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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Movie Review: District 9

I must say, I really wanted to like this movie. After seeing it, I have to say that I f**king LOVED it!

This is basically Alien Nation meets Cloverfield. It's a mockumentary about an accidental alien invasion. A large ship arrives and hovers over the city of Johanesberg. It doesn't move, no one emerges. It just hovers there. After the military breaks in, they find nearly a million alien beings, malnurished and weak. Eventually, the aliens are moved to a government run refugee camp on the surface called District 9. Flash forward 20 years, a military corporation called Multinational United (MNU) is put in charge of the aliens, and have built a new camp called District 10 to move the aliens to (called "prawns", a racial slur of sorts). A dufus company man named Wilkus van de Merwe is put in charge of the relocation, and is escourted by the company's private military police force, to evict the aliens from their District 9 slum. And it's while searching through the alien's shacks that van de Merwe's troubles begin.


One of the most impressive things about this movie is the effects. The aliens are entirely CG, and are so well integrated into the scenes that you really forget that you're watching an effect. In fact, all of the effects in the movie are excellent. This film was produced by Peter Jackson, so you know his effects company was involved in this (his films always look great).

And you've gotta love Sharlto Copley as van de Merwe! He carries the entire film, and he is really phenomenal. His performance reminds me a little of Michael Caine in The Muppet's Christmas Carol. He is basically performing to people in green suits and looking at tennis balls and other CG markers the entire time, and you really believe that he's interacting with what was ultimately on screen. The next time we'll see him is as Murdock in The A-Team movie coming out next year.

You don't have to go very far to see the racial parallels in the film. It's very remeniscent of the South Africa under apartheid. The aliens even have clicks in their speech, similar to the Bantu language.  Like in Alien Nation, the aliens are someone integrated into society. In the opening of the film, during a news cast-like montage, humans being interviewed demand the removal of the aliens, because they are "disgusting" and they "steal things"-- one woman talks about how they are always stealing cell phones.

This is a funny, smart, great-looking film. And I KNOW I have to see Avatar-- I'm working on it! I'm planning on seeing the 3D version, which I hear will change my life. So, if  you've seen it already, and you want another sci-fi movie to watch...WATCH DISTRICT 9.

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