What is wrong with Elysium(2013)

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils movie Elysium (2013).

This will really spoil the movie. This is third time I will do two back to back posts of one movie. I didn’t plan this. I just felt I had to go deeper.

Let’s start with the thing that lost me, the factory. Factory was there to show exploitation of third world which happens in real world too. Problem with this factory is, it doesn’t make any sense. It was like putting people to build cars by hand. At that time machines would have build the robots. Machines would have made robots faster and more accurate. There was no reason to put humans build robots. If there was, it wasn’t explained. Any non-sense explanation would have helped. Like one phase in process would mess electronics and humans had to do that. And it was dangerous. Problem solved. Writing was too lazy in this part.

Factory didn’t care about employees or employee safety. They had healing machines which didn’t seem to require any resources. And they sent fatally wounded home to die. Like employees didn’t have any skills any guy from street wouldn’t have. These were sophisticated robots they building.

Max’s encounter with robot police didn’t make any sense either or he was total idiot. Robot police have been there before and he had to know they don’t understand humor. After all he was building them. Max just invited robot police to attack him and injure him. Scene would have made sense, if robot police just arrived from somewhere and no-one know how they act.

Elysium was completely controlled by computer. Anyone, who configured computer and rebooted it, could change the whole society. Become ruler of Elysium or make everyone citizens of Elysium. And that could not be changed back because of lazy writing. Computer could not arrest any Elysium citizen. So any Elysium citizen could do anything they wanted and no-one would stop them. I can see how that could go wrong. Our heroes attacked Elysium and caused destruction. When they made everyone citizen of Elysium, they could walk away like nothing happened.

Computers made decision on their own to send healing machines to earth when everyone was made citizen of Elysium. That was just configuration change. Ships containing healing machines were already built. So Elysium just kept them for themselves never used them. Why they built them first place and why they kept them themselves when they had no need for them? That would have been interesting theme. Like surgically attached exoskeletons. Why more people didn’t have them? There also versions you could wear like clothes and take away.

I have mentioned healing machines few times. In Elysium every house has healing machines that can cure death. You just laid in side machine and in few seconds machine cured everything. If Earth was over populated, with these machines, Elysium would be soon too. I didn’t get what was deal with citizenship tattoos. Refugees had them when they went to Elysium and machines saw them as Elysium citizens. When everyone was citizen, healing machines knew who they were. What those tattoos actually did? Made machines see refugees as someone else?  That would be wise thing to do when you want to use machine that heals everything.

Movie had potential and good ideas. But it was wasted on lazy writing. Movie wanted to tell a story without realizing most things didn’t make sense. It could have told same story in world which made more sense.

Elysium (2013)

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils movie Elysium (2013).

This could have been great movie, but it didn’t understood its subject. Movie has some truth in it, but that is wasted in one-dimensional characters and not giving characters real motivations. It was like third world fantasy of how first world treats them badly.

First world lives in space station called Elysium. Everything is good there. Machines heal every illness and robots do all the work. Rest lives on overpopulated and polluted earth Earth with very limited health care. Robots control population and only work for people seems to be building robots or work at hospitals. Humans build robots in factory. That is one of the first automated works in world.

This movie really doesn’t understand problems and consequences of automation. Unemployment is one problem. Movie doesn’t give any hints to that way. There are scenes showing how human interaction with robots doesn’t work. But that was more about bureaucracy that robots.

Nothing was explained why Elysium exploited Earth. People from Elysium just didn’t like people from Earth. That was just fact. No explanations. Relationship between Elysium and Earth was not explained. This could have been movie, which showed relationships between first and third world from third world perspective. But it was too lazy for that.

Everything seem to revolve around healing machines, which didn’t use any resources. Elysium just wanted to keep them themselves and give Earth useless drugs. It might look to third world that first world does the same. Reality however is more complicated. Problem is related to resources. If first world had similar healing machines, first world would share them. Movie doesn’t understand problem of limited resources. That is one problem between first and third world, that causes the exploitation. Movie’s solution for third world’s problems is making everyone first world’s citizen. It is not that easy in real world.

