The Wandering Earth

Vampire Owl: Do you think that Earth can wander?

Vampire Bat: I have never known about Earth being a wanderer. Can it go to tourist destinations and see places?

Vampire Owl: This movie has Earth wandering around with he help of human technology to escape the solar system to save all life.

Vampire Bat: So, you mean to say that extinction is delayed in this case too.

Vampire Owl: Yes, this time it is the Chinese that saves the day.

Vampire Bat: So, after The Monkey King 2 and The Mermaid, it is time for another full-length Chinese movie.

Vampire Owl: Yes, and we haven’t had something like Interstellar, Gravity or The Martian in a very long time.

Vampire Bat: Yes, we have missed space as well as the possible end of the world.

Vampire Owl: There are not many things that I have missed so much.

Vampire Bat: This one looks grand. So, it could assure fine quality science fiction during the possible end of the world.

[Gets a plum cake and three cups of ginger tea].

What is the movie about? :: The Sun which is getting older is about to turn into a red giant and would engulf Earth’s orbit very soon, and this realization forces the world nations to form a United Earth Government, an act of unity which never happened in the long history of humanity. The plan here is to take Earth out of the Solar System to the Alpha Centauri system which is many light-years away, so that mankind can be saved from extinction which seems to be very close. For the same reason, grand thrusters known as the Earth Engines, are built across the planet to keep Earth moving, after stopping its rotation. Many people die due to grand tsunamis that occured after the rotation stopped. As Earth moved away from the sun using the newly formed Earth Engines, the surface was frozen, forcing the remaining people to live in huge underground cities. These areas were built near the engines to make sure that there is enough power.

So, what happens with the events here? :: As this plan to keep Earth moving for many years, almost taking one hundred generations to finish the mission, a young man named Liu Qi (Qu Chuxiao) takes his younger sister Han Duoduo (Zhao Jinmai) on a journey at the surface. It happens to be an unauthorized trip to the surface, but as they travel in a heavy transport vehicle using fake IDs from criminal gangs and also using their grandfather Han Zi’ang’s (Ng Man-tat) heavy vehicle clearance pass. But their journey is halted by the security forces who takes them to prison, and they are soon joined by their grandfather who tries to bribe the authorities to get them out. Liu Peiqiang (Wu Jing), Liu Qi’s father is an astronaut who is at an international space station that is supposed to help navigate the Earth on its journey that would last thousands of years, and also has DNA of animals and seeds of plants stored to ensure better life in the next solar system.

And what is to follow later in this tale? :: Liu Peiqiang’s mission in space is finally going to end and is all set to return to Earth after the Chinese New Year, and meet his son who has been very unhappy about leaving him behind. Liu Qi’s only happiness in the world is his adopted teenage sister Han Duoduo who was saved during the tsunamis by his grandfather. But the plans of a possible family reunion is soon destroyed, as huge earthquakes occur on Earth, as the planet has a gravitational spike during its journey close to it, instead of gaining a gravitational assist, and the Earth Engines are disables as a result. This would get Earth much closer to Jupiter, setting it on a collision course with the giant gas giant, which is many times bigger, and would mean the end of human life on all cities. With all the destruction around, the family escapes from the prison along with a fellow prisoner named Tim (Mike Sui) who is half-Chinese and half-Australian, as they get caught in a mission to save Earth. But can they do it and move Earth away from the largest planet in the solar system?

The defence of The Wandering Earth :: The movie does manage to have some good performances from Qu Chuxiao in the lead, Wu Jing as the father figure, Li Guangjie as the captain, Zhao Jinmai as the sister figure, Ng Man-tat as the grandfather figure, and others who support pretty well. But the movie is never that much about people, even though the emotional side is awakened at times, especially related to the family relations – the big advantage of the movie remains with the action-filled adventure set in the future, nicely managed in a world which is very well designed. There is a fine world that we see here, giving our eyes some beauty which is there to stay even after we finish watching the movie. The post-apocalyptic world is among the best, and the designs of the underground cities, the grand engines with the view of Earth and Jupiter, the new frozen world on the surface, and the message of hope are all nicely delivered. The thrills are delivered well.

