February 9, 2021
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:
Street Date 2/9/21;
$30.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for strong bloody violence and language.
Stars Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga, Diego Luna, Wagner Moura, William Fichtner.
This 2013 dystopian science-fiction film — written, directed, and co-produced by Neill Blomkamp (District 9) — crafts a world that seems a bit more ominous in our current circumstances.
The film is set in the year 2154, when there are two classes of people living in different worlds: the ultra-wealthy, who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. The rich have access to all the luxuries money can buy, including top-notch healthcare delivered by a pod that can detect and cure illness in minutes.
Max (Matt Damon) — after a childhood yearning to reach Elysium — is now resigned to his fate as a lowly factory worker on Earth after serving a prison sentence for stealing cars. A twist of fate forces him to revisit his mission to go to the idyllic world in the sky, and he enlists the help of criminal friends to get there. Along the way, he reencounters a childhood friend whose daughter has cancer, and she, too, wishes to go to Elysium.
Out to thwart Max’s efforts and keep all undesirables out is Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster in an icily evil turn). A conservative and ruthless defense leader at the space station, she enlists the help of a psychopathic mercenary (Sharlto Copley, who gleefully portrays his character’s relish for violence and delivers snappy, menacing one liners) to keep Max and others from breaching the sky fortress.
The haves and the have nots, exclusive access to healthcare for the wealthy, a coup attempt, environmental degradation — all of this seems to be a bit more conceivable future in 2021 than when this film first came out, giving it a new relevance.
The film is chockfull of action, from gun fights to explosions to blood splattering gore — all of which look (sometimes ickily) realistic in 4K.
“I’m interested in dudes exploding,” Blomkamp says in one of the extras.
Yep, anyone who watches Elysium can attest to that.
The director is enthusiastic about in-camera, on-set effects without the use of computers, making the extras more interesting that usual. It’s always more intriguing to watch special effects teams create actual explosions and blood splatters, and miniatures are more visually interesting than a world created on a computer screen.
Extras on the 4K Ultra HD disc include “Exoskeletons, Explosions and the Action Choreography of Elysium,” about the special effects; “The Hero, The Psychopath and the Characters of Elysium,” about the storyline and characters; “The Art of the Elysium Miniatures,” about a crucial crash scene; “Bugatti 2154,” about how a spaceship version of the luxury car brand made it into the film; and theatrical trailers.
For those interested in delving deeper, the standard Blu-ray Disc in the combo pack includes more hours of bonus content, including an extended scene and several additional featurettes: “Collaboration: Crafting the Performances in Elysium”; “Engineering Utopia: Creating a Society in the Sky”; “Visions of 2154 — An Interactive Exploration of the Art and Design of Elysium”; “In Support of the Story: The Visual Effects of Elysium”; “The Technology of 2154”; and the three-part documentary “The Journey to Elysium.”