hopefulnebula: "Scare the Road" road sign (Scare the Road)
[personal profile] hopefulnebula
I just saw Elysium, and can safely create a list of things Neill Blomkamp really, really likes.


- Beige
- Explosions
- Flying body parts
- Explosions causing flying body parts
- "What do you mean, it's not symbolic?"/"Subtlety? What's that?"
- The word "fuck"
- Shakycam
- Mercenary baddies with massive grudges and awesome future weapons
- Reluctant main characters in mech suits
- Dust
- Multilingualism
- Sharlto Copley
- Casting white men as the leads in stories about oppression


Thankfully, I like many of those things, am indifferent to a few, and only actively dislike one. (Guess which one. *eyeroll*)

A few more spoilery thoughts, below the cut:


- Seriously I have totally had it this summer with movies casting white men because white man = "default human." I would have loved for Frey to be the main character. If Ellen Ripley could do it, so could she. There'd be the risk of her becoming a mama bear/Lifetime Movie Of The Week stereotype, though. But seriously, I would watch the shit out of the movie where Frey meets up with Max again after he gets his five days' notice, they plot and scheme and go to Spider together, and she wears the suit for Reasons. (Possibly reasons related to his radiation poisoning and the strain the operation/suit puts on the body.) But then she'd be the one who dies, and that's sad.

- I like that Matilda isn't (to my knowledge) Max's daughter. Not everything in the story's world has to revolve around the main character. Supporting characters have their own lives too.

- Technically it passes the Bechdel test, but only just.

- I don't think the movie could have worked if it had been more subtle. What's that Churchill quote about "if you have to say something really important, don't worry about being subtle or witty, just say it as often as you have to"? (Speaking of which, this movie could never have gotten a wide release if it hadn't been science fiction.)

- I loved the worldbuilding: Spanish in LA, French in Elysium; robotic parole officers who're only a step up from the shitty-ass voice recognition systems you get when you call any megacorp today; the full automation (and disproportionate effect) of police work... That said, hand-launched surface-to-space missiles? Those suckers have to have one hell of a power system beyond what the launcher gives 'em.

- I like the idea of fatally copy-protecting the data downloaded into someone's brain. I really do. But the file in question appears to be saved in plaintext. Which is OK on its own depending on how exactly it works. But Spider gets "view" permissions easily enough without killing Max. Obviously time is of the essence here, but what's to stop an infojacker who has more time on his hands from stealing information, viewing it, and copying it the hard way instead of just downloading it? But it'd have been less of a story if the dude had used any encryption whatsoever.

- That said, I love that Max died, and how he died, and that he came to peace with the idea because it was on his own terms and for something he believed in.

- Jodie Foster's character is the one who worked the least, imo. No nuance at all, and I'm not sure what purpose her death is supposed to serve in the narrative.

- Oh, hey, the president is a Regent. (Which reminds me I have a Big Ugly Rant about Warehouse 13's season finale coming up at some point.)

- ...I had a comment here about how stupid "I cannot arrest a citizen of Elysium" is - what, do no Elysians commit crimes? is "arriving illegally" the only crime? and surely Spider could be arrested for any of the other things he just got caught doing? - but then I realized that that's part of the point. It's ingrained in the system even today that the empowered person is always right. Kind of an "I'm saying when the president does it, it's not illegal" thing.

- For that matter, if all it takes for Delacourt to take over is to make the computer system recognize her as president, something's seriously messed up. Which is probably the point. Well played, Mr. Blomkamp.

- Another subtle thing I liked: the way the use of drones is commonplace and generally unremarked on. Chillingly done. (Also the drones looked like Roombas.)
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