Elysium [2013]: Another Masterpiece from the Director of District 9


I’m the one doing this particular movie review because I’m the one who actually had the money to pay for an overpriced movie ticket in Bali. And also because I’ve seen District 9 and loved it. I also loved this piece of art, although District 9 was a bit better.

TL;DR: A great sci-fi movie that lacks in story, but still better than your average sci-fi movie.


In the year 2154, Earth has fallen into rubble. Society is divided into 2 classes: the extremely wealthy and the extremely poor. The wealthy live in a space station orbiting Earth, called Elysium. Go look up “Elysium” in a dictionary and you’ll know why the space station is called Elysium. Meanwhile, those who cannot afford to live on Elysium stay on Earth living like rats. Max (Matt Damon) is your everyday Earth thug, who has had a dream since boyhood to travel to Elysium. After being exposed to a deadly amount of radiation, he embarks on a perilous journey to Elysium. On his way, he uncovers secrets that could shake the balance of society, both Earth and Elysium.

Basically speaking, its about a dying thug who tries to get medication on Elysium. On Elysium, people can never get sick because of the advanced med bays that can cure any disease known to man (including cancer!)

The Yays

As a sci-fi fan, I adored the stunning visuals of the movie. Since I like gore, I laughed like a homicidal maniac when I saw body parts get blown up and torn to pieces, like when Kruger took a grenade to the face. They really showed the disparity between Elysium and Earth. Elysium was your perfect living place, kinda like those celebrity homes you see on the cover of magazines, while Earth was literally hell. Polluted, disease-ridden, and just downright dirty.

Besides the visuals, the action was quite good. The exoskeletons were a nice touch and the fighting was just great.  But during chases, there’s the annoying shaky cam, which just kinda ruins the action.

The Nays

The movie clearly lacked in the storytelling department. The story had no big impact on me whatsoever, especially the ending, which was overly simplistic and predictable. The story itself had little complexity. And did I mention that some flashbacks were really unnecessary? Unlike District 9‘s protagonist, Max doesn’t actually learn something new or experiences a paradigm shift as he progresses, and neither does the other characters, which clearly lessens that “post-great-movie impact” you have after watching this.


Overall, Elysium is a terrific movie. There’s action and a lot of science fiction fun for the geeks. Though the story and characters are simple, only a really smart person can grasp the essence behind the movie. Oh, and there are some disturbing scenes in the movie, just a friendly warning.




3 thoughts on “Elysium [2013]: Another Masterpiece from the Director of District 9

  1. It seems that now a days it’s hard to find movies with an amazing story that will really capture your attention. Companies push out as many movies as they can, relying on graphics and famous actors to draw crowds.

    To be honest, the trailer for this film didn’t really catch me eye. I loved District 9, so maybe I’ll check it out at some point; but only since the movies share the same director. And yeah, movie tickets are so over priced now….. It’s like 20 bucks over here to see a movie -_- I usually just end up waiting for the blu-ray to come out if I want to watch a movie.


    1. I agree with you. It is hard to find decent stories in movies today. I miss the days of Independence Day, Equilibrium, and Minority Report, when sci-fi was more about complex realities than just gadgets and technology.

      Movie tickets costs 5 bucks here, 7.5 on weekends, and 20 bucks for the premiere suite (using the USD 1 = IDR 10.000 exchange rate), which is very overpriced for Indonesian standards.

      I’d say overall District 9 was a better movie than this. District 9 had me glued to my laptop screen (because I download BR-Rips) and I had a lot of “what if” moments after watching it. After I watched Elysium, I did have some “what if” moments, but they weren’t as intense as District 9.


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