Saturday, August 15, 2009

District 9

When I saw the first trailer for District 9 I groaned a bit. I thought it was another Cloverfield or Quarantine style faux-documentary. Probably full of bad dialogue and cheap scares. Thankfully it wasn't any of those things. It is actually one part Docu-drama and one part narrative all wrapped up into the sleeper hit of the Summer. I really love the combination of director Neil Blomkamp and Producer Peter Jackson, it really makes me sad that they won't be doing the Halo movie anytime soon.The back story is set up in the documentary style. Twenty years ago a few million Aliens, also called Prawns,(If you've seen them they look like something from the squid family) were discovered floating in an alien craft hovering over Johannesburg, South Africa. These Prawns were malnourished and unable to communicate. With the world watching the government decides to place the survivors in a camp called District 9. We don't get any history of these creatures. We don't know where they are from or why they are here. No one seems to want them and everyone seems to think they are a blight on their communities. The aliens live in abject poverty as they are always foraging for food in the dumpsters. We are brought back to the present day as the Government has decided to re-locate the Prawns away from the city. We are then introduced to Wikus (Sharlto Copley), a simpleminded bureaucratic asshole. He's the guy they put in charge to extract the aliens from District 9. He's bumbly and he doesn't seem to have a whole lot going up upstairs. While in District 9 he finds a canister which he of course manhandles causing a chemical to be released. I won't give too much away but things start to go downhill for Wikus (pronounced with a V) very quickly after that.The film has no stars to distract from the narrative, which is a welcome change. At first it seems as if it's a simple film with a hand-held camera until Wickus gets into trouble and it becomes a fast paced intense race against time as Wickus is forced to work side by side with the Aliens he detests and fears to break into his old office to retrieve something of upmost importance to one of the aliens, ironically his name is much easier to pronounce then our protagonist, Christopher. The little alien child of Christopher's is kind of odd looking at first but they both grow on you as the story goes. It's an odd form of filmmaking it seems detached in a way, we don't really get to know any of the aliens or the humans except Wickus. Yet I still felt drawn to the story as it exploded into a war zone. It reminded me a bit of the Twilight Zone, we see these strange alien creatures that are unappealing with a propensity for violence. But as the story continues the veil begins to drop and we see who the true villains of the story and it ain't the ugly aliens. The effects were really fun, especially the ending, it reminded me of Robo Cop in a very good, violent bloody mess kind of way. This is by far the best flick of the summer, if you haven't seen it go now before it's gone. It's the most original action flick your gonna see in while so I suggest you take advantage and see this one asap.

Grade 4 Buckets

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