Quentin: What did you think of this one?
Jason: We went to see Elysium yesterday.
Jake: I thought it was great, but I know it left you cold, Q.
Quentin: Everything is leaving me cold these days. Maybe I should let you guys talk for a while.
Jason: Elysium is a dystopian sci-fi story set in the year 2154. The earth has been ravaged by disease and poverty, so the super-rich escape to a giant space station in the sky called Elysium. The director, Neill Blomkamp…
Jake: Who also directed District 9.
Jason: Thank you. He said the movie is very much about today, and he’s right. Just like I think The Hunger Games isn’t fantasy, the attitudes of the 1% in this movie are the same attitudes we live with now.
Jake: The vision is the polar opposite of Star Trek. Both Blomkamp and Roddenberry imagine worlds where technology eventually triumphs over disease. Roddenberry looked at the future and said, “If human beings found a way to cure most, if not all, diseases, we would naturally make that technology available to everyone.”
Jason: Hence, eliminating disease from the planet.
Jake: Makes sense, right? But Blomkamp says, “If human beings found a way to cure most, if not all, diseases, those in power would limit access to that technology.” Healthcare would become the great divide between the haves and the have nots.
Jason: Look around you. That’s where we are.
Jake: I’m not arguing with you. There’s no doubt the 1% in this country are waging a war, but this movie is about fighting back and leveling the playing field. Who doesn't love that?
Jason: I thought it was thrilling.
Quentin: Destroy the Deathstar.
Jake: Wait a minute. You can’t keep bringing that up as if George Lucas invented the hero’s quest. The story of the Trojan War is “destroy the Deathstar.”
Jason: You know what Dad used to say: there hasn’t been an original idea since the Greeks.
Quentin: I wasn’t around for the Trojan War, so I’m using the reference everyone understands. Matt Damon must navigate into the heart of enemy territory and basically reboot civilization. The movie takes elements from Independence Day and mixes them with the big sacrifice from Armageddon and the Chosen One from The Matrix. Once it announces its intentions, it never really deviates from where you think it’s going to go. And although Jodie Foster is indescribably bad in this, the real problem is Damon himself. I never connected with him.
Jason: That says more about you than it does the movie.
Quentin: I’m not going to disagree with that. But one of the fundamental rules of storytelling is, let me spend some time with the character before you ask me to care about him.
Jake: The flashbacks to him as a boy didn’t do it for you?
Jason: I didn’t have that problem.
Jake: Me neither. I connected to the scope of his mission and the revolutionary spirit of the cause.
Quentin: Do you at least agree with me about Jodie Foster?
Jason: Oh, yes.
Jake: I don’t know what happened to her. She was really stinking up the screen.
Quentin: Blomkamp is obviously an accomplished filmmaker. I think he could make great films, but he’s not there yet. And there was way too much sunlight for a dystopian future. He needs to watch Blade Runner.
Jake: Do you think the movie, for you, could have been saved by a different actor?
Quentin: Good question. I like Damon. I do. But he lacked something here, and now that you mention it, another actor with a certain quality could have solved my problem. Damon brought too much of Bourne with him.
Jason: You know who would have been really good in this?
Jason: Ben Affleck.
Quentin: Jesus, he would have been fucking amazing.
Jake: He has that vulnerability behind his eyes.
Jason: I still say it’s worth a trip to the multiplex.
Jake: But if not, definitely check it out as a rental in a couple of months.
Quentin: It was nice to see that laptops and SQL survive into the next century. What are you watching on TV this summer, Jake?
Jake: Under the Dome and Teen Wolf.
Jason: Teen Wolf and The Newsroom. What about you?
Quentin: Teen Wolf and Orange is the New Black.
Jake: Why are you watching that?
Quentin: Chicks in prison. Not to mention it’s really good.
Jason: We should do a Teen Wolf roundtable at the end of the season. It’s seriously kicking some ass this year.
Quentin: Good idea. If anyone out there is watching Teen Wolf, leave us a comment.
Jake: Are we alone in our love for Scott and Stiles?