Tuesday, August 18, 2009

District 9 Review

If we learned one thing this summer it's bigger isn't always better. Terminator Salvation had the right mood but lacked any humanity and Transformers: RotF was an epic failure in my opinion that was nice to look at but that's it.
Who really cared about John Connor or Optimus Prime and Sam Witwiki? I certainly didn't, that was one of the major problems with them, Terminator and Transformers had no way for the audience to connect emotionally with the characters...because the characters took second billing to the special effects and explosions.
District 9 is the story of Wikus van der Merwe (Sharlto Copley), and Christopher Johnson, one of the 1.8 million displaced alien refugees segregated from Humanity in a section of Johannesburg known as District-9.
The movie begins as a documenary style film with Wikus' co-workers discussing the events surrounding D-9 and Wikus. At the same time we learn that MNU is gearing up to undertake a massive mission of relocating all the aliens "prawns" to a new location (District 10). When we first meet Wikus he's an extremeably likeable person who appears to trully enjoy his job in MNU and is very knowledgable of the alien refugees and their plight. When he is choosen as the head liason in MNU's Alien relocation program he is genuinely surprised, much like many of his coworkers. MNU hires a PMC to assist Wikus and his team while they enter D-9 to serve eviction notices. It's during this point in the film that Wikus trully shows how knowledgeable he is as well as how naive he is to the world around him.
As the operation begins we follow Wikus as he goes door to door serving the aliens notice in a "live at the scene" style, the audience is visually bombarded by scenes of extreme poverty and substandard living conditions....even for space lobsters!
Throughout the day Wikus remains cheery like a child in a toy store despite the dangers surrounding him. At this point Wikus crosses paths with two aliens, that will forever change his life forever....or at least 3 years >.-
In the interest of not spoiling the movie that is as far as I'll go with the synopsis.
For me the best Science Fiction always has real people in familiar situations which are surrounded by science and technology that feels believeable and attainable within our lifetime with a dash of the fantastic but not enough where you are forced to blindly accept the rediculous. A perfect example of this is Gore Verbinski's Gatacca, that was and still is one of my favorite Sci Fi movies.
District 9 takes a simple man who doesn't standout and thru a fantastic series of events becomes the most controversial human being on Earth. I cannot praise this Sci-Fi masterpiece enough, with all the overhyped crap that's been forced on us this summer, Neill Blomkamp and Peter Jackson have successfully taken events in human history such as the apartheid (district 6) and infused them with aliens that are not only original and visually impressive but aliens you cared for! Hard to believe...I know! Imagine that, a science fiction movie that puts charcters and story above special effects and s'plosions...I know that's crazy talk!
Now don't get me wrong the CGI space lobsters were total eye candy but besides that you felt for them, you wanted to see Christopher Johnson (welcome to Earth we can't be bothered trying to figure out your name so here's your new Earth name) and his son get to the mothership and escape the hellish situation they were stuck in in D-9. The CGI mecha and space lobster weapons were also nutrasweet! The last 30 minutes has some of the most impressive live action mecha battle scenes I've seen...better than The Matrix in my opinion.
Sharlto Copley did an astounding job, as a relative unknown (for me at least) he totally impressed me with the full spectrum of emotions he conveyed and was able to bring out in the audience. And once again the teams at Weta really brought top quality CGI to the screen, the scene with Christopher and his son aboard the shuttle craft returning to the mothership was full of so much emotion...a perfect example of CGI used properly!
I will definately be getting this movie once it comes out on Blu Ray! District 9 is the Sci Fi movie of 2009 as far as I'm concerned. This movie is worth the price of admission go see it tonight.

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