I went to see the new Matt Damon movie, “Elysium”
on Friday. And I wasn’t alone: the 99%
filled cinemas this past weekend to enjoy a sci-fi film about the 1%. The
dystopian thriller “Elysium” — which imagines an Earth that has been left to
rot while the rich enjoy themselves on a space station — topped the weekend box
office with $30.5 million, according to studio estimates.
People like science fiction for different
reasons. Some go for the tech. All the cool new stuff that the screenwriter
believes will be coming down the road.
Others appreciate the social/political critiques the sci-fi writers
employ to discuss today’s problems or issues through the use of sci-fi.
The big daddy of the latter category is
George Orwell’s “1984,” the ultimate big-brother- is-watching-you tale. Don’t
you think George would get a kick out of the revealed NSA program to watch (and
listen) to all Internet and telecom communications? Would he give us a big “I
told you so”?
Writer/Director Neil Blomkampf's vision of future in “Elysium” where the rich live in orbiting
space station and oppress the poor below is meant to cause controversy. And it does.
Not everyone is happy with its future vision. Neil definitely is making his point about
what he believes are underlying causes to the illegal immigration issues facing
the U.S. today.
And for the tech lovers, they don’t care about
the social issues. They love the tech, which in this film is very, very good.
Great visions of futuristic LA, hovering over Earth is a wondrous space station
where the rich live in absolute splendor, complete with MRI-like machines that
cure any disease in a matter of seconds. That’s what draws the illegal aliens
from Earth: the chance to run in and get
cured from a life-threatening illness.
I think it’s
great filmmakers come along and make a statement. And I don’t always have to agree with that
message. But it starts a discussion. It causes us to engage with one another.
After all, isn’t our free public discourse what makes America great?