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Elysium (8 out of 10)
directed by Neill Blomkamp
written by Neill Blomkamp
Principal Cast
Matt Damon -- Max
Jodie Foster -- Delacourt
Sharlto Copley -- Kruger
Alice Braga -- Frey
Diego Luna -- Julio
Wagner Moura -- Spider
William Fichtner -- John Carlyle
For a long time now I've been rating films from one to four stars. Starting with The Wolverine review, I've switched to a rating from 0 to 10. Why? Because it is a much better three star film than Man of Steel was. Man of Steel was a 7. The Wolverine is an 8.
Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rick Norwood

Elysium is an allegory of the one percent in the guise of action science fiction, and a very enjoyable one, if you don't take it seriously.

Several reviews I've read say the plot doesn't hold together. They confuse plot and setting. The plot holds together very well. As contrasted with most action movies, where everybody is either a sidekick or a henchman, whose only purpose in life is to delay the final confrontation between the hero and villain for an hour and a half, in Elysium there are half a dozen well-drawn characters, each acting for their own interests, who nevertheless move the plot forward to the necessary confrontation between the working man everyman and the tough-minded conservative woman.

The setting is the problem. It has none of the hard-science thinking that is one of the principle pleasures of Robert A, Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke. I'll limit myself to just three points a science fiction writer would have covered. 1) A large population has to eat. Where are the produce trucks? Where are the farms? 2) A space station is vulnerable. Many poor people have access to spaceships. A few rocks put in orbit by angry terrorists would bring down the shiny wheel in the sky. 3) Flesh does not become invulnerable just because you encase it in steel.

There are more scientific errors, many more, but you can probably figure them out for yourself.

On the political side, where was the propaganda? From the time of the Roman Empire, the 1% have understood very well the necessity of using religion and racism to keep the 99% fighting among themselves.

And yet, taken as fable, I enjoyed the story, because I believed in the characters, and because the action never stops.

Copyright © 2013 Rick Norwood

Rick Norwood is a mathematician and writer whose small press publishing house, Manuscript Press, has published books by Hal Clement, R.A. Lafferty, and Hal Foster. He is also the editor of Comics Revue Monthly, which publishes such classic comic strips as Flash Gordon, Sky Masters, Modesty Blaise, Tarzan, Odd Bodkins, Casey Ruggles, The Phantom, Gasoline Alley, Krazy Kat, Alley Oop, Little Orphan Annie, Barnaby, Buz Sawyer, and Steve Canyon. Visit his web site at

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