Sunday, August 30, 2009

Alien Baby For The Win!

There are at least 3 movies coming out this year with the number "9" in the title. It is a little confusing to remember which one is which. 2 are actually called "9" and "Nine" respectively. Argh. This makes my brain hurt. Maybe it is something to do with it being 2009? I don't know. Anyways, that is kinda off topic. District 9 is the first to come out and I finally go around to seeing it yesterday.

I gotta say, I really didn't know that much about it going in. However, the marketing campaign, which was fantastic completely intrigued me - ads on buses and bus shelters all over the city. Amazing marketing - kudos to the peeps that came up with this!

"Aliens become refugees in South Africa where they are kept isolated from any human contact. While being contained in the refuge being ignored of their welfare, their weapons become the sole interest of Multi-National United (MNU). But only one man , Wikus van der Merwe (Sharlto Copley), can activate these weapons. He becomes hunted for and only one place can give him refuge, District 9."
This was by no means a perfect movie. A number of plot points made me go hmmmmm. But overall I was impressed. The style of the film won me over - part faux-documentary, part action, part science fiction, part social commentary - all good! It is such an interesting idea. What would mankind do if aliens arrived on earth, not to fight but because they had nowhere else to go and were dying?

Made on a fraction of the budget of some of the other movies that were released this summer, with no star power to speak of (except for Peter Jackson behind the scenes), this is the action movie that will be talked about in months and possibly years to come. You can see it as simply a rip-roaring alien movie, total escapism with cool guns and cute little baby aliens. Or you can analyse every scene and debate exactly what social commentary the filmmakers are trying to make. Or both.

Setting the film, not in New York, or London, or Sydney, but in Johannesburg - a city that has a well documented history when it comes to race relations was genius. And I am sure that was the point. The humans in the film really aren't that sympathetic. Most of them are assholes actually. In spite of the ick factor of the "prawns" about half way through I found myself rooting for them instead of the humans. Again probably the point.
I really enjoyed this film. A movie definitely worth seeing on the big screen. Great story, awesome effects, solid acting all around. I am expecting a sequel oh in about 3 years.


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