LOS ANGELES – The Hollywood Reporter calls it a “politically charged flight of speculative fiction.”
Newsmax refers to it “sci-fi socialism” and “political propaganda.”
Variety said its one of the “more openly socialist political agendas of any Hollywood movie in memory, beating the drum loudly not just for universal healthcare, but for open borders, unconditional amnesty and the abolition of class distinctions as well.”
But the director of “Elysium,” Neill Blomkamp, begs to differ, as does the film’s star, Matt Damon.
Blomkamp, who rose to fame with the Oscar-nominated sci-fi hit “District 9” in 2009, said his highly-anticipated film has no agenda whatsoever, and claims he isn’t a political filmmaker.
“’Elysium’ doesn’t have a message,” Blomkamp told Wired Magazine, saying he found it unfortunate that critics were drawing parallels between his movie and the Occupy movement, a phenomenon he says wasn’t even a consideration.
The film’s star Matt Damon, too, insists that “Elysium” is not trying to push any political buttons.
“I don’t think it is trying to say anything. It just presents the issue – the distinct difference between the haves and the have nots,” he told FOX411 while promoting the flick. “A science fiction film will work if it is a whole new world, but speaks to the world that we live in, but not in a heavy-handed way. The first order of business for a big summer popcorn movie is to make a kick-ass movie with great action.”
Set in the year 2154, “Elysium” imagines a world where two distinct classes remain. There is the overpopulated, crime-riddled, poverty-stricken slums of Earth, and then there are the excessively wealthy who reside on Elysium, a slick, mind-blowing man-made space station that comes complete with a cure for every illness, and humans and robots that stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve the luxurious lifestyles of Elysium’s lucky few.
And while anyone certainly can make a movie about whatever it is they want, some critics find it laughable that Blomkamp would deny his film has political themes.
“It’s not just hypocritical to say this movie isn’t political, it’s hilarious. This is just the latest of several Hollywood movies this year to try and co-opt Occupy Wall Street plotlines into their films,” Dan Gainor, VP of Business and Culture at the Media Research Center, said. “Filmmakers wear their politics on their sleeves, but it helps their careers to push liberal agendas.”
Christian Toto, assistant editor at Breitbart News, noted that even the trailer “carries a heavy-handed political vibe.”
“Science fiction films often embed social commentary into their stories, but that works best when done with a delicate touch which hardly appears to be the case here,” he said.
The film’s official website also reads as something of a political campaign, with links to the fictionalized “Civil Cooperation Bureau: They Stop Civil Disturbances Before They Start,” and Elysium Citizen Initiative” which comes with the tag: “Do you deserve a better life? Find out how.”
The South African born director did admit that his big budget offering at least reflects a personal interest in the class system.
“Growing up in South Africa has a lot to do with (that). Those formative years growing up in a country where things are so separate, it’s institutionalized thought in this military complex,” he said. “Moving to Canada gave me an outside perspective… I can’t shake it; I am interested in those topics.”
“Elysium” will hit theatres nationwide on Thursday, August 8.