Characters were badly written. They were either extremely one-dimensional or they change from second to second. Spider was example of latter. Spider was gangster, who runs human trafficking league. One moment he is gangster, who do it for money and next time he is fighting for citizens of Earth. John Carlyle was example of former. He didn’t like people and was ready to do anything for money. I didn’t understand Delacourt’s motivation. Character was so bad even Jodie Foster couldn’t make her work. Her death scene was totally wasted. It could have made movie better, if she had understood something in that scene. But she just died.

Movie didn’t explain why Elysium didn’t give healing machines to Earth. In the end computers send them to Earth and nothing changed in Elysium. Those machines would have stopped string of refugees. But that wasn’t only thing that didn’t make sense.

I was disappointed. Premise was interesting. What we got was more or less waste of time. There was cool exoskeleton, which was surgically attached to main character. That didn’t bring anything to movie. Character didn’t change any way. Movie had ideas, but it wasted them. Movie’s world has too many stupid things like factory, where humans build robots. Nothing in the factory made sense. I wanted to like this, but movie was too lazy and too stupid.

WWE Network review

WWE Network went global last week. I had to check it. I would have bought it six months ago, when it was launched in United States. Back then I thought it had limited launch to fix bugs before it went global. Well, I was kind of wrong. One reason could be, they had to go global before original schedule, since WWE Network didn’t sell in United States as much as WWE expected.

WWE Network reminds me little of Eurosport Player, which I had couple years ago. Both services show roots of the companies. Eurosport Player was good if you wanted to watch Eurosport live. Problem became when you wanted to watch something afterwards. Service had on demand side, but it had almost nothing. If you wanted to watch something, you had to watch it live.

WWE has TV programs and dvds. So WWE Network is good dvd library with TV channel. It lacks many things you would expect from service like this. Other things doesn’t work as they should. It is like they haven’t thought someone would like to use service like I want to use.

Programs are put to different sections. Pay-per-views are in one. Raws, Smackdowns and other programs in one. WWE Network original content and WWE documentaries in one. Forth section has older WWE and non-WWE wrestling shows and specials. There is lot of content. Problem is to find what you want.

There is no timeline which has programs and pvps. Both are in their own sections. Then there are some specials in fourth section. You have to jump between three categories to watch everything in order it was aired. Everything is not there, but from 1993 to half way to 1995 and from 2012 up to month ago should be in WWE Network. Yes, WWE Network doesn’t have last four RAWs or Smackdowns. PVPs are shown live and available after the event. This makes following WWE in WWE Network quite pointless. You see PVPs live or right after event, but you have to wait for a month or four weeks to see what happened before PVP.

Search returns something, but you can’t say it works. It seem to give only fraction of results it should give. Only matches, no promos and only some of the matches. Usually matches are only WWE matches. There might be one WCW match if wrestler has been there too.  And results only include matches, where wrestler used name in search term. So if you search for Mick Foley, you only get his WWE matches, where he used name Mick Foley. No Mankind, Dude Love or Cactus Jack matches. Result descriptions aren’t very informative. Sometimes they don’t give enough information which match it was or when it was.

Addition to this there are many usability bugs. This service doesn’t look like it has been live for six months. I don’t know what this was like six months ago. It still has issues, which shouldn’t gone through testing.

If big dvd library online is enough for you, you  probably are happy with this. If you watch PVPs and can see Raw and Smackdown elsewhere, you are more happy with this. I will watch pvps I have wanted to see and then decide will I keep it or will I have it for a month every now and then. I didn’t take it with six months commitment. At the moment I feel like couple months could be enough and then check it again later.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

You know how Hollywood sometimes make two similar movies same year. There have been movies about volcanoes and asteroids and so on. This is a pair with The Final Cut (2004). The Final Cut told about world where every memory is recorded. This tells about world where people can destroy their memories over night. This is also movie I don’t want to spoil too much. It is my one of favorite romantic movies along with Solaris(2002) and Batman Returns(1992).

