Episode 267: Elysium, where all the wealth is concentrated, for some reason, on a spaceship.

The Overthinkers Tackle Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium, starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster.

Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee, and Matthew Wrather overthink Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium, starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster.


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Further Reading

Your Panel

12 Comments on “Episode 267: Elysium, where all the wealth is concentrated, for some reason, on a spaceship.”

  1. Nick Nutter #

    As I listened to this podcast, I couldn’t help but notice that Street Fighter: The Legend Of Chun Li is on one of the premium movie channels right now. It was kismet.


    • fenzel OTI Staff #

      All is happening as the prophesy foretold!!


  2. Chris Morgan #

    I think the movie was not unreasonable to have an Indian person named Patel in it. I mean, it is an exceedingly common last name, so the odds would be in its favor in the grand scheme of things. I know that the last name was whatever the writers decided, but, in terms of actual percentages, Patel would be way up there. Would you have qualms with a dude named Smith in a movie? It also probably helped assure that the viewer knew they were Indian, as another, less common last name, may not have been clear to the casual viewer. Granted, I don’t know if knowing their specific area of origin was relevant to the movie, the character, or the plot, but in the abstract, I don’t think the movie deserves to be called out on that.

    Also, I wouldn’t say Do The Right Thing revolves around the pizza parlor. The climax certainly does, and it makes sense because there is clear racial tension there because of the Italians who own it and such, but overall the movie jumps around Bed-Stuy quite a bit. Additionally, while the fight is going on in the parlor, Spike Lee makes a point of showing that there are, in fact, some black people in the photos on the wall. Of course, off the top of my head, all I can think of is one boxing photo, and the black guy may have been getting punched by a white guy in that photo, so maybe this point is moot. Regardless, Buggin’ Out was played by Giancarlo Esposito, who was Gus Fring on Breaking Bad, and I look forward to your coverage of that show, although I’ve consumed a million pieces of Breaking Bad stuff in recent days, so burnout is possible. All I know is, if this is what Breaking Bad gets, when The Simpsons goes off the air every website and TV channel better devote 24 hours of coverage to it for a month.


  3. Redem #

    I think their hoard their medical technology cause its more fun to have a heal anything box when you keep it away from other and keep it for yourself


    • fenzel OTI Staff #

      Maybe that’s why they let 1 in 3 refugee ships land on Elysium, too — and then heal little children and send them home. If nobody knows you have a heal anything box, where’s the fun in keeping it away from everyone else?


  4. Benjamin Ragheb #

    Mark’s comment that perhaps Neill Blomkamp sincerely believes that scarcity is fake and the powerful are just being mean reminded me of a really problematic scene in District 9: Wikus is partially transformed and able to fire the alien weapons, and he’s chained up in a lab with a bunch of scientists and executive types. They openly discuss killing and dissecting Wikus, RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM. That’s nuts. People don’t behave that way; horrible decisions are made in corporate boardrooms because they have separated themselves from the problem and abstracted it away.

    That scene (along with dozens of other things about the movie) always bothered me, but I think it fits the story: Neill Blomkamp has no empathy for the villains in his movies. Or, to put it another way, he is unable to imagine the villain as the hero of his own story.


  5. Dan from Canada #

    “The Bizarre Accent of Christine Lagarde”

    You mean…”A French person speaking English”?


    • fenzel OTI Staff #

      Yeah, it’s not so much that Christine Lagarde’s accent is bizarre, it’s that Jodie Foster’s bizarre accent in Elysium is less a French or German accent and more I speculated that her doing a slightly pan-European impression of Lagarde’s voice.

      Mostly though she’s imitating Lagarde’s haircut and general manner, at least how I saw it.


    • Matthew Wrather OTI Staff #

      > You mean…”A French person speaking English”?

      You don’t find that bizarre?


  6. Gab #

    I thought the conflict between the Secretary of Defense (Foster) and the president (Tahir) could/should have been more thoroughly fleshed out. There was a lot of potential for a deep look at the quest for power and control that Hobbes and Machiavelli would have drooled over. Or Voldemort: “There is no good or evil. There is only power. And those too weak to seek it.” But her little coup really made me think, “By golly, so there she is, defense secretary for this amazing little paradise, and she’s still not content?” And it’s implied she and the president have a rocky relationship already, but seeing a bit more would have been helpful in showing more reasoning behind Foster’s character. Especially since she gives up in the end- that seemed rather contrary to her previous actions. If she’s willing to overthrow the government in a shot at the Big Chair, why would she choose to die? It takes a lot of narcissism to be willing to orchestrate that sort of coup, so to give up like that… it just didn’t sit well with me.

    And of course, I was thinking when all those shuttles started heading to Earth, Okay, so now all these people on Earth are going to live longer and better, now that they have universal healthcare. So is Elysium going to start providing food and stuff, too?


  7. Agam #

    I felt that the overall moral of the ‘Elysium’ story was that the revolution will be in MS-DOS.


  8. Steve Clay #

    First time listener. Haven’t seen Elysium yet, but it sounds like the writer didn’t think of how economies work: trade. Unless there are artificial barriers to it, there would be plenty of trade between the Earth and the ship. If the Earth inhabitants are that relatively poor, they would be a source of cheap labor. At least there would be plenty of trade on Earth and (as y’all covered) wealth inequality on the ground.

    You guys should watch Escape From New York. The island is cut off from trade and doesn’t get food drops, so everyone should be spending almost all their time growing/scavenging for food…


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