Elysium

Having finally got around to Elysium,  one point in particular bears emphasis: There’s only one interesting character in the movie, and she’s a neoreactionary heroine. That’s not a matter of ideological preference. Among the tiny number of characters who might imaginably be thought to know what they’re doing, Secretary of Defense Jessica Delacourt (Jodie Foster) is the only one to be treated with the slightest seriousness.

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There’s a potentially intriguing snakehead gangster (‘Spider’ played by Wagner Moura), but he loses all credibility by morphing without explanation into Robin Hood. (Note to Hollywood: Snakeheads are not carried by any obvious vector of social interest to become proponents of radically open borders — it’s just possible that Blomkamp is screwing with your mind.)

Soulless capitalist John Carlyle (William Fichtner) is reduced to plot prey, whilst the Elysium Davos-liberal President Patel (Faran Tahrir) is nothing beyond a foil for Delacourt. Everyone else in the movie is either a convincing nobody, or an entertaining cartoon.

A quick Elysium synopsis might be in order. By 2154 socialist insanity has long turned the world to shit, in all the ways that anyone with functioning sensory organs already observes happening today. A teeming mass of incompetent, dysgenically-processed, entropically poly-ethnic criminals now populate the earth, whilst the social elites have retreated to an orbital refuge (Elysium). Naturally, the earth is a squalid, polluted, socially-collapsed, and radically decivilized wasteland, whilst Elysium  is a beautiful, functional, productively organized achievement. So far, so obviously realistic.

The earthlings are by now so dim that they don’t even begin to understand why they can’t have good things too. The government of Elysium, in Hollywood /Silicon Valley fashion, can’t help but sympathize (or at least pretend to out of political expediency and social signalling). When Delacourt does her job, therefore, and arranges for Elysium-headed space barges full of “illegals” to be blasted into debris, the government moves to put her on a leash. As a classic neoreactionary, Delacourt quickly understands that defending Elysium will require a regime reboot. (The movie actually uses the word “reboot”, in a far sillier way, for the eventual triumph of the new Cathedral, when the very category of ‘illegality’ is erased from the Elysium computer systems.)

By this point the film has done everything worth doing, and descends unreservedly into ideological slapstick. Delacourt is randomly killed by her own human-rights-violating special operative, in order to clear the last possibility of sanity out of the way. In the end, reliably convincing half-wit thug Max Da Costa (Matt Damon) becomes a stereotypical Hollywood Nu-Jesus by sacrificing himself to obliterate the final remaining fragment of civilization in the name of indiscriminate sharing. Blomkamp has by now completely lost himself in his own hilarity (“quite how stupid can we make this without liberals catching on? Actually, infinitely stupid…”). There’s no reason to get distracted by it here.

Delacourt’s question is the important one: How to maintain the last redoubt of social order, as a spatially-realized system of discrimination, when its own governing elite is fundamentally committed to subverting it? “Do you have children?” she asks the feckless president. He doesn’t even bother to reply. Responsible time-horizons are incompatible with his political office. So she moves forwards with plans for a reboot (which, of course, have to fail — the movie was  released and distributed wasn’t it?).

We need to start printing Delacourt’s image on Tee-shirts*, or something. Move over Darth Sidious. She’s the model villain for a rotten world.

*Begin the marketing in Australia?

October 1, 2013admin 28 Comments »
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28 Responses to this entry

  • Thales Says:

    Bumper stickers: “Delacourt 2016”

    [Reply]

    Posted on October 1st, 2013 at 8:39 pm Reply | Quote
  • Mike Says:

    I can’t help but imagine that “Armadyne” is a portmanteau of “Armalite” and “Cyberdyne”.

    [Reply]

    Posted on October 1st, 2013 at 9:07 pm Reply | Quote
  • Kgaard Says:

    I saw the movie after reading Sailer’s review and — initially — thought it was great. But after noodling on it for a month , I now think the movie is way too pessimistic. The problem is that the film envisages dysgenic breeding occurring at an extremely fast pace — with technological advancement occurring at a too-slow rate on earth. Meanwhile, the Flynn Effect is assumed to stop completely, when in reality it’s probably speeding up. In the movie the earthlings are all still using laptop computers. But those will be gone by 2030. By 2060 we’ll probably be immortal. The LA depicted in the movie is way slummier than what will probably be transpiring then. Even if LA is in fact that slummy, there will be vast stretches of the world that look far BETTER in 2154 than they do today. Possibilities for radical improvement include Jakarta, Mexico City, Sao Paulo etc.

