Elysium: everything that sucks about movies these days




So.... I guess you really liked it?



Awesome review! Although a bit sadden.

The politics of Hollywood always fascinates me. Kevin Smith talks about how horrible Cop Out was, but it put him in a place where he could get independent funding for Red State because everyone thought of him as a big time director afterwards.


That's too bad. There are plenty of big-budget movies that are actually good all around, so it's sad that a director thinks that the typical Hollywood cliches are the only way to make a movie that's "cinematic."

It sounds a lot like Pacific Rim, but rated R. Big action scenes but with a modular, rote plot. I had hoped PacRim would be better, too, but it's forgettable.


So did Hollywood fire all it's Union writers?


A minor point, but does the movie really have Elysium at "19 miles" above Earth? Not 190 miles, or somewhere in that range (International Space Station is just a bit higher than that)?

I realize that even at that point it's strange; one of these type of space habitats would be more properly at an L4 or L5 Lagrange point, but, I also realized why the movie doesn't put it there --- it'd be just a bright point in the sky seen from Earth, whereas for the purposes of the movie, the people on Earth need to see it whizzing by big as life every 90 minutes or so.


We'll we've got the pseudo intellectual/brander/advertiser view, thanks. Blechdel test, give me a break. Many shitty movies pass that test, many great movies don't. It's totally meaningless, feminism at its most inane and self-indulgent. And blaming 'violent' movies. At least Blomkamp doesn't sugercoat violence and make it more palatable/excusable.


Well, that seemed a bit pretentious. I have not seen Elysium or Pacific Rim yet, but what I have read from reviewers I respect is that while they are big budget action movies, they are smarter and more original than most other movies in that sphere such as Transformers. I expect that a large part of that is due to the vision of the directors involved, especially with their backgrounds of lower budget independent films. But unless a director is independently wealthy like Lucas or Spielberg there is no way the director will have complete control over the final product in project this big. There will always be committee compromises to go for the safe route vs taking chances. Investing in movies is risky enough, would you be willing to risk your money on a maverick director's vision or would you settle for a more sure return on investment?

Your review sounds like you just don't like that kind of movie at all, which is fine, but it seems like you picked on a poor example to make your point.


I thought "Grown Ups 2" was everything that sucks about movies these days.


I admit my primary reason that I want to see it is because of the space station. My impression from the trailer is that it's every bit as awesome as Kubrick's space station from 2001. The rest, bad-ass guy with big gun and no hair wreaking vengeance upon the bad guys, well, that never sounded like it was going to be very original. I do hope it's better than most blockbuster, and I wish blockbusters had more interesting stories, but I still intend to see Elysium for that space station.

But first I still need to see Pacific Rim.


I thought the latest Star Trek was everything wrong with movies these days: a remake of a reboot, with characters--particularly the villain--cut out of cardboard, and chock full of bloodless, cartoon violence. I was actually looking forward to seeing Elysium, an SF movie that's not a prequel, sequel, or reboot. Just because you can guess some of the movie's main tropes, and it has violence, doesn't mean it sucks.


So what I learned from this review is, that I will enjoy the hell out of this movie.



My favorite blurb so far:

"Elysium is the least dumb of the dumb summer movies!" -- Mike Ryan, The Huffington Post

Spoilers ahead:


That's got to be a typo. Compare these two photo's.

Still from Elysium...

Photo of the ISS...

They each show a similar degree of curvature of the earth, so I would imagine they are meant to be at or about the same altitude.

19 miles is in the stratosphere.

Maybe it's like in the Big Bang Theory : "Leonard's having astronomically inaccurate Star Trek sex with my sister."


I was going to be all nice and eloquent about this, but why? The guy who wrote this is obviously some kind of an asshole or has a serious chip on his shoulder. How can you be so pretentious? I mean seriously it's almost as if this was a satirical piece, sort of a reply to the recent furor around Lone Ranger execs, director and actors complaining critics ruined their movie.

Blomkamp puts it perfectly - this is him doing "big-scale cinema and archetypal storytelling", not indie, low cost DIY fimmaking. He showed he can do that brilliantly, now he's flexing his muscles on a different level and seems to be doing just fine - hurray. He's a success story this prick should get psyched about not moan he's not making the next indie-hit.