The claws of flaw :: Even though the emotional touch is surely there, the characters remain underdeveloped, and the sister character, even though becomes one that catches our attention, doesn’t have that depth – the father-son relationship also struggles to move on, and the final sacrifice is the one thing that saves it, as its background remains too strained to be likable. There is also a certain amount of predictability related to that, and even with a new idea of using the Earth to go to another solar system instead of a spaceship to take people to another planet, the idea is not that much explored to the full potential. Even with the final attempt being something of zero chance of survival, when people go for it instead of supporting the survival of the species, one has to wonder what kind of astronauts and scientists are these people. At least the Artificial Intelligence did loss hope in mankind by then. This one surely needs a sequel to let us know how it goes after that fine finish, and I hope that it arrives soon.

How it finishes :: The Wandering Earth is undoubtedly the best Chinese full-length movie which I have watched so far, but it has to be noted that I haven’t watched many of those movies. It is a visually stunning spectacle which takes you on an apocalyptic as well as post-apocalyptic journey through a world which needs to be saved, and this is where the science fiction wears it action-adventure boots, and gets you on a thrilling adventure. It might not make you feel that it is entirely new inside, but what you see on the outside with its idea, is innovative. It might feel familiar at times, but also impressive, when you witness this grandeur on the screen. It is China’s third highest-grossing movie of all-time, and it might be their first full-scale space adventure, with apocalypse written all over it. Loosely based on the 2000 novel with the same name by Liu Cixin, the movie has you immersed in that world from the future.

Release date: 5th January 2019
Running time: 125 minutes
Directed by: Frant Gwo
Starring: Qu Chuxiao, Li Guangjiem, Ng Man-tat, Zhao Jinmai, Wu Jing, Qu Jingjing, Zhang Yichi, Yang Haoyu, Li Hongchen, Yang Yi, Jiang Zhigang, Zhang Huan

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Passengers

What is the movie about? :: It is a long time into the future with space technology being very much capable of almost anything that has been dreamt about right now. It has reached a state of near perfection that science is now something that cannot fail to deliver the promises which are calculated and made, no matter what the circumstances are. There is the highly advanced spaceship named Avalon which is transporting around five thousand colonists and a crew of two hundred and fifty eight suspended in hibernation pods to the new colony far away in space, the planet Homestead II through a journey that is expected to take one hundred and twenty years. Just thirty years into its journey, the ship comes across an asteroid belt, and despite keeping the shield strength at its highest, hits one of the huge projectiles, and faces multiple errors, all of it the ship repairs by itself while on autopilot, but there is the connection to pod number 1498 which gets struck hard, and the system is unable to repair the same.

So, what happens next? :: This problem awakens the passenger in hibernation inside the pod, a mechanical engineer named Jim Preston (Chris Pratt), ninety years earlier than he was supposed to wake up. After the early briefing and classes, he realises that he is the only one awake, and it is too early considering the fact that he was supposed to wake up only four months before the ship made landfall – at this rate, he was only going to age and die before the ship reached its destination. He tries sending a message to Earth, but not only does it prove expensive, the same is going to take nineteen years to arrive at the home planet, and the earliest reply is estimated to take fifty five years. He tries getting inside the pod again, and even repairing the pod using the instructions and his own technical skills, but there is no hope there. He tries to contact the people responsible, but the only people whom he gets to speak with are the machines and all he receives are automated answers.

And where does things go from there? :: After having tried everything including breaking in to places, Jim gets ready to accept his fate, talking and spending time with Arthur (Michael Sheen), an android bartender on the ship, as well as forcing himself into the areas of higher class passengers and enjoying special privileges. One year goes by, and Jim gets more and more disappointed about his situation, and even thinks about committing suicide, despite finally deciding against it. There is almost nothing new happening out there, and the spaceship just goes on through its path. But one day, while going through the pods, he come across Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence) sleeping in her pod. He watches her profile and video and immediately falls for her, a writer. After thinking deep about it, he makes her pod malfunction, and she also awakens. He tells Arthur not to reveal the truth behind her pod to her.

