So I went to see District 9 tonight, and I must say it was quite fun. Gruesome, limb-choppingly, lip-smackingly good fun. A little bit odd-ball at times, and I can understand the gripes people have had with it (from reading some of the reviews) – WARNING: Possible Spoilers ahead
The Apartheid allegory is quite strong. It’s not a perfect allegory, the majority of the ‘prawns’ were shown as violent, bottom-feeding thugs (Rather than malnourished ostracized slum dwellers), and the Nigerian Witch Doctor thing (and I know that this kind of ‘medicine’ goes go on, it’s one of the reasons there’s an AIDS epidemic) was done in a rather silly way – I expected him to break out into song, or worse, start Rapping.
You really don’t sympathise with the ‘hero’, Wikus, he’s ignorant, incompetent and quite slimey, even when he starts coming around he still feels like the bad guy. There’s a bit at the end where someone says “Wikus was a good guy, he didn’t deserve any of this” and I thought to myself “Yes, he did, he was a bastard.” Everyone in the film was not only flawed, there was not one part to sympathise with. Even the Alien, Christopher, is more than a bit of a dick, despite being the real focal point of the film.
I do have to commend the special effects team though, they really brought something properly alien to our screens, while retaining some modicum of humanity and emotion. It was all done through the eyes of the aliens, portraying a plethora of emotions such as anger, fear, hunger and sadness. It was all very good.
The start is done documentary style (with quite a few “you’ll cut that bit right” lines, shortly after blowing a prawns head off) with it eventually cutting between Documentary and shaky-cam follow style, and back again a few times, before it settles on a normal film perspective. Eventually they introduce the Alien weaponry, which wouldn’t look out of place in Men in Black or Starship Troopers, big massive guns that vaporise anything, shoot lighting, balls of energy – you name it, it fired it. There was a particularly satisfying looking rail-gun wielded by Christopher near the mid-point. Which is where the pace changed rapidly. A big action sequence leading up to the end being only slightly out of place in a film like this, but I think it was needed, as it was getting to the point where watching Wikus fleeing Johanasberg and hiding was getting a bit boring.
I just get the feeling there may have been some other way of doing it other than having a giant Bi-pedal Mech chase that wouldn’t have looked out of place in Starcraft. Like the ending of Children of Men, where there is a war going on around the characters, but none of them actually fire a shot. It was action, but again it wasn’t standard. The ending of District 9 was pure adrenaline after an hour of gore-caked prozac.
I enjoyed the film, and I wouldn’t turn my nose up if I got it on DVD at christmas.
This was my first time at the cinema since May, when I went to see Star Trek. Let me tell you this: the woman sitting next to me had no concept of an internal monologue.
At key points in the film she would pipe up with some innane comment, most of the time she’d ooooh and aaaah at the explosions and awww when something bad happened (every scene with the child alien, which at some points was every 10 seconds). When the shuttle was rising to the space ship, and it was cutting between shots of Wikus battling and the ship rising, and every time it went to the ship I could just hear her muttering ‘come on, come on’. The real belter for me was when they were in the lab, retrieving the container, they had a close up of the glass case it was in and she says “is that it? behind you.”
Some people are mental. Some people write Blogs. Some people can be both, but atleast I know how to think to myself…