Those are the two major things wrong with this "review" - people move on to other, hopefully bigger projects or at least different ones - and everybody likes different kind of films. Personally, I watch indie-movies, local shot on DSLR stuff and huge blockbusters all in one week and enjoy them all for various reasons. And they can all co-exist.

Finally - give me a break with your Bechdel test. As mentioned before this is the new 'thing' to fail a movie on JUST like media violence was in the past. There are some great films (and TV!) out there with brilliant female characters and violence depictions have been around since we painted shit on cave walls - which is where this troll belongs.


Yes! thank you!, While reading this editorial/review I wasn't able to point out why it rang false to me.
I mean, sure, he hated the movie, that's fair, but I didn't get many reasons besides "there's a lot of cliche's", one paragraph could have informed me of that.

I guess its a sort of persuasive opinion piece where I would have liked to know more of the reasoning behind that opinion in order to form my own.


Alert: "movie violence is a spreading disease on culture" quote spotted. Author identified as curmudgeon old fart, initiating purge of entire essay from memory.


I have not seen Elysium or Pacific Rim yet, but what I have read from reviewers I respect is that while they are big budget action movies, they are smarter and more original than most other movies in that sphere such as Transformers.

Yikes.... If you're going to use the Transformers movies as your benchmark, then, yeah, lots of things are going to pass it.

I like action movies myself. I found things to like in Pacific Rim, and don't regret having seen it. But I was also disappointed by it. Knowing what the movie is, you basically know the plot. Movies have become incredibly formulaic (and there was a post on Boing Boing, I believe it was, a week or two pointing out that, yes, formulaic isn't just a description of how they turn out, but a description of the explicit process-- there's a book where somebody wrote out the foruma in great detail).

Just because some tripe is worse than other tripe doesn't mean that it's not all tripe. And, just becasue the big blockbusterm ovies still have some value in them as spectacle doesn't mean that they're a lot less than they could have been, and that they haven't become boringly formulaic in their plotting.


I don't get much from big budget movies these days. I probably get more concentrated fun from an episode of Adventure Time than I did from The Avengers, say. And I'd argue that they're both in the same intellectual ball park. It's not like I'm enjoying one ironically, at best I'm enjoying them both ironically.

But isn't it a bit much to expect more than that from the mainstream blockbuster cinema? Once you've seen a few thousand movies, it's naive to expect anything more than iteration.


Most BB readers probably will, too. If you go through the backlog of BoingBoing submissions, you'll find almost excessive praise for Blomkamp's talent on District 9 and the short film that gave birth to it, Alive in Joburg.

We ought to keep in mind that BoingBoing is a collection of people who other people find interesting, and all have different opinions. I read the review and thought it read like Andy Rooney mixed with some Reagan-era hand-wringing about violence in culture. Whatever, I probably won't see this movie until it's either on Netflix or Blockbuster. That's not a slam; I just don't go see many movies in theaters. I waited until District 9 was out of theaters before I saw it, and loved it despite it not being terribly creative.

I kinda wonder what the author would have to say about Cory Doctorow's fiction. As fascinating as I find his interests to be, I really haven't read anything by Cory that really strikes a nerve, (sorry, Cory.) I don't hold anything against Cory for that, of course; obviously his fans disagree with me and that's okay. I guess I just don't "get" his fiction.

I can only imagine how confusing BoingBoing would be if people thought it had a consistent, single editorial vision, because:

  • BoingBoing hates misogyny, but loves Die Antwoord.
  • Hates anything that disrespects women but devotes a lot of space to hiphop.
  • Both loves and hates Neil Blomkamp.
  • Has, in the past, been all for liberating women worldwide, but has defended burkas.
  • Hates representation of women in comics, but defends to the death a woman's right to be respected while dressed as one.

The list could go on, but to me that's what makes this website interesting. It makes you think, even if you end up thinking, "Man, what a load." Sure, it can come across as a bunch of handwringing by entitled white people, but what of it? I get to learn about a lot of things that are outside my sphere of existence.

I'm waiting for the day when a movie about gay men will have to defend itself for not passing the Bechdel test.

Hip Hop on BB: sidebar to a remark in the Elysium thread