And where are things heading now? :: Aurora, hopeless at first about the fact that she is going to age and die before reaching her dream destination, goes through the same things that Jim tried, and finally decides to write about her experiences during the journey. Soon, the two become very close to each other. Aurora trusts Jim as the only other person there, and the one last human being she is going to see in her life before she dies. But things don’t go that smooth as expected, and there is no perfect love story coming up here. The secret will be revealed, as Aurora will find out the truth behind her pod failure, and she won’t be the same person after that. At the same time, another pod will malfunction, and the same will awaken Gus (Laurence Fishburne), a Chief Deck Officer. He will reveal a few things about the current situation of the ship, which will threaten the lives of everyone on board. Can the ship be saved from a terrible fate that awaits, and can Jim and Aurora work together for the same?

The defence of Passengers :: Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence are undoubtedly great together – there is a great chemistry going on there. The visuals are nothing less than stunning, and the spaceship is something that will stay in your minds for its splendour not just outside, but also inside. The swimming pool without gravity is among the best. Yes, the space remains amazing, and so do our ship and the leading characters. This is about the two people, their emotions and the space ship – along with all the saving that is needed in the end. Unlike what the reviewers are constantly saying without thinking deeper about there is one act of sacrifice and selflessness that we get to see in the end. Above all, this is also more like the tale of Adam and Eve, with the two protagonists getting to live with themselves, as the spaceship which faces devastation like our planet does, many years later – it can only be told later if the world in space survives, as the rest of the four thousand nine hundred and ninety eight people will get to be born again into a new world.

The claws of flaw :: There could have been better pacing for a two hour long movie, even though it never really brings the boredom to us. It is also not so good that Laurence Fishburne gets to come too late – there is a little too much going on before that, to be exact. We could have gotten this movie to be shorter by at least fifteen minutes, or rather could have had more action rather than extending the lonely life of the protagonist, and the relationship between the two main characters so much. There is even that happy climax which seems to be forced, but as I read some reviews by a few self-proclaimed intellectual reviewers, I feel that that climax and ending is the best, for it should have irritated their stubborn side a lot more. Maybe, you can search for the reviews with a lot of use of the word “selfish”, and then you can find out the flaws which have discovered, or rather created in this movie – most of them don’t really exist if you look at the flick; for I was very much immersed in this movie.

How it finishes :: The reviews on this movie have remained prejudiced, and that is not surprising considering how these people have been degrading the good movies in favour of those particular kind of movies, and try to make these movies score better at the box-office; it has been going on as a trend. The good thing is that a lot of reviewers from India have succeeded in going beyond that prejudice to like this flick. What surprises us the most is that almost all these reviewers who would do the exact same thing when caught up with a situation like this, have chosen to blame the protagonist, as well as the makers of the movie for so many factors related to the same – some people are just too idiotic to take only selected things into heart, when all these have finally come together to save so many lives in the end. We don’t have one selfish person here, but two, as it is evident from the second character, and it is selflessness and sacrifice that wins in the end – lets hope that people who have no idea of love and sacrifice will one day understand that. Well, who needs a more human story in space when there is Interstellar full of science and no humanity? For action, there are the Star Trek movies, Jupiter Ascending, Guardians of the Galaxy and many more. But this one is also worth it! If you liked this, do watch Pandorum.

Release date: 21st December 2016 (USA); 6th January 2017 (India)
Running time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Morten Tyldum
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen, Laurence Fishburne, Nazanin Boniadi, Andy García, Aurora Perrineau, Vince Foster, Kara Flowers, Julee Cerda, Conor Brophy, Lauren Farmer, Aurora Perrineau, Emerald Mayne, Kristin Brock

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Interstellar

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Vampire Owl :: What if we don’t get the tickets?

