Zack & Nick's Culture Cast

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Leftover Questions: Elysium Edition

At its worst, Elysium is a clumsy, heavy-handed political allegory disguised as a futuristic action film. That’s not to say that such a thing couldn’t be good (most sci-fi products are rooted in politics), but the film is done in such a way that it renders the message of the movie essentially meaningless. This isn’t really an article designed to point out the political idiocy of Elysium’s dumb message (which simply boils down to giving everyone exactly what they want at all times). No, I don’t hate Elysium as a film at all, but it is a film absolutely riddled with plot holes, logical inconsistencies, and characters acting a certain way because the plot demands them to. These are my leftover questions for the film – questions I have been thinking about for a few days now.

Warning: Constant Spoilers! Be warned!

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What purpose does the president of Elysium serve when it seems Jodie Foster’s character has total control over everything on Elysium? Is he just a figurehead? If so, why does he even attempt to reprimand Foster if his words basically serve no consequence?

Elysium is the only place that has access to high-tech “med-pods,” medical bays that can heal essentially any human ailment. Why would not one single hospital on earth have access to these med-pods? Wouldn’t medical departments of prestigious universities have them as well? Where are the med-pods built and assembled? Could thieves not simply target the med-pod factories instead of basically killing themselves trying to get to Elysium over and over again?

How is Jodie Foster able to keep a covert team of maniacs (Kruger and his men) on Elyisum’s payroll for so long without the other important rich people on Elysium knowing about them? How is Foster even introduced to Kruger in the first place. I can’t imagine they have all that much in common considering Foster is a rich megalomaniac and Kruger is an insane military veteran.

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When Kruger and his men shoot down the ship carrying the illegal immigrants at the beginning of the movie, it is referenced as being one occurrence out of many. Why would Jodie Foster be reprimanded over this if she has already ordered it to happen many times in the past? It is clear from past behavior that Foster has no empathy for the plight of the immigrants. Taking her to task for something she has already done a considerable amount of times in the past basically serves no purpose whatsoever.

Jodie Foster’s big plot reveal is that she asks William Fichtner’s sniveling character to provide her with a reboot of Elysium’s system. Why would Jodie Foster expect a reboot of the system to even work in the first place? Hasn’t anyone on Elysium ever had to reboot their computer in the past? It is literally as easy as holding the power button down for four seconds. How could Foster possibly think she could seize power simply by doing this?

To that end, even if the reboot sequence had a “virus” in it or whatever (something brought up by the character Spider but never properly explained), does Elysium not have a single computer/software engineer on hand to deal with that? Do they not have tech support for the complicated programs run on Elysium just to keep things like the atmosphere and the oxygen levels in check? Does Norton Antivirus not exist in the future?

Furthermore, how much more control over Elysium does Foster even need? It is quite clear that she is one of the most powerful people, if not the most powerful person, to live there. Could she have not simply used the power she already has to have the president of Elysium overthrown in a manner that would have made considerably more sense (especially since it is already established that the president is basically a figurehead)?

Matt Damon is exposed to a highly lethal level of radiation and is given five days time to live. How can this even be accurately predicted whatsoever? Even if you explain away that it’s the future, it is already established that the best medical technology to ever exist is only available on Elysium. The generic “5 days to live” bullshit is nothing more than a conceit of the script.

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Matt Damon’s powered armor/exoskeleton suit also makes no sense whatsoever, considering his character’s recent health circumstances. He has only days to live, but he wastes valuable time having this suit grafted onto his body. How could his body have possibly been strong enough to withstand such abuse?

Also, one of his primary goals is to reach a med-pod and have his radiation sickness cured. But now he has this metal suit grafted to his skeleton like he’s fucking Wolverine or something. Would the med-pod not freak out and attempt to heal his body in addition to the radiation already poisoning him? The gangsters who installed his exo-skeleton (yeah, that’s right – med-pods don’t exist on earth, but gangsters perform complex surgeries) basically chopped up his bones and drilled into his skull. There’s no way he would have healed by the time he reached Elysium.

How is Matt Damon even remotely capable of controlling his new suit? It gives him super strength and looks complicated as hell, but he is not once ever given any instructions on how to utilize the suit to any kind of potential. He looks clumsy in battle and basically wings it throughout the rest of the movie, which means that it …

… makes no sense whatsoever when he’s able to so adequately fight with and eventually overpower three combat-hardened, grizzled security agents of Elysium who have far more experience, technical and tactical training, and firepower than he does. This is, ladies and gentleman, what we refer to as complete bullshit.

Speaking of the security agents, why would Jodie Foster continue to employ them after they make it quite clear that they are reckless, dangerous, and too stupid to live? Kruger himself gets his face blown off foolishly, and one of his men attempts to sexually assault Alice Braga’s character while she’s detained and it is clear that a pissed-off Matt Damon is coming to rescue her.

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The high-tech weaponry on Elysium is pretty cool, but why is there an entire armory full of it when there seems to be only three security agents for the entire system? Also, these agents primarily live *on earth* which means an armory on Elysium makes little sense. It is true that there are droids that protect Elysium, but a high tech rail-weapon in the hands of a droid on a peaceful habitat also makes no sense, especially considering it isn’t established in the movie that droids ever even use projectile-weaponry (remember when one used a billy-club to break Damon’s arm?).

After Jodie Foster dies, why would Kruger even continue to fight against Damon? What is in it for him if he succeeds now that his boss, who had apparently promised him wealth or something I guess, is now dead? Kruger is basically fighting against Damon at this point because the script demands it.

Why would Elysium have an ambulance service with dozens of med-pods on it when seemingly every single home on Elysium is already equipped with a med-pod? Each ambulance looks like it has about 30 or so med-pods on it, but each house already has its own pod. In what circumstance whatsoever is this a viable use of the technology, let alone the pricey resources needed to manufacture and maintain that technology?

When the ambulances land on earth at the very end of the movie, would rioting amongst the massively over-populated cities of earth not occur over who gets to use the med-pods first? People in our own society start to get agitated over waiting in line at the supermarket for longer than ten minutes. A violent, massively crowded populace trying to get to what basically amounts to a medical miracle seems like a recipe for absolute disaster.

What are your leftover questions for Elysium?

-Z-

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7 responses to “Leftover Questions: Elysium Edition

  1. Nick! August 13, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    The obvious answer to all of this is clearly “Occupy Wall Street”.

  2. ZoCal September 19, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    Why does Krugar get upset when he sees his face in the mirror after it was reconstructed from the bomb?

  3. StryderIV February 21, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    Kruger is a maniac and Jodie knows that but he is still the most effective sleeper agent Elysium security has on earth mostly because of his lack of empathy.
    Although the woman played by Jodie has power she is not in charge except in situations that endanger the habitat.
    Your Kruger questions keep ignoring the fact that he is mentally unstable.
    This all seems biased.

    • CultureCast-Z February 24, 2014 at 6:50 am

      “This is all seems biased.”

      That’s about the dumbest statement I’ve ever read on this blog. Of course it is biased — all reviews are inherently biased (or at least they should be). I am certainly biased against Elysium as it is a fucking terrible movie. It’s the kind of dreck a director like Neill Blomkamp should be well expected to be completely and totally above based on how awesome his first feature film was. The story and characters within Elysium are some of the most patronizing bullshit I’ve seen in a movie in perhaps a decade.

  4. StryderIV February 21, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    Matt plays a hardened but reformed ex-con with a criminal past which indicates some sort of combat capability.
    Neurosurgery in no way means that Matt’s criminal doctors could build highly advanced medbeds.
    The movie clearly shows that just like to today computers in the future are the hardest thing to protect.

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