Sunday, September 1, 2013

Elysium for Everyone

Who needs a laser when you've got a big sword and psychosis?
I managed to get away from the house and see a movie with bad words, violence, no humor, and big ideas this weekend. If you couldn’t guess from the title of my post, that movie was Elysium and I was blown away. I needed at least twenty-four hours to settle after watching before I could put together a semi-coherent blog post.
First off, the visual effects were great. I was so drawn into those worlds, so taken with the contrast between the dusty, crowded, falling-apart Earth and the spectacularly clean and wholesome Elysium I had to remind myself to breathe. Amazing work with production design and set decoration. I was so impressed I looked up the ‘visual futurist’, Syd Mead, who designed some of the sets and once I did, I realized why his work appealed to me so much. It’s because he was also a designer on two of my favorite films; Blade Runner and Aliens. Those happen to be two of Neill Blomkamp’s favorite films as well so it’s no wonder I felt so comfortable stepping into his Elysium. It reminded me of how I try to make my Sci-fi stories equally gritty and every day. Doors that don’t work right, dirt, worn-away finishes, piles of trash, all help make a world of the future more appealing to me.
The story was the typical hero quest with some ‘crushed by corporate inhumanity’ thrown in, but that’s a trope I can get behind. As far as acting goes, one person hit it out of the park; Sharlto Copley. Wow. I thought he was impressive in District 9 but in this film, he’s amazing. He plays a simply awful character so well I couldn’t look away. Normally, I’m ready for the villain to bite it about halfway through a film because their uberevil machinations bore me, but I wanted Kruger to last until the final scene because he was so terribly magnificent. It was a strange sensation to sit in a dark theatre and be simultaneously attracted and repelled by him. So Mr. Copley, I’m sorry to say, you will probably end up as a placeholder in an upcoming book of mine. Maybe a hero, maybe a bad guy or more likely both. Oh, and Faran Tahir was also in it and I always like to see him.
If you’re a fan of hand to hand fighting, this is your movie; swords, knives, blood spatter everywhere along with some really fabulous weapons that stick on and blow up. People were incinerated, radiated, decapitated, drawn and quartered, turned to flesh-mist, you name it. (Oh, flesh-mist, I like the sound of that. I called it!) I might be betraying my high tolerance for medical gore here, but the reconstruction of fifty percent of Kruger’s head was one of my favorite parts of the entire film. In fact, I could have watched that process for at least fifteen minutes.
Now I have a new facet to one of my fantasies. If one of my sci-fi stories is ever optioned, I want Neill Blomkamp to direct it. That is all.

As always, I don't own the rights to these images, if you object to their presence, I will of course remove them.

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