Vampire Bat :: Most probably, we won’t get tickets.

Vampire Owl :: Really? Then why are we going?

Vampire Bat :: Because the movie has a wormhole through which may be getting a ticket is possible. It is called Big Hero 6 which should attract all the family audience and spare Interstellar.

Vampire Owl :: If we don’t book the tickets, the only thing that we are going to find should be a black hole. This is the movie of the weekend. Most of the shows at a good number of places are already booked a lot earlier in advance.

Vampire Bat :: Do you know that Big Hero 6 has better reviews than Interstellar?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, but I am allergic to animated movies these days. So, going to the multiplex and watching any available movie won’t work.

Vampire Bat :: Okay, then take out that card and book the tickets. Wait, is that a tattoo on the side of your head?

Vampire Owl :: Yes. I am the owl with the dragon tattoo. Soon, I shall play with fire and then kick a hornet’s nest. It will improve my confidence with owlifier a lot.

Vampire Bat :: Impressive nonsense. Now, can we just book the tickets?

[Goes to bookmyshow website].

What is it about? :: The movie takes into a far future when the world no longer needs engineers or scientists, but farmers as the world has been facing a severe shortage of food as crops are always affected by blight and huge dust storms become a frequent occurence. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a former astronaut lives the life of a farmer in the countryside with his father, son and daughter. His daughter Murphy (Mackenzie Foy) seems to have found some presence in her room which she feels is a ghost, and there are messages being sent, which after being decoded, gets them to a secret NASA building which is planning something huge. It is then revealed that the scientists are attempting to find another planet instead of Earth to colonize, by travelling beyond the known solar system, through a wormhole formed near the planet of Saturn. As nobody else has undertaken a space journey outside simulator, Cooper is assigned the job. But the daughter is not happy about it, and as he decides to save humanity, what will happen to Earth as well as his relationship with his daughter?

The defence of Interstellar :: We have to admit that the movie is something of brutal strength. Christopher Nolan has got the balance here between the emotions and intellect as he keeps them together. The movie is heavy in its drama and at the same time, powerful in its action and special effects, and there lies the beauty of making a mixture which can taste good for more than one kind of viewer. The visual beauty remain stunning, and it is a shame that it didn’t release in 3D in this part of the world. We get a nice look at the heavenly objects and realize that they are indeed belonging to heaven. The two planets as well as the wormhole and the black hole catches our attention. The thrills are powerful, and there are enough twists to keep one guessing. There is no dull moment even when the movie is so long, and it keeps us immersed in the flow, not allowing us to drift away. Interstellar becomes an experience here, and not just a movie that we can watch in an objective manner. The sadness of watching something like Transcendence is drained away by this one too.

Claws of flaw :: The movie’s ending is rather less interesting, and especially with such a great setting and happenings, it needed a better finish; there is some lack of imagination there compared to the movie as a whole. There is also too much Physics being explained, and there we can see the failure to realize that we are not attending a science class but a science fiction; and none of those things are related to what we studied or applicable to real life – they could have just gone on with using “English” rather than scientific terms, and for everything else, there is our willing suspension of disbelief. There are times when visuals struggle too, especially with the looks of the spacecraft. Some dialogues are too overdome too, especially concerning the emotions, as the melodrama gets more powerful. The journey to other planets is not completely utilized, and there are lots of ambiguities that can be guessed, and the lack of the right explanations to be found; there is nothing like getting to point – here it is missing.

Performers of the soul :: Matthew McConaughey is brilliant here – no surprises or twists there as he handles the whole thing without even one flaw there. From the beginning itself, he seems to be clearly attached to the character and doing his best every moment. Anne Hathaway also plays her role to beauty, even as there are some dialogues from her which are rather awkward. But the emotional as well as the intellectual moments are nice whenever she is involved. She shares some of the best moments with the protagonist. Jessica Chastain is also good, and that can be said so because she plays a character which should have no love from the audience and she is successful in the same; being smart and educated doesn’t mean good and caring daughters as we can see in this movie – Mackenzie Foy did the role of the younger her very nicely too. David Gyasi was good there, no doubt. Michael Caine adds to it too. The acting department clearly wins those areas.

