A person's a person, no matter how...

I just got back from seeing District 9 with Boyfriend, and I must say - WOW. This is the first original storyline I've seen in ages, and for that I salute writers Neill Blomkamp (who also directed it) and Terri Tatchell. Not too many people bother making up their own story these days.

Without spoiling anything, here's the scoop: an alien spacecraft has been stationed over South Africa for two decades, and the sickly aliens found inside it were placed in "district 9," which became a slum and a center for inter-species hate and crime. Wikus Van De Merwe, while trying to evict the aliens so they could be relocated somewhere farther from humans, stupidly gets himself covered with a fluid the aliens have spent 20 years developing to fuel their mini-ship back to the mothership so they could get the heck out of here. This causes our hero to turn into an alien, and he's consequently rejected by his own species. So, Wikus teams up with one of the extraterrestrials, promising to help him return to the mothership in exchange for the antidote that will make him human again.

The best part about this movie is that it pushes the audience into the situation. What WOULD we do if a slum of aliens suddenly abutted our city? How should they be treated? Surely not as humans, for they are not humans. Yet in my opinion, and this has nothing to do with my actual review of the movie but I shall subject you to it anyway, they should be treated with the same respect as humans because there is something inwardly the same. Throughout the story we see that they care for their families, they have formed a functional society, they are incredibly intelligent beyond our scope of understanding, and that they are capable of acceptance and loyalty to others, even those who are not of their kind. None of these things are possible without a soul, and it must be the Christian in me speaking when I say that anything with a soul deserves the same respect as a human being. Of course, the characters in "District 9" felt differently, shooting at the aliens before trying to understand them - but it was done out of fear, and we all know that's exactly how the government would react if this really happened. So props for realism.

I was also impressed with the appearance of the aliens. Technology just keeps getting more amazing. The really impressive thing, though, is that they're a far cry from the standard model of an alien. Think skeleton meets a double lobster meets Davy Jones from the second installment of Pirates. Sick, right?

The marketing strategy for this movie was freaking brilliant. You've probably seen signs around your city saying things like "humans only bathroom." The theater we went to was marked "humans only theater." The ad campaign caught my attention way before I ever had interest in the movie itself, or even knew what the signs were for.

The downside to "District 9" is the sheer amount of graphic violence. Kiddos, this movie is rated "R" for a reason. Granted, unlike many modern movies that depict violence for dumb reasons like "because we can," this violence actually seems necessary to the plot, as the hero will die if he doesn't blow people up with nuclear blasters stolen from the aliens. But it's still. Gross. Even though my boy's taste in movies has desensitized me more than I realized until I walked out of the theater tonight.

Like so many trendy movies, "District 9" used footage shot with a handheld camera. That is my pet peeve about action flicks. It's impossible to follow events when the camera's all over the place and not even pointing at the action. This is no reason to miss out on the experience; the Bourne movies are way worse. It was just a little too much of a good thing. If they'd chilled out on the shake it would have been a nice touch, considering that they tried to pass the film off as a documentary.

I won't give away the ending, but the movie definitely sets itself up for a sequel. There was a time I would've said "just give me the whole story. I need closure before I leave this theater." However, considering that EVERYTHING gets a sequel these days whether it needs one or not, it's nice to know that there are still some issues to be resolved in the inevitable "District 10."


Beak Wilder said...

I liked this movie very much, and tend to agree with the fact that District 10 is inevitable.

I went into this movie thinking it would be mediocre at best, and was shocked to find out how much I loved it.

You write very well. Keep it up!

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