Thursday, August 27, 2009

District 9

Dir: Neill Blomkamp

At last! Real science fiction! Break out your prefered drug of choice and celebrate, for here is a film with a budget small enough to retain its edge but large enough to push its special effects all the way to the back of your skull and beyond.

The acting is spectacularly good considering Sharlto Copley who plays the lead character Wikus Van De Merwe, had no previous experience, was interacting with characters who aren't there in real life and was ad libbing his way through the film.

The ambience was terrific, especially how the callous attitudes of the humans created a highly oppresive atmosphere which grew ever more belligerent as the story progressed. I particularly liked the simple way language was used to create a series of scenarios ranging from personal disdain to out right danger. The effects were good too, not least the aliens and the way they acted. The only thing I didn't particularly care for was their big cute eyes which seemed slightly out of place on their hard cockroach style bodies, but this is a minor point, something easily accepted as possible, if not probable.

The alien mothership is nice and very photogenic, with its oil refinary look and brooding presence, but as interstellar ships go, its way dodgy. Luckily I can forgive this, as it looks like an old rusty heap, and that goes a long way in my book!

Best of all was the story which didn't rely on spectacle or drama but cut right to the heart of our humanity and described everything it found there. That is what art is all about; describing the human condition. Don't believe any one who tells you otherwise. Art is not about what the artist thinks or feels, its what you think and feel, and 'District 9' makes you think and feel. It might also make you laugh and cringe.

The only bit I didn't like was seeing Peter Jackson's accursed name at the beginning of the film. He gets credit for his role in helping Neill Blomkamp make this film, but I still haven't forgiven him for raping Tolkien.


brando said...

Awesome. I liked it too. I liked how they used modern vehicles for the company.

And the best part for me was the when they were shoking him to pull the trigger. At first he was like "No, I will not."

Then he's like "I'll do it. Hold on a second..BZZZZT"

That was the most terrible part for me.

I guess the problem I had was that if Mr. Prawn needed only about a half litre of fluid, why was he producing all sorts of weapons.

That robot (which was awesome) must have had at least 10 gallons of that black fluid. When it got shot with the Barret, it was drooling and spitting.

And how did nobody have any idea where the command ship went? They had it on camera going straight down.

And why didn't anyone interrogate those prawn, to find out where they were from and how in the heck they got into that situation?

And that ship was there for 20 years. That would have been cleaned out and turned into a theme park and super-expensive restaurants.

Or within 18 months the entire thing would have been stipped down.

And those things can kick a man apart and knock em back 30 feet. Right off the top of my head, they could get those things to do ultimate fighting and make a ton of money. Why weren't they doing that?

Or use em for shock troops?

Look, I get that it's a metaphor for apartied. A pretty heavy handed metaphor. But it can at least make sense.

But the robot catching the RPG! Wow! How cool was that?!

Oleg said...

I really liked it as well.

Forget the niggles (the film was vague enough about previous events that there is room for an explanation for everything).
The pure feel of it was what worked for me.

Agree 100% about Jackson, btw.

OK, my geek observation; Prawn weapon tech was only a little more effective than ours, along the lines of; something about the size of an RPG causes a similar amount of hurt... just capable of shooting rapidly and repeatedly.

Anyway, highly recommended.
Tracey liked it as well.


moif said...

I assume that the prawns had other fluids which were similar in appearance to each other... p'haps.

The mech suit was pretty damned cool though. The best one I've yet seen in a film I think.

Why would prawn anti personnel weaponry be that much more effective than human? All it has to do is kill, which it did effectively by exploding people into goo.