Soul exploration :: Interstellar shows us how minute we humans are, in a universe that is stretched beyond all imaginations, like the sand on a beach or like the drops of water that make an ocean. There are a few other movies which this one reminds me of, one of them is Event Horizon and the other is Pandorum. The former dealt with creating an aritificial black hole which used the power of gravity to bring together two points in the space to reduce time taken for space travel, the result being the ability to go beyond the known world into a dimension of evil. The latter had a spaceship going on a hundred and twenty three year journey with sixty thousand people to establish a colony on an Eath-like planet during which there are problems between the crew leading to strange turn of events. Interstellar has elements of these two movies, and I would say that I like those two better. But those movies won’t be that much known in comparison to this, thanks to the hype and the fan-boys. There is also the reminder of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Prometheus.

How it finishes :: Interstellar was one of the most anticipated movie for many, and undoubtedly among the most awaited movies in my list, and there is the huge expectation there which has made sure that the shows are full a lot earlier than they usually are. Even the two Malayalam movies released this weekend don’t seem to have that much rush, but there is that case of the presence in local theatres – still, how well Interstellar is doing is nothing less than a surprise considering the fact that this is the kind of response that only superhero movies and superstar stuff gets, but there is that effect that Gravity had created, still running in the minds. Christopher Nolan is also a name that catches the attention, and even people who haven’t understood Inception after watching for the “n”th time should be willing to take the risk. The collection should be big from this part of the world, and may be this can break the record of Transformers: Age of Extinction, the highest grossing movie of the year – who knows?

Release date: 7th November 2014
Running time: 169 minutes
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Bill Irwin, Ellen Burstyn, David Gyasi, Wes Bentley, Josh Stewart, Mackenzie Foy, Ellen Burstyn, Casey Affleck, Timothée Chalamet, John Lithgow, Topher Grace, David Oyelowo, Matt Damon, William Devane

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Battleship

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What is Battleship? :: I have to admit that I had no idea that this was an alien movie mostly based on the sea before I went on to watch it. Yes, I found out that a Hollywood movie has released in the local theatre which would cost me absolutely no travelling charges and just the fifty rupees for the ticket, and wasted no time in looking for the plot synopsis or the reviews. Convert it, and it is not even one Unites States Dollar – too good for a movie with Hollywood effects. Thank God for the cheap tickets even in those multiplexes. Well, let me tell you that this is a confused movie, as it clearly wonders what is is supposed to do and why it is exists. In the meaningless or rather absurd world that it creates, the movie wonders what is it doing. But there is lot of entertainment in store in that world. If people can make Krrish 3 a superhit, why not this one? Always a better science fiction story than Krrish 3 – with better graphics, better story and a lot more. The best thing is that nobody really comes up and gives it a four out of five.

The Setting :: I always loved Battleship as the guessing game that it is. In spite of reminding me of that very old game called Minesweeper which I played while my computer lab hours of Plus Two, it was fun enough and may be one of those few games which I could just win by making some of the most stupid guesses. I didn’t know how to play the other games including Hearts, Solitaire and Backgammon and my only hope was to install Pinball or Allen Border’s Cricket – those were the days of floppy games, the memories keeping me nostalgic. So here comes Battleship as a movie, and I wondered how is it related to the game? May be because the makers were trying too much of a guessing game about the success of this movie, or may be our hero’s guess work has finally paid off and the alien invaders are defeated. There is indeed a lot of strange happenings in the movie, and I would like to guess that the aliens too guessed after having their own guessing game, may be named “Starship” – yes this has aliens and the military, and lots of battleships from both sides.

