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Friday, October 15, 2010

Movie Review: "District 9"

I watched director Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 on DVD last month and was not disappointed. It was very upsetting in many parts, yet because of that these parts contributed to the movie’s realistic view of social injustice. The characterization was well rounded and supported by good acting. The plot held up and moved along well. The movie was filmed in a style similar to that of Cloverfield—news footage realism. The difference between these two films is that while Cloverfield is in the style of a homemade movie, District 9 is in the style of a professional news report/documentary. It’s a style comparable to that of Orson Well’s radio production of War of the Worlds which was done so realistically the masses tuning into it late thought it real live news coverage.

The movie begins with interviews that ask both experts and common people their opinions about an alien race referred to by the derogatory name, “Pawns”. Nearly all the opinions are bad, many of them racially stereotyping. A government agent, Wikus Van De Merwe (Sharlto Copley), of an alien regulation bureaucracy known as MNU, is attempting to relocate the aliens who have been refined to a ghetto. In doing so, he is infected by a biochemical engineered by the extra terrestrials and, because his own government turns against him, he takes refuge among them.

While there are some similar plot elements to those of Avatar, especially the themes of social justice, the film’s plot still has its own uniqueness contributed mostly by the idea of the oppressed race coming to Earth rather than vice versa. Because of these themes, the movie reflects both the issues of apartheid of the producers’ country, South Africa, and immigration issues such as the ones here in the U.S. and the social injustices these issues bring.

The special effects were really good, especially the creature design. The interaction between the human agent and the alien he takes refuge with is worked out really good making the audience care about where the relationship is going. The aliens, having so advanced of technology, using weapons that graphically show a person’s guts exploding sort of gives the movie away as an excuse for a mere gross-out. However, this flaw does not outweigh the many other, better made elements of the film.

The movie ends in such a way where a sequel can easily be produced, since not all of the issues, especially ones on individual character levels, come to an overt conclusion. If a sequel were to be made it would be really interesting to see which direction it takes the storyline in. The sequel can easily be made into one of high quality like the original, but unlike most sequels it probably wouldn’t beat the original as far as the integrity of the movie itself goes. As far as the box office goes? That’s another story. Literally.

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