIUM TECHNICIAN: Won’t that kill him?
ELYSIUM TECHNICIAN: So? He’s poor.
OTHER ELYSIUM TECHNICIAN: Oh, right.

RUSSIAN CYBORG MATT DAMON breaks FREE

NON-SURPLUS MODERN CYBORG MERCENARY: If you want to save your girlfriend’s daughter or yourself, you have to get through me.
RUSSIAN CYBORG MATT DAMON: Okay.

RUSSIAN CYBORG MATT DAMON and the NON-SURPLUS MODERN CYBORG MERCENARY start FIGHTING. It gets NASTY

BOINGBOING MOVIE REVIEWER: This movie sucks.
BOINGBOING MOVIE REVIEWER: Movie violence is a spreading disease on culture. Elysium, for all its purported good intentions … the film is so thickly mired in gunfire, torture, and bloodshed that social issues are forgotten, scattered like spent shells on a dusty dystopian floor. These kinds of films aren’t entertaining anymore; they’re offensive.
NEILL BLOMKAMP: Oh, Jesus Fuckmuppet Christ on a nuclear-powered pogo stick.
NEILL BLOMKAMP: You live in a society that has the highest per capita rates of homicide in the industrialized world, fueled in large part by widespread poverty, joblessness, low wages, and stress.
NEILL BLOMKAMP: You have a sprawling, out-of-control prison-industrial complex that incarcerates a higher percentage of its citizens than any other nation on earth, including such shining gems of humanitarian civility as China and North Korea.
NEILL BLOMKAMP: You have a government controlled by corporations, an economy destroyed by intentional malfeasance and ruinously expensive wars, a culture steeped in reactionary anti-intellectual ideology, and a crumbling infrastructure that would embarrass a lot of Third World tin-pot despots.
NEILL BLOMKAMP: You have an entire generation that’s given three choices in life: be saddled with crippling student debt, join the military so that you can come back–IF you come back–and end up homeless, or go directly from high school to prison without passing “go” or collecting…well, any money at all.
NEILL BLOMKAMP: And movie violence is a spreading disease on culture?
NEILL BLOMKAMP: People pretending to shoot each other with fake guns?
NEILL BLOMKAMP: That’s the problem with modern culture?
NEILL BLOMKAMP: Wow. Just…wow.
NEILL BLOMKAMP: Sit the fuck down, shut the fuck up, and finish watching my movie.
NEILL BLOMKAMP: Or you know what? Don’t. I don’t even care any more.
NEILL BLOMKAMP: Jesus. You people.
NEILL BLOMKAMP: See, this is why when I became rich and influential and could do whatever the hell I wanted, I moved to Canada, not Los Angeles.
NEILL BLOMKAMP: Fuckmuppets.

RUSSIAN CYBORG MATT DAMON: So now what?
SPIDER: I rewrote the code so that Elysium’s central computer system will recognize everyone, including poor people, as citizens, and everyone will have access to medical treatment.
DONALD TRUMP: NOOOOOOOOO!
DONALD TRUMP: What the fuck is wrong with you? You can’t have poor people getting health care! That’s…that’s insane! Society will collapse!
TEA PARTY: Yeah! What he said!
INTERNET LIBERTARIANS: Yeah! As Ayn Rand clearly explained on page 684 of the extended version of Atlas Shrugged, if poor people get health care, it is doom for us all!
SPIDER: There’s just one catch. Running it will kill you.
RUSSIAN CYBORG MATT DAMON: Wait, what? Why?
SPIDER: Because of plot. And reasons. But relax! You’re about to die anyway.
RUSSIAN CYBORG MATT DAMON: Oh, right, that’s a help. Thanks for that.

They run the PROGRAM and RUSSIAN CYBORG MATT DAMON DIES
The LOVE INTEREST’S sick DAUGHTER is CURED

ELYSIUM CENTRAL COMPUTER: Everyone is a citizen now. We will send autodocs to Earth to give poor people health care.
DONALD TRUMP: NOOOOOOOOO!
TEA PARTY: NOOOOOOOOO!
INTERNET LIBERTARIANS: NOOOOOOOOO!

The movie ENDS

18 thoughts on “Movie Review: Elysium

  1. So I waited to read this til after I watched the movie and you were spot on! I appreciate the extra-movie dialogue you’ve inserted here. Perfection. 😀 Your movie reviews always make me super happy. :]

  2. So I waited to read this til after I watched the movie and you were spot on! I appreciate the extra-movie dialogue you’ve inserted here. Perfection. 😀 Your movie reviews always make me super happy. :]

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