Just a thought…
Ok, in order to post this I have to admit that I’m still obsessed with Elysium. It’s been nearly six months! This is looking to break my own personal record…which could be considered embarrasing if I hadn’t rediscovered a love for writing science fiction out of it.
Anyway, I was bored one evening and Googling, as you do, and I found an article about ‘what Elysium did right and what it did wrong‘.
This paragraph struck me:
‘Spider begins the movie as a self-interested thief and smuggler, who doesn’t mind selling his neighbors passage on illegal ships bound for Elysium — ships that are shot down 2 out of 3 times. So he’s a killer, and he cares nothing for human life. Fine. But by the end of the movie he zooms up to Elysium so that he can risk his life to overthrow the unjust system and “save the world” for the neighbors he once sent to almost certain death en route to Elysium. Huh?’
Before I fell in love with Elysium, when I was sat in the cinema watching it for the very first time, I remember very clearly watching the scene this person is talking about. When we first see people running into the shuttles and Spider stood over his control centre, ordering the shuttles to be fired up. And I noticed, and I remember being intrigued by, Spider’s reaction when those two shuttles get shot down. If he didn’t care about the lives of those on board, he wouldn’t be watching the screens. He’d be off somewhere drinking a beer and counting his cash. Instead all his attention is on those screens, he swears under his breath when the missiles are launched, and you can’t deny the worry on his face. Spider is a gang leader, he’s dangerous, but I personally don’t see how anyone can say that he doesn’t care about his people. That is, the people in his slums, the people around him.
And then I read this:
‘…Kruger goes from being a brutal, dim mercenary who loves nothing more than killing and raping, to a man with political aspirations so enormous that he wants to take over all of Elysium. Why?’
On the surface this is a good point and it’s easier to reach this conclusion, in my opinion, than it is to reach the previous conclusion about Spider. Still, after I read it I shook my head and disagreed. Kruger is brutal but he is not dim. I’ve mentioned previously something along the lines of a stupid villain being a pointless villain. A good villain must have brains. What makes Kruger dangerous is that he’s smart. From his aspirations to take over Elysium we can also ascertain that he is power hungry, and why not? A lot of brutal, smart men in history are power hungry, and look at what they did to the world.
I read those paragraphs and thought those thoughts and realised that this is a perfect example of how people watch things and see things and read things differently. There’s nothing wrong with that. Maybe this person blinked and didn’t see what I saw, or maybe they just didn’t read into it what I did. (I would like to say that the article does raise some very good points, but because I am in love with this film, I choose to ignore the plot holes!)
Lastly, the article says ‘Spider hacks into Elysium, reboots it with the push of a button, and suddenly everybody has free health care. Cue footage of kids running through fields on Earth, laughing and healthy.’ This is a great example of people reading different things into the same scene or words. This writer saw children laughing and being healthy at the end of the film, I saw a repeated flashback of Max as a child running and being happy with Frey. This last scene, for me, wasn’t about the future of Earth, it was all about Max.
I am always saying that writing is subjective. For every person who hates your work, there will be someone who loves it. There is no right or wrong with fiction, it’s all about hoping that someone who enjoys the same things you do gets a chance to read it.
It’s the same with films. For every me, who adores Elysium, there will be someone who hates it. And that’s fine. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but what we as writers need to remember is that there is no point in being afraid to share our work with agents/publishers/the world. Sure some people might hate the manuscript you’ve poured your heart over for years, but who cares, because there will also be people who love it.