Finally, a movie with aliens I enjoy!
District 9 (2009)
Directed By: Neill Blomkamp (Tempbot)
As the legend has it, Peter Jackson was at one time supposed to produce the live action version of Halo. However, as we all know that didn’t work out. So word is that Jackson then gave a large sum of money to director Neil Blomkamp and told him to make whatever he wanted to make. Blomkamp then used it to make a full length version of his short film Alive in Joburg, that movie turned out to be District 9. And let me tell you folks for my money it’s without question one of the best movies of 2009.
So a giant alien ship filled with an entire alien population nicknamed “The Prawns” shows up one day years ago and it stalls over Johannesburg, South Africa. After a long time passes the humans are growing tired of the prawns so they round them all up and toss them in a refugee camp called District 9, and yes, it’s a real hell hole. So flash forward to the present and the munitions corporation, Multi-National United, is contracted to forcibly evict the population with operative Wikus van der Merwe in charge. In this operation, Wikus is exposed to a strange alien chemical and must rely on the help of his only two new ‘Prawn’ friends.
One of the many things I dug about this movie was the style of it. It mixes a part documentary format with a normal movie format and the results are a unique viewing experience that I think actually worked very well. Also while naturally the film has CGI it’s not the obvious kind. Sure, the Prawns are all CGI but you’d expect that. However the films style blends them in well to where they don’t pop out and look cartoon-like. I wish this CGI team could work on every movie, then I wouldn’t have to bitch about CGI.
I don’t think anyone had heard of actor Sharlto Copley before this film. Sure, he was in the short that spawned this film, Alive in Joburg. But the man sure makes a mark in the role of Wikus van der Merwe. When we first meet Wikus, the dudes a nerd and not really that likable. But one thing we do learn is the man loves his wife. As the movie moves on and he’s put in terrible situations we learn to really like Wikus. We cheer him on as he goes from a pushover to a man who’s mission is to get better to be with his wife once again. And he has what seems like the world against him in the process. It really is a great story, and it’s funny and bloody so what more could a person want?
Clearly the film is filled with a social satire but it doesn’t have to just slap you in the face over and over with the point. It keeps things entertaining and just covers up the message with great action and science fiction. More people could learn from this style of film making. Someone directors drop quality just to hammer you over the head with whatever point they wish to make, here that’s simply not the case. The good guys are likable, the bad guys are hate-able, the aliens are interesting and the film packs blood and humor all the while saying what it needs to. You simply can’t beat that.
Some people seem to have a problem with the way the movie ends. After such a intense journey I myself could see why someone might not like it but I like to think it’s just setting things up for a sequel. And in a rare moment for me I’d welcome a sequel. The legendary movie reviewer, Roger Ebert praised the film but had this to say about the ending, “”… the third act is disappointing, involving standard shoot-out action. No attempt is made to resolve the situation, and if that’s a happy ending, I’ve seen happier.” But I like to think that the shootout at the end of the film is a great way to cap it off personally. Maybe I wasn’t 100% happy with the finale, but I think it’s good enough.
In short, I loved the film. I think all of you should rush and buy it. The only thing is you need to be warned about is that the alien sub-titles do not work properly on all DVD players. Some players simply won’t play them without turning on all sub-titles..which can be annoying and a pain in the ass. That withstanding, awesome movie.
The Rating (8.5/10)