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‘Elysium’ wastes an intriguing premise

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What happens when the number of humans on earth exceeds the amount that can actually fit on the planet? What will we do when there are just too many people? “Elysium” explores the approaching doom of overpopulation and what it could possibly mean for our future.

In the year 2154, the wealthy have abandoned our planet and colonized a man-made space station called Elysium, while the rest of the human race resides on a crumbling earth. The cosmic paradise includes machines that have the ability to heal and prolong life. Max (Matt Damon), a resident of earth, given five days to live, decides to lead a mission up to Elysium in order to heal himself and others close to death. However, this is made difficult by secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster), a resident of Elysium, who fiercely imposes strict immigration laws in order to keep the earthlings out and preserve their luxurious way of life.

The movie is quite action-packed and it definitely entertains. The visual effects are splendid — the space station is beautiful and awe-inspiring. Visually, the contrast between the beautiful, silver Elysium and the brown, ruined earth is stark. This contrast really parallels and highlights the two different lifestyles and conditions of the rich and poor. Earth is ridden with crime and houses that are falling apart — everything is dusty and bare. The citizens work in factories to make things for Elysium; every government worker has been replaced by a robot. Elysium is filled with trees, water and sparkling white mansions. The citizens wear nice clothes and go to parties.

This movie deals with some heavy subjects. I believe the whole story is a social commentary on the ever widening divide between the rich and the poor. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. “Elysium” gives its audience a glimpse into the future to see what it might possibly hold if we continue in this pattern.

I have to say that I find any movie or book dealing with the issue of overpopulation quite interesting. It’s a frightening issue that people don’t typically talk about. The earth can only sustain so many people, and the human race keeps on multiplying at a quicker rate. “Elysium” gives its take on what humanity’s future may consist of when it reaches that point.

The movie’s premise may be deep, but the dialogue and acting are shallow. As a villain drunk with power, Foster is not pleasing to watch. The level of intensity in her face and voice drops to the point where it became ridiculous and I could not take her character seriously. The script has its cheesy parts as well. The inevitable romance seems forced and far-fetched. Many exciting scenes were interrupted by tacky dialogue that ruined potentially intense moments.

The movie has some really important subject matter dealing with overpopulation and the divide between extreme wealth and extreme poverty. It is an exciting movie, but the cheesy acting and far-fetched plot points become its downfall.

“Elysium” will be playing on Nov. 9 in the CFAC at 7 p.m.

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