Neill Blomkamp’s follow-up to his justly acclaimed District 9 is Elysium, another social commentary set in a strangely relatable future. This time he contrasts the lives of the wealthy against those of the downtrodden, with all of Earth having become a decrepit, overcrowded hellhole. A former criminal (Matt Damon) is trying to stay on the straight and narrow, but when he becomes collateral damage of the rich getting richer, his only hope for survival is to infiltrate that utopian space station of the title.

Elysium, a technological paradise populated by the most privileged among us, is protected by a one-note alpha female (Jodie Foster) with virtually limitless resources… but hot-rodded spaceships routinely crash-land on citizens’ lawns. And despite the miracles of 2154-era science, the palatial homes are then breached with the aid of potted plants as desperate non-citizens scramble to use cure-all healing machines unavailable on the surface. There are so many glaring lapses in logic here, I could fill several pages. In short, Elysium would have benefitted from an additional screenwriter, or at least more time to properly craft a more honest narrative.

314elysium.box.jpgSony’s latest “Mastered in 4K” Blu-ray Disc, however, offers extraordinary video quality. The environments are rendered with an uncompromising verisimilitude, precise down to the last speck of grit. Computer screens of every size are a common sight, strewn with razor-sharp text. The digitally captured 2.4:1 image is remarkably crisp, with no appreciable noise or grain.

The movie is rife with wild, violent action brought to life by outstanding artisans/technicians. Extremely powerful weapons unleash all manner of mayhem, backed by accurate low-frequency kick, thrilling directionality, and sharp surround cues. This strong DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix is further enlivened by many little sonic nuances as part of this convincingly realized future. The dynamic range is effortlessly wide and the soundstage is remarkably spacious.

A fine complement of bonus material, most of it exclusive to Blu-ray, is highlighted by the three-part “Journey to Elysium” documentary, neatly broken into pre-, production and post- sections. An interactive gallery also reveals conceptual art, digital models and visual effects progressions. It’s all rather nifty, but it also underscores the problem with Elysium: Abundant concern with the look and feel of these two disparate worlds, at the expense of plot and character.

Studio: Sony Pictures, 2013
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio Format: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1
Length: 110 mins.
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Neill Blomkamp
Starring: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Shalto Copley

Billy's picture

I would have liked to see more of the space colony. The movie would have benefited from an extra ten minutes of this, or maybe, a little less shooting. I feel this movie could have been far more cerebral.