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After Blomkamp shattered the establishment with his cheap and excellent “District 9” some years ago, there was the question of how to follow up on this. A small and intimate drama about Sount-African tribal conflicts could have been an option, a black actors’ version of Hamlet an unexpected liberating choice, or a big-ass science fiction cgi jamboree with star acting power. He chose the latter, kind of a re-doing of his previous feature for people with more money, and I am not sure whether this was a good choice. Despite all its imaginative world-scaping and wide scope beyond Earth, it feels a wee bit conventional. What’s more, if you can say after just two feature films that Sharlto Copley is a household name in the Blomkamp universe, maybe it should be considered to change this. Establishing this actor as eccentric oddity can only, I think “Elysium” proves, only be carried that far as a concept. While his introduction was promising (“Get Krueger”), he very soon started to get in my nerves with his exaggerated accent and his ruthless killer attitude. Jodie Foster had her own problems, it seems, it’s the first time I see a major actress getting dubbed over (and not very well) in a major motion picture – was she experimenting with a similarly stupid accent and postproduction decided that it is unbearable? The only pleasant presence – as ever – is Matt Damon, likable superstar and world saver, your boy from next door with the muscle power and the brains to save the day and the world.

I do appreciate the splendid look of both worlds Blomkamp conceived, the run-down Hunger-Gamish District 11 Earth and the Gardens of Eden on the space station revolving in safe distance from Earth for the benefit of the better-off. If you take these looks away, however, there is not much left to keep the mind busy. This would be solid for most directors, but I kind of hoped that Blomkamp would be one of the more edgy kind of directors.

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/elysium_2013/

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