WHEN director Neill Blomkamp burst onto the scene with his stunning debut District 9, it was easy to see the future was bright for the South African.
After making best friend and actor Sharlto Copley a star, Blomkamp then had to turn his attentions to top his five star first film.
So what did he do? He upped the budget and grabbed an A-list actor to help him as he helmed his second assault on the big screen.
What the audience is left with is Elysium and boy are they in for a treat.
The film is set in the year 2154, where the very wealthy live on a man-made space station while the rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth, a man takes on a mission that could bring equality to the polarized worlds.
Many commentators and reviews have drawn comparisons with Blomkamp’s debut film and I have to admit they are a few that can be seen but this is by no means the same film.
Matt Damon excels in the lead role of Max and cements his billing as one of the best moviestars around with a compelling performance.
There are not many actors who could offer such emotional depth to a character one minute and be engaging in breathtaking fight scenes in the next breath.
He does and it is a joy to behold.
Strong praise should also be reserved for Sharlto Copley.
The star of District 9 reunites with his best friend Blomkamp but this time plays the bad guy of the piece.
In the movie, he is tasked with tracking down Damon’s character and manages to be impressively vile throughout the whole film and is a great counterpoint to the protagonist of the film.
The other star of note in the film is Jodie Foster, who plays the person controlling Copley’s Government assassin.
I have to admit that I have never been a fan of Foster as I find her very harsh and quite wooden as an actress and I am afraid that her role in Elysium does not change my though process.
It is as if she is not even trying at pints, you don’t believe her as a bad guy and she attempts a French/South African/American accent which was just embarrassing.
Whether you are a fan or not of Foster’s work, this is not one that I think she will be looking back on very fondly.
With Blomkamp’s background being in special effects, Elysium was always going to look great.
Its view of the future is one that you could imagine becoming a reality.
There might be spaceships and robots but they do not seem out of place in the film’s future and are also excellently realised.
There are also some great action scenes in the film and some are quite brutal, showing that Damon and Copley in particular had to put him some very hard work to make them look this good.
The only criticism I could levy at the film is that its visuals and tone is not too much of a departure from that of District 9.
However, this is not a complaint as Blomkamp does it so well.
I would stress that if you have seen District 9 and are thinking why should I see this if it is similar - it is simple.
It shows a director on the rise, improving on his debut and showing that he can handle big stars and big budgets with ease.
Apparently Blomkamp’s next film will be a comedy with Copley - now that really could be something.
But until then go and see a great action/sci fi flick with some great performance and outstanding special effects.