    [Reply]

    Carl Reply:

    You aren’t paying close enough attention. The wikipedia page for the Flynn effect has a whole section devoted to studies pointing to the plateau or even decline in IQ scores over the past 20-30 years. If you look at trends for life expectancy over the past ~50 years there is a slow decline among developed countries. The continuously expanding government control of the health care sector makes it a dubious proposition that we will be able to continue gains at even that anemic rate. There is no reason to expect technology to advance fast enough to avoid massive social unrest and potentially a collapse.

    [Reply]

    Kgaard Reply:

    But I just don’t see any evidence of a TREND toward unrest or collapse. if anything the trends I see are all toward greater social organization. I know that sounds counterintuitive but it’s what I see. It’s possible IQs are declining in developed countries but they’re rising in develop-ING countries. On healthcare … I don’t know … I think the jury is still out. The more I read about Obamacare the more it looks like tweaking around the edges, financed by a garden-variety tax hike. Annoying and communist in spirit, but not an economy or system killer.

    [Reply]

    Steve Johnson Reply:

    Our communist government isn’t ever directly communist. It’s entryist.

    Obamacare is just the start (it’s actually pretty far from the start).

    The cycle is ” regulations to screw something up -> more regulations in response to the screw up -> worse screw up -> more regulation” ad infinitum.

    Posted on October 1st, 2013 at 10:08 pm Reply | Quote
  • Stirner Says:

    Here’s a candidate image for the T-Shirt:
    http://twitpic.com/dfpbpn

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Great. (I tried to grab it, but it got re-sized in the process losing head and slogan.)

    [Reply]

    Posted on October 2nd, 2013 at 12:31 am Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    You’re overlooking something….

    Elites took us here. As Sailer says the great story in America since the 60s is elites making themselves more elite. I steadfastly refuse to blame democracy for the current state of affairs in America, it’s been gone for 80 years. You can’t blame robbery and murder on a man dead 80 years.

    Elites want to not so much build Elysium [they’re already living above Hollywood] as to build the dysgenic world below them. Perhaps you don’t appreciate the extent of their malice – it’s way beyond snobbery – but I do.

    Perhaps in Europe and China the elites don’t hate the people they rule as much as here, but in America – God Hates You.

    American elites offworld would nuke the Red regions of the country, in fact…they’d pretty much nuke the country period. They’re doing the best they can to reduce us to Sept 1945 Hiroshima, one neighborhood at a time.

    [Reply]

    VXXC Reply:

    And no, not every fool should have the vote.

    [Reply]

    Posted on October 2nd, 2013 at 12:39 am Reply | Quote
  • admin Says:

    Better half protesting (persuasively) that the population of Elysium consists of vacuous Swipples (not her word) and that the music of 2154 would be better on earth than in space. Both strong points.

    (Shorter synopsis: A can of swipples is attacked by zombies).

    Traditionalists will probably want to categorize it as a (The Time Machine) Eloi / Morlocks rematch, although with more politically correct outcome.

    [Reply]

    VXXC Reply:

    I’m at disadvantage, I haven’t seen it. Loved District 9 however.

    Swipples aren’t going to get us into space. Their beloved Iphone apps are..mmm. TOYS.

    A race of digital mummers. Remember – it’s a race.

    Have you seen this gem? Kickstart WW3…Obama needs us..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpcSKNfsFLY

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    “Swipples aren’t going to get us into space.” — One of the (very many) reality fails of the movie is that it doesn’t contain a population that could imaginably have built Elysium. If the people who had constructed it actually lived there, they’d be frontier types, probably risking audience identification or at least admiration (and thus undermining the implicit moral necessity of drowning them in zombies).

    [Reply]

    Thales Reply:

    If it had contained that population, it would have been a very different movie.

    Scharlach Reply:

    Delacourt should have allowed a few token Earthlings to live on or visit Elysium, to bring said music and other cultural interests to the elite. This would have made it easier to be a hard-ass behind the scenes, always keeping the proggy president busy touting the next Diversity Event.

    [Reply]

    Steve Johnson Reply:

    Better yet she could have brought in a few pet Earthlings and used them as weapons vs the swipples.

    Then the swipples could do the same to her faction.

    A few more on each side and you’ve got Earth again.

    Hey! It’s the story of democracy!

    [Reply]

    peppermint Reply:

    > music better on Earth

    Mozart and Beethoven were contemporaries. Where are the Mozarts and Beethovens of our generation? Wherever they are, they’re not selling as well as Lil Wayne, ergo, Lil Wayne makes better music?

    Or maybe rap music sells CDs to young Whites who want to hear about sex and drugs and crime, and it’s made by Blacks because feminists can’t object to authentic Black culture.

    The Negroes have been credited with pretty much all the music ever, and the Arabs and Chinese with science, by the same preening Leftists.

