Elysium: Movie Review

Posted: August 9, 2013 in Movie Review
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This movie should come with an epilepsy warning and a motion sickness warning. If you suffer from either of these conditions I would not suggest this movie for you. The movie started out with beautiful scenes of space and of Earth but soon became a jumbled mess. I felt as if the cameraman was filming in the midst of an earthquake. I understand that sometimes this type of filming can add a dramatic flair to a movie or certain scenes, but when it is used incessantly it makes for a very nauseating experience. I would suggest sitting as far back from the screen as possible as this slightly alleviated the headache I was beginning to get watching it from the middle of the theater.

I feel that the movie could have been more enjoyable if it was a more stabilized view. As it was, it was hard to follow and just downright annoying and physically painful to watch. This was a shame as I thought that Matt Damon did an excellent job in his role. I actually believed he was sick and he was able to transmit that feeling through his acting to me in the audience…oh wait…no that wasn’t his acting, that was the shaky camera and flashing lights that did that. Maybe that’s what the director was going for, making us feel Damon’s pain and sickness by using headache inducing lights and nauseating camera jostling.

Disorienting filming was not the only issue I had with this movie. The dialogue was often hard to understand and hear over the wonderfully done music and sound effects. The beginning of the movie has subtitles as they begin speaking in a foreign language, but I think that they should have continued the subtitling throughout the movie. Because even though the characters were supposedly speaking English, their words were so mumbled and garbled at times I couldn’t make out what they were saying, which made the story line that much harder to follow. For instance, at one point I seriously thought the bad guy said he’d always wanted a waffle, but then I realized he must have said, “I’ve always wanted a wife.” The characters would also do things that I could not comprehend the importance of because either: A. The camera was too shaky to see what they were doing  B. They mumbled their words about what they were doing  C. It didn’t make sense or D. All of the Above.

I normally don’t care for Jodi Foster in movies, but I appreciated her in this one because she was almost the only one I could fully understand because of her character’s harsh demeanor and very cutting speech patterns. And really all the actors did well in their roles, I just think they probably should have enunciated better or something so that I could stay semi-engaged in the movie.

I have to give the movie props though for its exploding bodies. Several people are detonated throughout the movie and each is gruesomely believable. Although I frown upon the movie making up its own rules for who should die from one of these explosions and who should live (if you see the movie you’ll know what I mean). Also, there seemed to be a recurring theme with Mother and sick child breaking into glass patio doors to heal said child. I feel like I was cheated because the movie was using some of the same “dramatic” set-ups again and again.

If you are expecting a movie about Damon infiltrating Elysium with his cool robotic get-up as was promised in the preview, then just skip the first hour an a half and watch the last 20 minutes.

  1. Ian says:

    I hate the camera shake technique. When people run there body adjusts and their eyes compensate. The reason you feel sick watching this is because your body would not allow it to affect you in the real world. Stupid directors and producers need to abandon this technique or use it very sparingly… now. Seriously, stupid directors and producers, stop now.

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