Friday, August 14, 2009

District 9 - I now love South African accents


Was everything I hoped for. This blows everything else I've seen this year out of the water. One of those things that I just can't write that much about because I enjoyed it so much. A number of small touches here and there, whether it was having the aliens being labeled under "white" aliases like "Christopher Johnson" by the MNU, or having Wikus, the protagonist, be able to perfectly comprehend the alien language but not understand a lick of a Nigerian dialect, or even having the aliens being gypped by Nigerian scams, just made the film seem so...real and raw for lack of better, more specific words. Some, particularly Roger Ebert, have complained about a rather "disappointing" third act that involves a lot of "standard shoot-out action," but I could not disagree more about that. The action is fucking badass, adding a dimension of viscerality and fist-pumping fun that makes this film all the more captivating and memorable. Go see this thing as soon as possible.

10 comments:

  1. I'm going to have trouble reviewing D9 myself. Not only did I love it, but it's a film that one needs to see in as unspoiled a manner as possible.

    It's now a toss-up now between this and The Hurt Locker as my favorite film this year.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Completely different films, but I'm going to have to say I liked D9 more. Any movie that gets me rooting against humanity in favor of some bug-looking aliens and makes me more sensitive to alien gore than human gore has to be damn good.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I came out of it really craving a beer, for some reason.
    Really good movie, I'm astonished that it's actually doing well, and astonished that they did all that with $30 million. I definitely think Blomkamp has written himself a ticket to do whatever he wants.
    I was treated to someone behind me asking a bunch of relatively smart questions about the plot of the thing...relatively because the film had actually answered almost all of them in the first half hour, before the questions had occurred to her. Hopefully a second viewing would help the stupid.
    I wish they'd figured out a way to explain Christopher making the McGuffin in some other fuckers house, thereby allowing the plot to happen, and the gravity gun may have been a bit too video gamey, but you have to respect the way they make you emphasize with insects, and emphasize with a deeply flawed protagonist. He's both sort of likable and completely despicable at the same time, and that's probably the most pleasantly surprising thing about it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. In terms of stupid questions, I did hear a decent one during my viewing that I still can't really answer. Pushed to the brink and with those nice weapons, why didn't the prawns ever bother to use the shiny stuff they had? Most of them clearly have no inhibitions with maiming or killing humans.

    ReplyDelete
  5. They did. But they were all drones; it took twenty years for the hive mind to rejigger itself enought to create someone capable of thinking like Christopher and his kid. That's why they're scrounging up the fuel now, even though there was shitloads of it up on the ship they could easily have used.
    There were any number of incidents where individual prawn snapped and used the weapons, and I'm pretty sure the news clips at the beginning even mentioned it, but it was always small enough to be contained, and most of them found it easier to sell the weapons for cat food.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh shit..I completely missed that. Where was it mentioned again that the aliens had a hive-mind societal structure?

    ReplyDelete
  7. In passing, really; the director expanded on it in interviews, but the movie does have a throwaway line about the leadership dying off and leaving only the worker class. And since they're clearly insects...

    ReplyDelete
  8. The interviews at the beginning pretty much confirm the hive-mind structure, and some other incidents -- such as Christopher being more attuned to the situation, the haggling for weapons and cat food -- reinforce it.

    Movie is cool. Even when it became action-oriented towards the end, it still works.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Huh, I read that throwaway comment about the leaders being dead as just the humans being racist (specist?), assuming there was no way the starving bugs they found were capable of anything they'd consider intelligent.

    That actually kind of reflects on my general ambivalence about the movie's theme-- if the aliens are really, definitely unlike humans, then their metaphorical value as oppressed underclass takes a real hit. I'm still not sure how I feel about that part of the movie, but I think it was definitely a lot better-executed than in Alive in Joburg.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Recalling that comment, I took it similarly, just as an additional "theory" thrown out to give the uncertain documentary feel.

    I think because I regarded the aliens as a thin metaphor to humans, I never really swallowed the fact that the aliens might have an actual, insect-mirrorring drone working class, but one that is less solidly established, like humans. There's a figurative "working class" in our society containing people who are pretty apathetic to thinking beyond their own job. The evicted aliens still seemed capable of a bit of thought, so I can't quite write them all off as mindless drones, with Christopher and his son being the exception.

    ReplyDelete