Sunday, August 23, 2009
Into District 9
I recently watched the movie District 9 and loved it. I went in only knowing that it was about aliens that are stuck on Earth for some reason or another, and loved every last bit of it.
Some friends I've talked to about it have a some problems with the movie, so instead of telling them all my opinions one by one, I decided to write one of my 'reviews' on it.
You know the drill, click below the cut, spoilers included, aaaaand enjoy!
First of all, I'm glad for District 9.
In a sea of half-baked sci-fi movies, this one came out extremely well done, with just enough science, fiction, reality, fantasy, thrills, and action to make a good and balanced film.
With how little I knew about the movie, the plot was intense and surprised me quite a bit. I totally didn't expect Wikus to become infected, but from then on, it was fairly predictable: he sought refuge amongst the "Prawns" in District 9 and was helped by another Prawn—the same one he was threatening just a day before. They end up working and rebelling together, and then good ol' Christopher goes free!
Of course, to the expense of Wikus' humanity.
Which leaves me wondering: is Christopher really going to come back for him? For the rest of the Prawns? I assume he meant three years meaning, it'd take 1.5 years to get to his home planet and back.
Like I said, there were a lot of things I loved about this movie. For one, I love how it didn't fit into the cookie-cutter alien movie genre. There was no invasion, no "take me to your leader," none of that crap. They didn't spend any time explaining how the Prawns functioned or why they were there, no time was shown dissecting them and whatnot. I just assumed that they got through all that within the past 20 years they'd been there. Some people I know didn't like the lack of explanations, but I was just glad that the focus of the story wasn't on that, but rather their current situation. I loved the way they interacted with the humans, it seemed so real and integrated, like that's what would really happen. The gangsters dealing with Prawns was a nice little touch.
I'll admit, there were a few plot holes though. For example, if the fuel was a part of their own technology, why did they have to scrounge so much for it? They had their technology! I also distinctly remember some black fluid being poured out of the robot Wikus used at the end, was that their fuel? Because that was a lot of fuel.
They also never mentioned why the prawns were there in the first place. Then again, I just kind of accepted that it was an emergency landing of some sort. After all, the humans did find them in terrible conditions.
Oh my goodness, I loved Christopher Johnson. I loved how he has the most average-joe English human name. Did the other Prawns have it? I'm sure they did or something. He showed a lot more humanity than most of the humans in the movie did. I loved his little son, too. He was smart, and made the mothership WORK.
I kind of liked how passive a lot of the Prawns were. For example, a lot of my friends questioned why the Prawns didn't just bust down the gang hut and take their weapons and shoot up the place. Well, I guess they weren't aggressive enough. Say you were stranded on an alien planet, and an alien gang took all your weapons. Would you try? I guess they could've also bought it, but they were busy buying cat food cans. Man, that was hilarious, I mean, cat food? This is totally the alien apartheid. I also liked how not all the aliens were the same, like they had different personalities. My friends and I were talking about how Christopher must be a leader or an engineer, or just some kind of nerd in their group, to be able to plan out an escape like that.
I also have to praise Sharlto Copely, the actor for Wikus van de Merwe, aka The Guy Who Got Infected. I loved how dopey he was in the beginning, and I especially loved the way he emoted everything his character demanded: the despair of becoming a Prawn, the pain of firing Prawn weapons (such a sad, SAD scene), becoming addicted to cat food, everything. He was wonderful, and I hope he is nominated for Best Actor at some movie awards show like the Golden Globes or the Oscars.
Oh, and that one military guy was such a dick.
I'm glad he got ripped apart.
For a low-budget film, District 9 had brilliant graphics. The Prawns were great, I especially loved Wikus' transformation, especially that eye. And that robot at the end? It could beat the shit out of all of Michael Bay's Transformers.
I didn't actually mind the blood splattering here. It made my sister and my friend laugh every time it happened. Alien technology was so cool. My favorite part was when the robot was activated, and gathered all the bullets from the gangsters into a little ball, then FIRED IT IN ALL DIRECTIONS. That was amazing. Also, PIG CANNON! Did he really just launch a pig? Greatness, all.
District 9 is thrilling and action-packed, and shot realistically while still honoring the fantastic fiction part of its sci-fi genre. I highly recommend it :D