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Elysium is a motion picture which skates past the most important issues of our time after exploiting them to bring audiences in.

It deals with the distribution of wealth and power, access to health care and the future of Earth's environment, but heads directly towards the worn arena of blazing weapons and explosions to become safely irrelevant.

There are fragments of a better movie scattered throughout this motion picture which indicates that someone intended something better.  The director’s previous film, District 9 dealt with racism in interesting ways.

The daughter of the female lead in the motion picture tells a story of a Hippo and  Meerkat, but it's disconnected from the rest of the film.  It’s likely it was connected to the better film which was gradually ground down by corporate film industry interests until its message about the brutal dangers of a society divided by wealth and the ultimate gated community degenerated into another die hard remake.  There are other such fragments scattered around the film.

The message of this film should have been the same one shouted from the camps of Occupy two years ago, but it ended up with no message as all.

Despite the endless complaints of the right about liberal Hollywood, most of the big budget movies produced for mass consumption reinforce the foundational agenda of the corporate funded right.  So does Elysium.

The protagonist in Elysium ends up being fitted with a mechanical Exoskeleton which gives him superhuman power.  Like all of the superpowers and mutants inhabiting these conflict and explosion driven films, the resort to superpowers, vast corporate derived wealth or alien technology implicitly renders normal people impotent.

Once, in more conservative times, ironically, we regularly saw entertainment programming driven by people of ordinary powers changing the direction of their community or society.  Ghandi, Babbett’s Feast and Milk are all examples.  Such films have largely disappeared from the multiplex.  Frank Capra's movies were far more progressive and empowering that the superhero flicks which fill the summer.

If people on Earth had challenged Elysium’s control of their society through political and social organization plenty of dramatic conflict would have been generated.  There would have been issues of organizational integrity, the privacy of communication and access to resources which would have cut almost instantly to the issues we confront in our politics today.  There would be agent provocateurs, conflict with government and media and  a study of the way people on the bottom have challenged the people up above, which have been repeated throughout history.  It would have connected directly to the things we saw in Wisconsin, North Carolina and in Occupy.

Such a film would have terrified the banks which finance our motion picture industry and the corporations which own it.  

Such films aren’t going to get made with hundred million dollar budgets.  It’s curious that the promotional material for this film could lead one to believe that is the sort of film this was.

It’s clear we’re going to have to tell our own stories.  We’re not going to be equipped with nuclear powered Exoskeletons or powers from the Planet Krypton to do it.  We’re not going to get a Starship Enterprise or an Iron Man suit either.

Nobody said the struggle for a better world was going to be easy but we need to recognize that the dramatic structure of much of what we’re seeing in pop culture ahs been crafted to make ordinary people feel powerless.  That sense of powerlessness is the foundation of the control we struggle against.  It cultivates apathy among the mortals.

Originally posted to wjhamilton29464 on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 11:29 AM PDT.

Also republished by Occupy Wall Street.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (10+ / 0-)

    William Hamilton practices Law and is a writer and community activist in the Charleston, SC area. He can reached through www.wjhamilton.com

    by wjhamilton29464 on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 11:29:52 AM PDT

  •  I'm writing my own story. (4+ / 0-)

    For my kids.  

    Main Themes:  (Not giving many details, because this one has a LOT of them, and I'm REALLY happy with it,.)

    1. There are no "chosen Ones".  Main character figures things out on her own.

    2. The rich, wealthy and those that we idolize can get advantages that the rest of us do not.

    3.  Even when the "Experts" tell you something, they can get it wrong.

    4. What is not appreciated by everyone can sometimes be the most important things.

    5.  Even when you do the right thing, and save the day, you won't necessarily get the credit for it.

    Believe it or not, this is a HAPPY story.  Main character is poor, but happy.  Yes, it IS possible to do.  

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 11:46:53 AM PDT

    •  Your Own Story (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      detroitmechworks, mookins

      I've done some community storytelling at our holiday events. usually wound around the neighborhood.  I do a good bit of local history.

      Good luck telling your own story.  It's a worthwhile effort.

      William Hamilton practices Law and is a writer and community activist in the Charleston, SC area. He can reached through www.wjhamilton.com

      by wjhamilton29464 on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 12:02:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here's hoping! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mookins

        Oh, and I've already spilled the title here in Write On, so...

        "The Bard's Key"

        Yes, it's a reference.  Fantasy story.   With SERIOUS rules about the way the world works...

        I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

        by detroitmechworks on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 12:14:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  elysium was produced before occupy (0+ / 0-)

    No doubt the message of the film was compromised to please an unsophisticated audience, but also it was conceived, written and began production before occupy, so it's a little unfair to accuse them of ignoring it or not including elements.

    History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce - Karl Marx

    by quill on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 12:28:44 PM PDT

    •  Production (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Oaktown Girl

      It would be interesting to see how the film changed in editing and post production.  Movies like this are mostly made in computers now.

      The distribution of wealth issues certainly aren't new.

      The larger issue is the way movies are telling ordinary people that they're powerless.

      William Hamilton practices Law and is a writer and community activist in the Charleston, SC area. He can reached through www.wjhamilton.com

      by wjhamilton29464 on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 12:34:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  we don't need a super blockbuster film either (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stude Dude

      yes it would help.

      We can't sit around waiting for some perfect space opera  masterpiece to point us toward the promise land.

      We should act now.

      •  Space Opera (0+ / 0-)

        We had better act soon before our capacity to act is utterly destroyed.   Unfortunately that means showing up for meetings and boring stuff, not getting screwed into a super exoskeleton.

        While a popular media which emphasizes individual empowerment would certainly be helpful, Sony isn't going to make one for us.

        We must, at least, recognize the debilitating quality of what we're watching.

        William Hamilton practices Law and is a writer and community activist in the Charleston, SC area. He can reached through www.wjhamilton.com

        by wjhamilton29464 on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 08:17:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Haven't seen it yet (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simplify

    but I will say the first Terminator and Matrix films, both Sci-Fi, have turned out to be the most commercially successful but politically provocative films of the last 20 years.

    He who would trade liberty for security deserves great customer service.

    by Publius2008 on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 02:11:14 PM PDT

    •  There's also a weird backlash effect (0+ / 0-)

      whereby the things that badass bad guys do, or that badass good guys do that they regret and turn against by the end of the movie, become "cool" and a model for behavior in the real world. See "Wall Street," the "Bourne" series or most any spy movie, and so on.

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 02:46:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  good diary (0+ / 0-)

    hope you keep writing on hollywood and the stories it tells.

    •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

      Thanks.  I'm a member of the local film society and they bring a variety of films which deal with the power of people to organize, but of course, those draw a tiny fraction of what Superman does.

      William Hamilton practices Law and is a writer and community activist in the Charleston, SC area. He can reached through www.wjhamilton.com

      by wjhamilton29464 on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 08:19:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  sci-fi and the bean counters (0+ / 0-)

    Based on the trailer, I would have gone and seen this in the theater.  I mean, if I'm going to pay for crap, I might as well see it in 3d, eh?  

    It's a shame when sci-fi is used as a medium, not for provocative storytelling, but as a vehicle for tons of sugary special effects.  Most of the 'blockbuster' films these days seem to be either rehashes of old tv shows or movies about comic book super heroes.  

    This is the principle fault of free-market thinking.  When you try and describe all things in terms of money, then there is no art, only commodity.

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