Now available on DVD and Blu-ray, Elysium was one of the more interesting sci-fi movies of 2013. But it was also one of the most obviously flawed, and pointlessly so (as I noted in my review of the film).
But if you were able to get past its issues, the Blu-ray of the movie has lots of fun extras for fans of the film.
The DVD however…
For those who didn’t see it in theaters,
Elysium is a sci-fi action film set in a dystopian future where the rich and powerful lives in a space station while everyone else lives in squalor on the Earth’s surface. When Max DeCosta (Matt Damon) gets fatally injured, he hatches a plan to get to the station so he can have access to their advanced medical technology.
While this does make for an interesting story, Elysium has one fatal (and easily avoidable) flaw: the space station has no roof. Which would mean that the atmosphere, the land, and everyone’s lawn furniture would just float out into space. And once you realize this, it kind of ruins the movie because it takes you out of it to the point where you start noticing all the other problems. Like how Jodi Foster has an unnecessary and distractingly bad accent.
Well, it did for me, anyway.
But I don’t fault anyone for just going with it. Lord knows there are plenty of problems with some of the movies I’ve liked over the years. And yes, I’m looking at you, Phantom Menace.
The problems with the DVD, however, a bit less forgivable.
If all you care about is the movie,
then the DVD edition is just fine. But if you want more, you’re kind of screwed. And in annoying way.
That’s because while the Blu-ray has an extended scene, an interactive look at the movie’s art and design, a multi-part making-of documentary, a look at the effects, and a featurette on the technology, none of this is included on the DVD.
Instead, the DVD of Elysium only has “Collaboration: Crafting The Performances In Elysium,” a featurette on the cast, and “Engineering Utopia: Creating A Society In The Sky,” which looks at the design of the space station. At the very least it would’ve been nice if the DVD also got the extended scene.
Though both the DVD and Blu-ray should be dinged for not including the movie’s original trailers, especially since they found room for the trailers of The Monuments Men (which also stars Damon), the first season of the SyFy Channel’s new show Helix (makes sense), Oldboy (uh…), American Hustle (what?), Bad Country (seriously?), and Captain Phillips (oh for Pete’s sake…).
Adding insult to injury,
the back of the Elysium DVD tells you to, “Get the Blu-ray for more bonus features.” Which is kind of a big “fuck you” when you think about it.
Having gotten that bit of bitchiness out of my system, though, I have to say that both of the extras that they did include on the Elysium DVD were quite interesting and well-done (something I can’t say about the exclusive Blu-ray extras since I haven’t seen them). While neither is especially long — “Collaboration” is around thirteen minutes; “Engineering Utopia” is just shy of twelve — both still go into the depth that you’d want without slipping into a film school-level of detail that typically makes such featurettes drag.
The movie itself also looks quite good, even for standard def. Purely by coincidence, I happened to watch the original version of Star Wars: Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi on the same night, and while we are talking a thirty-year-old movie that hasn’t been restored, it was still noticeable how the picture quality on the Elysium DVD was so much better.
The DVD’s producers also get points for presenting the film in its original widescreen format and not in pan & scan. But given how visually arresting this movie is — as evidenced by the subject matter of the extras — it’s still kind of a shame to see it in this lower res format.
In the end,
Elysium is a movie worth seeing, but not owning. And if you’re going to see it, see it on Blu-ray. But if you’re friend has a copy of the DVD, or you don’t have a Blu-ray player, or you just don’t give a shit, the DVD will do…I guess.