Tuesday, December 29, 2009

District 9 (2009)

Director: Neil Blomkamp
Sony DVD

A lot of hype surrounded the release of District 9 this past year. Presumably because this sci-fi actioner from a first time director leading a cast of unknowns would save us from the mindless popcorn movies and sequels of the summer season. Brought to us by king of the geeks himself, Peter Jackson, the film delivered pretty much exactly what every other sci-fi action film does. Sure, there's a new take on the alien invasion, the aliens stop at our planet because they are out of food and fuel. They are then herded into a camp near Johannesburg and live there for 20 years. The aliens come across as fairly idiotic bug creatures begging the question of how they could have created the technology that brought them here. This is where the film begins, in a documentary style, as we follow a man that is in charge of relocating the aliens further away from humans after the task has been privatized by a company that is more concerned with weapons than human/alien relations. About 20 minutes in, the documentary is dropped and we are thrown into the narrative told in a similar style. The story follows Sharlto Copley, the company man who gets blasted by goo and is now turning into one of the aliens he looks down upon. Hello racism parable, there you are. That's fine as some of the best sci-fi has been used to disguise more important messages hidden within. The problem here is even though the world that Blomkamp has created is quite interesting, the story set in that world isn't. I always felt one step ahead of what was happening and the action sequences were incredibly long and not interestingly staged. The alien effects looked great but some of the scenes revolving around a robotic suit of armor appeared cartoony. It certainly isn't a bad movie, but nothing to get excited about either.


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