February 25, 2016
The theatrical cut of Elysium suffers not only as a one-man army, CGI laden action movie, but also as a political allegory. The former is problematic because the main antagonist of the movie is a hired hand, with no direct tie to the hero or represent any thematic obstacle. The latter fails due to inserting technology (a miracle healing machine) into the movie without realizing how it undercuts its allegorical message. In the end, the movie is neither smart enough for a sophisticated audience nor dumb enough for an unsophisticated one.
Panzerkut has set out to fanedit this movie to remove its more troublesome allegorical themes to make something that is "more brutal, fast, raw and direct." It removes the sentimentality of the relationship between Frey and Max, the coup with Delcourt on Elysium and the more blatant immigration overtones. However, perhaps by accident, Panzerkut's creation becomes an action movie without explicit themes, but implicit ones. This makes the film seem like it has bigger ideas than it has, allowing the viewer to speculate, and perhaps project, their own interpretation into the movie.
For myself, I found a completely different allegorical message of the original's intent. This was a very pleasant surprise and, judging by the notes here written by Panzerkut, my take on his edit was likely a surprise to him as well. I'll refrain from spoilers except to say I think this is a strong and interesting edit worth looking into.
A detailed breakdown of my thoughts on this edit will eventually be posted on my podcast - www.featurethispodcast.com.
A/V Quality - Very sharp. My VLC player skipped at one point, but I was unsure whether this was player related or tied to the source material. Otherwise, this is a nice, clean, high-bit rate file.
Visual Editing - Nothing stood out as too problematic. Scenes cut short or omitted altogether are not noticed - except perhaps narratively. I did notice a tiny moment in the third act of a removal of a shot which made for a slightly awkward moment in editing in which the camera goes from a close up on Matt Damon to another close up of Matt Damon. Again, nothing really stood out at all here.
Audio Editing - In one or two scenes, it becomes noticeable that something is missing due to how the music score swells and descends (before the attack on Carlyle's ship for example). These edits are very few and far between, but are noticeable to a sharp eye (or is it ear?) for this kind of stuff. There are no noticeable pops, digitizations or volume issues.
Narrative - The removal of nearly a third of the movie's run time is necessarily going to create gaps in character's relationships and motivations. However, there are no obvious plot holes and the edit covers its bases where it can in some creative ways. I would argue that some of the edit's narrative shortcomings actually improve the film because it opens the door to interpretation. However, I am willing to admit that to the degree that I think this is a good thing could be entirely personal.
Enjoyment - I had a great time watching this edit and reinterpreting its meaning along the way as it unfolded. I will definitely be returning to this version, not only for myself but to share with other people in order to foster some discussions along the lines discussed above.