18 August 2009

District 9 (2009)

District 9 had mysterious previews that mirrored Independence Day's. The films share similar marketing campaigns and both contain aliens. One is serious entertainment and the other entertains thoughts of seriousness. Guess which was which? District 9 has great reviews and critics gushing about how powerful it is, the idea of having aliens stuck behind walls, segregated and hated by humans, and all of it evoking concentration camps and apartheid. Underneath it all however, District 9 is just another summer shoot'em up, and it got cheesy and predictable quickly.

To be honest, I really wanted to like this movie. I tried to suspend disbelief. But because the movie worked so hard during the first forty minutes to make everything feel like a documentary, I found the increasingly absurd character motivations, rationales, and situations to be laughable and all of that combined to pull me out of the story. I have a laundry list of issues if you ever want to talk about it. I could go on and on. Don't believe the hype. The film is good for a summer blockbuster and semi-interesting but the whole bit kind of drags.

Director Neill Blomkamp has an interesting world and idea on his hands, I just wish he didn't take it in such a banal direction. Without introducing any spoilers, there was definitely a specific point in the movie when I started to feel like it was headed downhill. Here's Blomkamp's original six minute short, "Alive in Joburg," that helped him get Peter Jackson's attention and the whole movie made.