I have recently watched the science fiction film Elysium again. It stars Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Alice Braga, and Sharlto Copley. The film takes place on both a ravaged Earth, In 2154, Which is overpopulated and polluted, where Most of the earth’s citizens live in poverty, on the edge of starvation and with little technology and medical care. Meanwhile Above the Earth The rich and powerful all live on a luxurious space habitat (Stanford torus design) called Elysium. Elysium is technologically advanced with some of its technology including Med-Bays: medical machines that can cure all diseases, reverse the aging process, and regenerate new body parts.
The film stars Matt Damon as Max Da Costa, a former car thief on parole, who lives in the ruins of Los Angeles, and works at an assembly line for Armadyne Corp, a company run by John Carlyle (William Fichtner), who had originally designed Elysium, and now supplies its weaponry, as well as the robots that police Earth. During an industrial accident at the factory, Max receives a lethal dose of radiation. After being rescued, he is informed that he has five days to live before succumbing to radiation poisoning. Desperate for a cure, he and his friend Julio (Diego Luna) seek help from a human smuggler named Spider (Wagner Moura) to get him to Elysium; his only chance for survival is using a Med-Bay.
Meanwhile, a trio of ships full of illegal immigrants from Earth attempt to reach Elysium so Elysian Defense Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster) tries to prevent them reaching Elysium, Only one shuttle makes it and everyone on board is either killed or arrested and deported. Much to the horror ofElysian President Patel (Faran Tahir). Delacourt, vows to protect Elysium and her own power, bargains with John Carlyle to create a program that can override Elysium’s computer core to give her the Presidency. Carlyle stores the reboot program in his brain.
Spider agrees to get Max to Elysium if he can steal financial information from Carlyle. To assist him, Spider’s men surgically attach a powered exoskeleton to Max. With Julio and a team of Spider’s men, Max shoots down Carlyle’s ship, and Carlyle is fatally wounded then Max downloads the program. Alerted to the data theft Delacourt secretly dispatches Kruger andJulio gets killed and Max is wounded. In hospital Max’s childhood friend Frey begs Him to take her daughter Matilda, who has leukemia, to Elysium to be cured. Sadly though after Max leaves Agents Kruger, Drake and Crowe, take Frey and Matilda prisoner while drones hunt for Max.
Max delivers the program to Spider, which can be used to make all Earth residents Elysian citizens and bargains with Kruger to be taken to Elysium, unaware that Kruger is holding Frey and Matilda hostage. Meanwhile Spider and his men also board a ship bound for Elysium. Kruger is badly wounded and his ship crashes on Elysium, Max is knocked out by Drake. Meanwhile Frey escapes with Matilda to locate a Med-Bay, however Crowe arrives and subdues Frey. Max, Frey and Matilda are then taken to Delacourt, and held prisoner.
However Delacourt and the Elysian Political Elite finally get their comeuppance when Kruger Drake and Crowe, try to seize control of Elysium. Meanwhile Max reconfigures the Med Bays to give everyone on Earth Elysian citizenship and free medical treatment and later clobbers Crowe and Drake before freeing Frey and Matilda. Max then meets up with Spider. They then head for Elysium’s core but are ambushed by Kruger, before eventually reaching Elysium’s computer core, to reboot the programme which will registers every Earth resident as an Elysian citizens and eligible for Medical treatment.
The film makes a nice change from the usual fast paced exciting Space epic and has a deeper deliberate social commentary which explores political and sociological themes such as immigration, overpopulation, health care, worker exploitation, the justice system, and social class issues.