Tuesday, 8 September 2009

District 9

It seems like only yesterday since I said that Inglourious Basterds was my second favourite film of the year after Star Trek (oh wait, I think it was yesterday, and if I didn't say it in so many words that was what I was thinking). But that was until yesterday evening when I saw District 9, a film whose premise had captivated me since I first heard of it earlier in the year.

I didn't see much of the viral campaign for the film, although when I was in the USA I saw plenty of signs (especially in Los Angeles) on bus shelters advertising the fact that they were for humans only, and by this point I knew a bit more about the film's story. Nearly thirty years ago a spaceship stopped over Johannesburg, seemingly broken down and unable to move. The aliens onboard were relocated to the ground, and now all of those years later are being forcibly relocated to another settlement camp, while they and their technology are being exploited by a shady multinational...

District 9 does many things that one might expect from a sci-fi film if you have narrow expectations of the genre: there are aliens and ray guns, explosions and technology - but there is so much more. It's a story of a man, genuinely changed (physically and spiritually) by what he sees, when he is forced to look at the world that he now lives in. It's a story of oppression, and how both sides view that. For a film with a fraction of the budget of something like Star Trek or Transformers 2 it has special effects which go beyond being special - the alien creatures never fail to convince, never fail to not seem real - and the bonus that it has over many of the summer blockbusters that I've seen this year is that it has a genuinely fascinating, original and brilliant story.

Star Trek is still warping ahead of the other contenders in the field, but District 9 is a great film, highly recommended from me to you, and well worth your time and money to see.


Matt said...

Phew, finally caught up on all the recent posts. Going out of town has me lagging behind!

District 9 was really quite great. I plan to see it again when it goes to the cheap theater.

It's interesting to read about your travels. You went through several states that I've never been through. Looking forward to the next installment on here =)

zero_zero_one said...

Haha! Yeah, I've been really trying to get all of my road trip posts finished. I have a plan and everything, I think that there are eight posts on my road trip still to come, and am going to work on two of them tonight and plan some others.

District 9 was cool, and I loved how real they made it seem, all of the little cultural details.