Elysium / The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

120px-Film-stripDate night rolled round and the two films that fitted in back-to-back were both effects-heavy, yet different.

Elysium

“I’d like them dead.”

Plot-in-a-nutshell: in a dystopian future, one man needs to get from the poor zone to the rich zone. Violence ensues.

See it if you like: sci-fi with an actual plot and very good effects. And, obviously, District 9.

If you’ve seen the aforementioned (moderately low budget) District 9 then it won’t take more than a few minutes of Elysium starting before the visual similarities make themselves known. Neill Blomkamp does a dystopian wasteland better than most and he’s stuck with the theme for this big-budget outing.

Before I get to the plot and actors, I just have to say that the visuals are superb. They look realistic, the physics in the moving stuff feels just about right, there’s a ton of detail… Basically, they back up and bolster the film making the setting and story that bit more believable. Exactly what effects should be. This is a plot-driven movie with effects to support it, not an effects-driven one with a story tacked on.

Damon is pretty good as the downtrodden ex-con to finds himself in need of medical treatment. The only place to get it is on the orbiting rich-person-only space station Elysium. Their immigration policy is similar to that suggested by certain Australian politicians and begins with “Arm missiles…”.

Leading the posh nobs is President Patel (Faran Tahir), but he’s overshadowed by an as-usual excellent Jodie Foster who’s somewhat more militant in her outlook. In her pay is mercenary Kruger (Sharlto Copley, who played the lead in District 9) who is deliciously nasty.

The story, though, doesn’t flow so much as it staggers. A shame as the various plot strands aren’t bad. For me, they just didn’t move around as well as they could. This only spoiled things a little for me as I was utterly drawn into Blomkamp’s world.

A top notch piece of sci-fi. Nicely silly in places, great to look at and with a very able cast.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

“Everything you’ve heard… about monsters, about nightmares, legends whispered around campfires. All the stories are true.”

Plot-in-a-nutshell: Young girl starts to find out there’s more to the world – and herself – than she thought

See it if you like: Harry Potter, Twilight… teen vampire/magic/werewolf stuff

From sublime sci-fi to ridiculous teen-angst mush. OK, it wasn’t that bad. To start with. But by the time I’d asked myself “Is this it? Is this the climax? Is it over?” I’d just got fed up with the whole thing and wanted to go home. Often, I’ll pass that off as simply being tired and therefore judging the film unfairly but when the wife – who likes this kind of stuff – says the same thing you know the film’s just gone on too… damn… long.

We have a young girl, Clary (Lilly Collins), who starts drawing mysterious symbols subconsciously. Something inside her is trying to get out and an attack on her family leads her to meet Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower) – a “Shadowhunter” who battles demons.

And thence begins a journey where she discovers what’s truly within her, snogs someone, battles vampires, yada-yada-yada. Sorry, but it just seemed to drag on.

The leads are typical teen fodder – pretty girl, brooding boy, unwelcoming peers, nerdy best friend (Robert Sheehan, who’s been far better in everything else I’ve ever seen him in). The story is very predictable, the effects are OK, and – in case I’ve not made the point already – it’s too bloody long.

Started well, got boring, should have limited itself to ninety minutes. It’s officially 130 minutes, but feels like 180.

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Mosh

Elysium / The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones http://t.co/p6qnIc2BGs

Daniel Cruz

Thanks for this post..