What is it about? :: Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) is an undisciplined U.S. Navy officer who is in love with Samantha Shane (Brookyln Decker) who is the daughter of Admiral Terrance Shane (Liam Neeson) and our hero is just steps away from being discharged from the navy. But sometimes good things come in the form of an invasion and the best things come in the form of an alien invasion, that too concentrating in the ocean, thus giving him that opportunity to be the alien war hero. Well, five alien spacecrafts arrive, thanks to the curious Earthling cats trying to kill themselves with their space programs and their attempts to communicate and travel to the other world. The Navy fleet comes in contact with an alien fleet and gets most of their forces destroyed. With most of the people dead and Alex Hopper being the next person on charge, he has to take on the aliens with whatever crew he has left (which obviously includes Rihanna’s character) while his girlfriend who is with a U.S. Army veteran tries to take on some other aliens in another way.

The defence of Battleship :: It is better than the other two alien movies which turned out to be success at the box-office in the earlier years, Skyline (2010) and Battle: Los Angeles (2011), but this wouldn’t be that much of a box-office success, mostly due to the higher budget and secondly due to it coming later, after Cowboys and Aliens as well as The Darkest Hour, none of them creating that big impression which the alien movies needed. I don’t think that none of these movies are bad though. Well, I would say that this one needs to be watched just for its action sequences, well-designed alien spacecrafts and weaponry, the special effects and the well-designed alien creatures. We could take the virus-logic of the 1996 Will Smith movie which they decided to name Independence Day and most of the audience accepted the movie which one of the worst climaxes that anyone could think about, and so thinking more about this movie is vain, and one has to accept this one for the effort that was put into it and all that has worked.

The claws of flaw :: There is good design, but that mostly leaves the alien ships as transformers of the ocean (but still having their own style), and the movie concentrates rather too much on the navy which is rather an overdose which one could have avoided. They could have had it, but with lesser emphasis on the awesomeness of that navy or rather decreasing the screen-time. Yes, the name of the movie is Battleship, but it doesn’t mean that you have to praise battleships and show them again and again making us feel that it is the hero and the characters are not important at all. You have someone like Taylor Kitsch and someone as awesome as Liam Neeson, but where is the focus? On the battleships of humans and aliens. May be it can have a big basket to keep its collection of cliches. When a movie tries to claim that it is adapted from a game like Battleship, what can you expect? They can’t even copy the cutscenes or dialogues! Why water? Because they want to show battleships a lot!

Performers of the Soul :: Taylor Kitsch is there playing the protagonist (the one which is human), but doesn’t have that good a role which could prove his abilities, and is still good with the character. John Carter was awesome and his performance was great, and another thing that I appreciate about him is that he is ready to do a sequel to the movie which might be highly unlikely due to its previous box-office performance. I am proud of thee and Lynn Collins. He deserves better than this, just like John Carter deserved a lot more. I really don’t know why they had Rihanna in the movie, and it is a question better left unanswered. Brooklyn Decker has her presence, but one has to think that she wasn’t really needed in this movie, and this so much pales in comparison to how she has been in Sports Illustrated. Another question is that how could they waste an actor like Liam Neeson is such an insignificant role? Ra’s al Ghul and Jean Veljean should dislike that, and I am not even going to Oskar Schindler.

How it finishes :: Battleship is more of an excuse to make another alien invasion movie and get some box-office collection from it. People can watch it to stare at Brooklyn Decker, but it also gives us some reasons why the third movie of Transformers was not that good (as if the second was of any good). This movie also has the CGI and special effects which rival that series, and has Brooklyn Decker instead of Megan Fox and the other lady who was there for the looks. Battleship will not be a movie franchise like Transformers, and this might be the last time we see such an alien movie based on the ocean, but this movie can surely provide us with a lot of entertainment as long as one chooses to watch it. This is still a better movie than Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Transformers: Dark of the Moon – if you ever come across these movies at the same time on television, watch this one; has more logic, common sense, style and even better characters and story than the mis-adventures from Bay, and not to forget the use of graphics and the right use of special effects on the explosions and stuff.

