So I went to see the latest epic sci-fi film Elysium, the new movie by the South African born director Neill Blomkamp who brought us District 9. Remember the movie that made the word “Prawns” a swear word, yeah that one. As before the viewers from South Africa are privy to many of the insider jokes.
For those who don’t know, District 9 was great, few movies in the Science fiction genre can really claim to be truly original, it could. It was dark, while still being humorous, satire mainly focusing on the treatment of an insect-like aliens confined to, in essence, concentration camps in South Africa.
Elysium actually shares many of the main themes of class, xenophobia, greed and totalitarianism, but this time round it’s far more mainstream in it's conception. It is played out in a dystopian future, to say the world is a polluted mess is an understatement of colossal proportions, so naturally the rich have left it. The privileged have moved on to a space station called, you guessed it, Elysium. Naturally this station is nothing short of an utopia of living ease, many stunning gardens, people dressed in Armani for lunch and speak eloquent french while doing so. This all happens while those less fortunate below suffer a barbaric life of squalor. Matt Damon plays Max the protagonist a blue-collar ex-criminal trying to walk the straight and narrow in the world below, fighting in vain against the totalitarian system. Some comical times in how he talks to his mechanical superiors though. Then he gets a “Full dose” of radiation in an accident at his menial day job and thus has the required incentive to find a way to get up top for treatment. Oh, by the way, those on the station above have a medical table device straight out of the Stargate series (which Blomkamp was a 3D Animator for) that will heal you from anything, and I do mean anything… well you’ll see.
Now the cinematography and effects are phenomenal but the plot, well its not in the same league as what we came to expect. It’s formulaic in its predictability but the formula is tried and tested and it’s done so because it works, but still, disappointing. That being said I came out of the cinema entertained so can’t really complain.
What I have to mention is that the performance that stole the movie for me (and the source of most of mine and fellow viewers laughs) was not that of Matt Damon nor of Jodie Foster, the nemesis, but that of Sharlto Copley (he was brilliant in District 9 as well) who plays the mercenary aptly named Kruger who is charged by Jodie’s character to hunt down Max. I say aptly named because like Copley himself, Kruger is a South African ‘Boet’ through and through with an accent that is truly pushed to its limits. Seriously, he sings the whole of Jan Pierewiet, I swear! and the best is when he entices Max with this pearler “Ja, Lekker and other Kak”. Even his helicopter has the South African flag on it which apparently is still the same in 2154.
So in conclusion, it’s not winning any screenplay awards but it’s worth the watch especially if you are from South Africa, then you won’t be able to help yourself laugh at the awesome Saffa vernacular.
Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.