Joel and Clementine were in relationship until Clementine decided to erase her memories of Joel. Joel doesn’t know why Clementine doesn’t remember him anymore and has a new boyfriend. Then he learns about operation, which erases memories of person one want to forget. Joel want to erase memories of Clementine after she did same for Joel. Most of the movie happens during Joel’s memory wipe. During memory wipe he realizes, he still wants to remember Clementine and starts to fight against memory wipe. Around Joel we learn that things aren’t as clear as they appeared first time.

Memory wipe is not well-known, but to those who know about it, it is as casual as hair cut. You might regret it later, but you don’t think about it too much. Even to those, who do the operation, it is like installing software to computer. You do initial settings and then let software to install itself.

The Final Cut studied science fiction concept. Characters weren’t as important. Characters were well written and interesting, but the concept was more important. This is all about characters. I like how characters have their flaws and feel like normal people. There are no cliché characters and every character has something interesting beneath when scratch the surface. Science fiction concept is there only to tell a story. As are special effects. This doesn’t try to look like scifi movie. Most of it happens in Joel’s head and is more dream like that scifi. Science fiction concept is studied only as far as the story requires it. Movie never goes to Philip K. Dick territory even though it shares similar concept as his stories. This movie stays as romantic movie.

I don’t spoil the ending. I just say that last ten minutes or so are ingenious. You don’t see that coming and after it comes, you don’t know where the movie will go.

I have postponed this review for ages. This is a great movie. One of my favorites. But for some reason I don’t want to watch it. I know I like it, but there is something. After The Final Cut I had to do this, because these movies are so similar.

The Final Cut (2004)

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils movie The Final Cut (2004).

It is kind of sad that Robin Williams had to die before I found this movie. If he didn’t die when this movie was available on streaming services, I would have missed it completely. Now it is one of my favorite movies. I don’t say this because you have to say nice things about recently deceased. I say it because for a long time I saw a scifi movie where implications of future technology were carefully studied. There were many things I couldn’t have thought myself, but when movie showed them to me they made perfectly sense. That is rare. There were so many subtle things I probably missed some of them. That means rewatching in future.

Usually scifi movies just try to look futuristic and add amazing action scenes. This didn’t try to look futuristic. It put all the futuristic stuff into story, not to sets. Just like another scifi movie from 2004. The one that I will do next Monday.

I don’t want to get too deep into story and concepts this time. I will do that when I revisit this movie in future. This is movie you have to see unspoiled. It has clever twists and I like it to make you realize how clever it is, by watching it without knowing too much about it. This would be short post if I stopped here. I try not to spoil too much.

Every twentieth person has implant which records every memory person has. Robin Williams is cutter, whose job is to create videos of deceased’s memories for his or her funerals. He is the one, who does that for worst persons, whose memories other cutter don’t want to touch.  He makes person look nice even if he was the worst person ever. This is current theme at the moment, when people learned about death of Robin Williams. I don’t know the guy. He could be nicest person, worst person or anything in between. What I say next is not about Robin Williams but formula that follows after celebrity deaths.

When celebrity dies everybody want to tell how great the person was. He or she was always the greatest person ever lived. In Finland columnist caused controversy when she mentioned one recently died celebrity wasn’t that nice person everyone made him out to be after his death. We knew his reputation, but after his death he became nicest person ever. Just like Michael Jackson. Remember Michael Jackson’s reputation on last years of his life and how he became nicest person ever when he died. If these persons were nicest persons ever, why not tell that when they were alive, not after they died.

This is one theme in the movie. Should we make everyone look like nicest person ever after they die or should we tell what they really were? Robin Williams’ character supports the first view. He does cutting for the living. Not the dead. He gives good memories of deceased loved ones. Maybe that is what the media does after celebrity deaths. But is it the right way. Or is it right for a one man to decide how deceased is remembered? Or who should decide how deceased is remembered? Movie brings these questions up but never gives answer to them. Movie spends more time showing implications of having people, whose every memory is recorded. Now after Snowden and European ruling of Google and right to be forgotten, this movie is more current than ever.

We are all sad that Robin Williams passed, but saddest thing about this movie is, this is only writing credit for writer and director Omar Naim. Will Omar Naim be one of those writer directors, who make one great movie and then disappear completely? Like Gerald McMorrow, who did Franlyn (2008) and then disappeared.