PS: If anyone wishes to like my movies page on Facebook, it is right here -> https://www.facebook.com/pages/Movies-of-the-Soul/378583758873946

Release date: 18th May 2012
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Peter Berg
Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgård, Rihanna, Brooklyn Decker, Liam Neeson, Tadanobu Asano, Jesse Plemons, Adam Godley, Gregory D. Gadson, Peter MacNicol, John Tui, Hamish Linklater

battleship! copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Elysium

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So here comes the movie which I have been waiting for, since the day it released in the United States, and then again starting another big wait from the day in released in the United Kingdom. This was also the movie I was looking forward to watch in 2013, after Pacific Rim. Other than the presence of Matt Damon, the other interesting thing about this movie was what was told in the brief summary associated with it, and surely that name. The name was quite familiar in relation to some of the stories related to Greek mythology which I had come across during my childhood. Yes, that varied vision of paradise had left a mark, and here is that name revisited through this movie, not as what comes after afterlife, but all the same which are enjoyed during this life. The movie is set in 2154, when a group of wealthy people left the Earth after coming to know that their kind had destroyed the planet with greed and lavishness. With all the resources that remained on Earth, they created Elysium, a luxurious space station just outside the planet’s orbit to live a life free of disease and pollution. The lived a life of comfort assisted by robots and superior medical care, while the people of Earth were made to live on a devastated land, policed by robots sent from Elysium and deprived of their rights.

Max Da Costa (Matt Damon) is a former criminal on parole working in Armadyne, the same company which built Elysium. But he is exposed to lethal radiation during an accident and is left with just five days to live. All is not well in Elysium either, as Elysian Secretary of Defense Jessica Delacourt (Jodie Foster) orders a mercenary on her payroll, Kruger (Sharlto Copley) to shoot down civilian shuttles full of illegal immigrants trying to make it to the city of their dreams. Elysian President Patel (Faran Tahir) condemns her action on the basis of human rights which leads to a cold war between the two. As Jessica looks forward to having more power and keeping it, makes a deal with Armadyne’s CEO John Carlyle (William Fichtner) to create a program that can shut down, reboot and override Elysium’s central computer in order to make her the new President. Carlyle creates the program in his office on Earth, encrypts it and uploads it to his brain so that he could take it back to Elysium for secret deployment. With the help of his friend Julio (Diego Luna), Max seeks help from a skilled smuggler Spider (Wagner Moura) to go to Elysium and get cured, to which Spider asks for Max to steal some information from Carlyle. He agrees, and supported by an enforced exoskeleton, he goes on a mission which could change the life of a lot of people.

Coming from Neill Blomkamp who gave us District 9, this movie is somewhat a let-down, and it struggles to keep its standard as high as that wonderful flick. Still, it is certain that the base of both of these movies are the same, and both deals with somewhat the same issue, which is the difference between the oppressor and the oppressed, the privileged and the under-privileged, the powerful and the subaltern. The 2009 movie had aliens coming to Earth and living on the planet only to become second-rate citizens, while our 2013 movie has humans going to a space station and making the rest of their kind second-rate citizens or rather the lesser species – almost the same thing. The protagonist is from the subaltern group this time though. Both are about the horrible divide between people, sometimes about the rich and the poor, and otherwise racial or ethnic in nature. The evil of the multinational corporations as well as the government funded policing of groups which are different in some way or the other, also exists. Elysium makes a good attempt to carry on that idea of divide which formed the skeleton of District 9, and adds more elements of science fiction and powers it using the expensive fuel of post-apocalyptic fiction which sells, and in the process it hurts the inner core.

