Home Culture You’ve Gotta See Elysium — Essential Cyberpunk Cinema

You’ve Gotta See Elysium — Essential Cyberpunk Cinema

by Cyberpunks Staff

Produced, written, and directed by Neill Blomkamp, Elysium is a true science fiction movie for science fiction fans.  Set roughly 135 years in the future, Matt Damon plays Max De Costa a parolee trying to make a living in the remains of Los Angeles.  It’s a big movie with commentary on classism, overpopulation, the trajectory of healthcare in the modern world, and the integration of technology and humanity, Elysium pushes you to think about what kind of future we’re making in the world, and it does all this with a very cool aesthetic while still embracing the big summer blockbuster feeling.  

Looming over a broken and dying world is “Elysium,” a luxury community in space that is visible from Earth for all the world to look up to and dream about.  On Elysium they have luxury homes and medical pods that cure all disease and injury when used, something that is too expensive and impractical for widespread use back on Earth.  Early in the film Matt Damon gets sick with radiation poisoning and is given five days to live; his only chance at survival is getting to Elysium and using one of the medical pods.  He agrees to work for Spider, a human trafficker and all around activist/terrorist (depending on where you live). The rest of the movie is a crazy sci-fi  rollercoaster ride – man, technology and those in between all crash together.

Blomkamp’s vision is remarkably executed; the movie is both visually stunning and still rooted believable near-future technology.  The big budget followup to Blomkamp’s debut District 9, it more than doubled its $115 million-dollar budget. While not universally critically acclaimed, it does have an above average Rotten Tomato score, and is incredibly entertaining.  Elysium delivers in so many ways – if you haven’t seen it, then you need to so check it out!

What’s So Special About Elysium?

You've Gotta See Elysium — Essential Cyberpunk Cinema

The Floating City In The Sky

The namesake of the movie is a floating space-station, which orbits Earth. The super-wealthy live here, and have every need catered for, including Med-Bays that seem to be able to cure any illness, regenerate body parts, and extend life. The station is visible from Earth to all those who will never get there, being forced to live out a meager and pitiful existence while their overlords live in the skies above.

You've Gotta See Elysium — Essential Cyberpunk Cinema

Matt Damon’s Cyborg Exo-Suit

Matt Damon, AKA Max Da Costa, is exposed to a lethal dose of radiation while working a dangerous job in a factory. Having only days to live, he decides to infiltrate Elysium – a seemingly impossible task. To help his odds, he acquires a cyborg-like exoskeleton, which gives him augmented strength and reflexes. It turns him into a nightmare for the bad guys, as Max proceeds to shoot and smash his way through the rest of the movie.

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The Medical Pods

The biggest perk of being an Elysium citizen is that you get an all-access pass to the ‘Med-Pods.” You just lay down in the pod, it scans you, diagnoses, and then cures whatever disease you have. Sounds pretty sweet right? Oh, and it also apparently extend your life. The catch is that the elite super-rich of this futuristic world restrict who is a citizen, so only they have access to this piece of wondrous technology.  Needless to say, the residents of Earth go to desperate measures to try and get to Elysium.

You've Gotta See Elysium — Essential Cyberpunk Cinema

Dude Gets His Face Blown Off By A Grenade Then Gets It Rebuilt

One of the henchmen that work for the Elysium overlords gets in a scrap with Max, and in a Cronenberg-like way, loses most of his face due to a well-placed grenade. Still alive and kicking, his buddy wearily places him in one of the high-tech Med Bays, where his features are rebuilt by the futuristic medical machines. Gore and weird bodily injuries are a feature of Neil Blomkamp movies, and this scene fits the mold of the gross over-the-top fighting style of the young director.

You've Gotta See Elysium — Essential Cyberpunk Cinema

Matt Damon + Rail Gun

It’s not just the medical tech that is super advanced in this movie – the military gear is pretty rad, as one would expect. Our hero manages to get his hands on a “ChemRail” gun, which uses some kind of pulse-electro power to shoot bullets through crates, bulkheads, walls, and any henchmen dumb enough to stand in the way.

We know cyberpunk movies, so let us tell you what you’re missing. What’s timeless? What didn’t age so well? Share this article, and we’ll make the case for Elysium.

Did we miss something here? Was there an unforgettable scene or classic one-liner that just shouldn’t be left out? What are your favorite parts of this movie? Leave us a comment below, and we’ll try to update the article with your suggestions!

Hey, chum. These posts don't write themselves. If you wanna stay in the know, it's gotta be a two way street.*

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