Last night I went with my best friend to see the highly anticipated Peter Jackson production, District 9. Ever since I saw a teaser for this movie months ago, I knew it was going to be something special. Initially the preview reminded me of Alien Nation but when the alien captive at the end of the clip simply stated, “We just want to go home,” I said to myself that this was going to be a very original movie.
This summer we saw the tepid, over-hyped Terminator Salvation (is it only me but am I the only one getting so tired of seeing Christian Bale on screen?), the highly ridiculous and stupid sequel to the Transformers (what the heck were you thinking Spielberg?), and of course G.I. Joe (I wasn’t going to even entertain the idea of seeing this movie). The only decent offering this summer was the sixth Harry Potter film but it was far from perfect for me but still good nevertheless.
District 9 fired on all cylinders and had me marveling at the screen till the very end. Aside from the apartheid allegory and the obvious messages and themes that the movie touched upon (without beating us over the head), it was simply a damn good, entertaining movie. I loved everything about it:
- The documentary feel (hand held shots, interview style story telling, gritty look of the film) with shifting points of view.
- The special effects – WETA does it again, showing Hollywood that you don’t have to blow a wad of millions to create great looking effects.
- Peter Jackson – a great producer with an equally great eye for talent.
- Neil Blomkamp – kudos to the man who was thought to be too inexperienced to do the Halo feature film. Those with little faith in this guy are eating shit now.
- Sharlto Copley – a virtual unknown and a first time actor, he totally carried the movie
- No big name Hollywood stars (can you imagine Nicholas Cage, Bruce Willis or Christian Bale as the lead? NOT!), thus lowering costs and actually making the story much better instead of distracting us with a celebrity.
- A truly original story and pleasant alternative to the whole “alien invasion” premise seen in all of the previous films of its ilk.
- The setting – it’s not freakin’ New York City or ANY American city for that matter! The setting of Johannesburg serves the story and its allegory to apartheid but I didn’t care. It was just refreshing to see ANOTHER government handle an alien problem.
- The twists at the end of the movie. I won’t spoil it for you but suffice to say I predicted what would happen to the lead character.
- The way the director and screen writer made us sympathize with the “prawns”. The theater I was in, the audience was rooting for the aliens!
- The possibility of a sequel, aptly named District 10 perhaps?
Hollywood should take notice and learn a lot from this film. Made for only $30 million dollars, this little film could be the highest grossing film of the summer. I for one would like to see more of Neil Blomkamp’s work and definitely Sharlto Copley. Keep an eye out in the future for these two names. Two brilliant stars were born on August 14th. Can’t wait for the DVD and any special features, documentaries and commentaries it will surely include.