Four years ago, director Neill Blomkamp, then not yet 30, came out of nowhere (well, technically, “came out of South Africa”) to drop District 9, a modestly budgeted sci-fi flick that somehow managed to be simultaneously sharp and funny and super sad. Sensibly, Hollywood came a-calling, with their standard Would you like millions and millions of dollars to make a movie that must make millions and millions and millions of dollars more? offer. Blomkamp sacked up, said yes, and now here comes Elysium.
The socioeconomic friction from District 9 is back, this time with a neck-tatted Matt Damon as the voice of the oppressed. See, it’s the future, and while the rich and fabulous live perfect lives on a space-station called Elysium, all the poor people are stuck on regular crappy Earth … but, of course, our boy Matty — rocking that sick exoskeleton style — is about to do something about that. (Sharlto Copley, who was so great in District 9, apparently has a big supporting role. We only see him for a couple of seconds here, though, mostly yanking a sword out his quiver).
To be frank, I’m not sure if I’m sold on Damon as the hero here; maybe Blomkamp would’ve been better served by once again picking a scrappy young foreign lad to carry the day? But let’s let Jason Bourne live, and not rush to judgment. And let’s, for now, focus on the most important thing: We now know how to pronounce Elysium! All together now: El Eee See Um.