This is undoubtedly Matt Damon’s movie, and one has to doubt it would have worked this well without him. In the dystopic future where Earth has become nothing more than a big slum of devastated towers and a collection of small ghettos. He plays a former criminal who wishes to go to Elysium so that he could save his own life, but later he transforms into something more, as the saviour of not only his friend’s daughter, but also of millions who can’t afford the riches of the new first world. He is a confused revolutionary and a saviour who doesn’t decide his change, but rather it happens to him. He becomes what the nun who raised him had told him when he was a child – for he became someone special, an act which is supported by flashbacks which works, but not the way the audience might have wanted. This might be his best performance since the first three movies in the Bourne series. The character should have done better with a little more attention to his thoughts and change rather than just making him change as if it was there in him since childhood. Surely, he could have had more to work with, and this movie’s overuse of brain has seriously worked against the character of Max, which could have been drawn from another level.

I am rather surprised that Jodie Foster is not the main villain in the movie, as I thought this was going to be her wonderful performance in the form of another great villain, from what it seemed in the trailer. We wanted that villain, and in the beginning stages of the movie, we also get the feeling that it is how it is going to be. It is a shame that she doesn’t impress at all this time. But there would be Sharlto Copley rather than Jodie in a performance which is quite strange even though good. But this is one character who shouldn’t have had this much screen presence even as the man seems to live in the character and keep it a level above most of the movie. In a movie which is something more than a science fiction, this is not the main villain we want, for this is a more suitable secondary villain character. The need for a more powerful in intellect and yet normal in muscular strength villain was there, and this need is not fulfilled. Its good to see Alice Braga after her last action movie Predators, to which I hope there will be a sequel. She plays the childhood friend of Max, and the one who has a deep impact on him. Despite the smaller screen presence, she makes a very good impact. William Fichtner could have made a great major villain, but his character dies too early for us to get a glimpse of a possible evil. He still symbolizes the corporate evil, the power of the multi-national entities which became inter-planetary entities.

There is action and there is the hidden theme of the lack of humanity and the division between humans. But the action is mostly of inferior quality and the social message is not that powerful as one would expect to. I would consider Oblivion a far better flick intellectually, and District 9 a far more effective movie with its social message. As far as entertainment is considered this won’t be a Star Trek: Into Darkness nor a Prometheus visually. Elysium is another one of those escapist fantasies for sure, but its bridge towards the social message is not that much a perfectly crafted link. Another factor should be that of blood and gore which comes in abundance here, and gets itself an adult certificate with the same, but still doesn’t manage to do it well enough. One has to applaud the visuals though, as the world of Elysium as well as that of Earth are well-detailed, and the robots as well as the flying machines are well-designed and works very fine. The action sequences are lesser, but still not too exaggerated. The movie’s confusion about where it belongs is clearly reflected in all those things which happen throughout its own little world. One has to applaud the idea, but still be confused about its effect on oneself, and how to think about this movie. The emotion couldn’t be felt deep enough, and my friend had recommended a seventy three for this, but I thought I should add a little more to the rating.

While the movie drags a bit, and keeps itself in a loop in which it gently repeats itself, there is still enough in its soul to keep us interested and make a good influence. The only movie of this year to which the action of this movie can be compared is World War Z; yes not to Oblivion which had another post-apocalyptic world with a supposed colony of humans in another place as Earth has gone down due to many forces of destruction (a theory which is proved wrong in a twist of fate which is found later). This drags like World War Z and gets the loop working as the same movie. This could have done with a better route in the script, and Jodie Foster as a different, but still the major villain. It is sad that all the potential had this movie only up-to this level – no, I am still glad to have watched this movie, but this should have been a great work on the screen, but it has missed that opportunity, and that is kind of saddening. May be they could have stuck to one thing in this movie rather than making it a masala social message, or may be there could have been a better balance; I wouldn’t be sure, but let me tell you that I was hoping to come out ready to give an eighty to eighty nine for this movie out of hundred, and seventy seven is a disappoint if we look at it that way.

Release date: 27th September 2013 (India); 21st August 2013 (UK)
Running time: 109 minutes
Directed by: Neill Blomkamp
Starring: Matt Damon, Alice Braga, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Diego Luna, Wagner Moura, William Fichtner, Brandon Auret, Josh Blacker, Emma Tremblay, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Valentina Giros, Maxwell Perry Cotton, Faran Tahir

elysiums copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.