    [Reply]

    Thales Reply:

    Where are the Mozarts and Beethovens of our generation?

    They’re making movie scores.

    Progs have trashed the arts bigtime, and classical composition is no exception as it decended into holier-than-thou non-art. Hence the irony of the day: we have the greatest number of amazing classical musicians in the history of the world, but the only contemporary composers with any fame are those who must confront the reality of a genuine audience outside their Progressive peers.

    [Reply]

    Posted on October 2nd, 2013 at 12:42 am Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    better link…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-sdO6pwVHQ

    [Reply]

    Peter A. Taylor Reply:

    Sweet!

    [Reply]

    Posted on October 2nd, 2013 at 12:56 am Reply | Quote
  • Muad'Dib Says:

    Jodie Foster- wont kick Mad Mel to the curb for Crimethink, has directed a film about a child prodigy.
    One wonders what her true opinions of Prog shibboleths might be…

    Elysium- would have been funnier if Medipods For All had been programmed for genomic proofreading with reduced or no fertility for the shlubs who dont even make it to the sows ear.

    [Reply]

    Scharlach Reply:

    Her total commitment to privacy about her homosexuality, before and after coming out, speaks volumes about her. I’m sure there are many people who have pressured her to become the poster woman for LGBT, and she has obviously declined. She is also rumored to have been very selective about sperm donors, contra Madonna who is probably paying some poor nanny top dollar to deal with her sub-Saharan African transplants.

    [Reply]

    Muad'Dib Reply:

    “Clarice, meet the monster Doctor Shockley.”
    “Oh we are already well acquainted.”

    [Reply]

    Posted on October 2nd, 2013 at 4:49 pm Reply | Quote
  • spandrell Says:

    Watching Elysium, it’s apparent he thinks the human race is probably buggered, although the solution he’s holding out for is reassuringly Blomkampian. “The only way things will change is if we’re smart enough to develop technology that can think us out of this, meaning augmenting ourselves genetically to be smart enough to change shit,” he says. “Or to have artificial intelligence and programs to help solve the problems.”

    I think he’d have fun around here.

    [Reply]

    Thales Reply:

    He could certainly do a lot worse if he intends to keep making movies.

    The feeling you get while watching Elysium is the same with any M. Night Shyamalan movie that isn’t Sixth Sense — not quite Lucas prequel hell, but the distinct feeling that the maker has either lost his touch or didn’t know what made his work good.

    [Reply]

    Posted on October 3rd, 2013 at 8:56 am Reply | Quote
  • Michael Soren Says:

    But at the very end [spoiler alert!], the movie pulls what I would think would be it’s main ripped-from-the-headlines allegorical punch–the upshot of declaring all earthlings to be “citizens” of Elysium is *not* that they immigrate there en masse but that Elysium send a bunch of those miraculous (and apparently cost-free) medical cure-all machines to earth. And wasn’t this the most compelling reason presented for the illegals to attempt to come in the first place: not a “better life,” jobs, or “family reunification,” but to cure their sick children? Apparently the West (to run with the obvious analogy) could have solved the problems of the poor all along at little or no cost to itself, let alone civilizational suicide via mass immigration, just by sharing its medical technology.

    Oh wait… we actually did that, along with green revolution agriculture, the industrial revolution, etc., etc. That’s what *set off* the third world population explosion in the first place–western medicine and food dramatically cutting the death rates of the poor with no corresponding reduction in births. This does not seem to have occurred to Blomkamp nor does he appear to have thought through the consequences of a repetition under even more extreme demographic conditions or… our host is right: this is as much ideological slapstick as he thought he could get away with on the way to infinite stupidity!

    [Reply]

    Posted on October 4th, 2013 at 7:23 am Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    O/T but those white male christian terrorists attacked DC yesterday.

    Oh wait….

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/10/04/what-pushed-miriam-carey-to-a-capitol-hill-tragedy.html

    [Reply]

    Posted on October 4th, 2013 at 10:19 am Reply | Quote
  • Hegemonizing Swarm Says:

    Recently I saw this movie for the first time. It doesn’t surprise me to see a thread about it here.

    Elysium station had a tinge of Moldbug’s formalism. “install” a new president by literally rebooting the system, “encrypted” weapons and bots enforcing the law, everything run as a corporation, etc. A physical manifestation of urbit would have some overlap.

    The Europe-refugees symbolism was too obvious. If only Angela Merkel would be more like Jessica Delacourt.

    As science fiction it was not entirely convincing, one thing why would a civilization capable of building a whopping Ringworld have a population problem like that? Just build a few more throughout the solar system and chill out (for a while).

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 14th, 2015 at 9:23 am Reply | Quote

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