Thursday, September 23, 2010

District 9 (2009)

Director: Neill Blomkamp

Starring: Sharlto Copley

More info: IMDb

Tagline: You are not welcome here.

Plot: In 1982, a massive star ship bearing a bedraggled alien population, nicknamed "The Prawns," appeared over Johannesburg, South Africa. Twenty-eight years later, the initial welcome by the human population has faded. The refugee camp where the aliens were located has deteriorated into a militarized ghetto called District 9, where they are confined and exploited in squalor. In 2010, the munitions corporation, Multi-National United, is contracted to forcibly evict the population with operative Wikus van der Merwe in charge. In this operation, Wikus is exposed to a strange alien chemical and must rely on the help of his only two new 'Prawn' friends.

My rating: 8.5/10

Will I watch it again? Yup.

I knew absolutely nothing going into this when I saw it at the theater a year ago yesterday. HOLY SHIT! I was blown away. What a refreshing piece of sci-fi. It's got a very thought-provoking story that actually invests in its characters to the point that...wait for actually care about them! WTF? Yeah, I know!

The CGI aliens are absolutely amazing. When I discovered afterward that this flick was made by a first time director for around $30 million, I was stunned. Very impressive. It's some of the best CGI I've seen and it's used remarkably well. The character arc of Wikus is exciting, touching and tragic. I'm keen to see it again. If it pops up super cheap on Blu-ray this holiday season, I'll get it. I would love to hear the stories behind the development of it and how the story/script came about, not to mention how they were able to make a movie for so little that blows the shit out of most movies that cost 6-10 time as much.

The secret is in the characters. You believe in them. You care for them. You cry for them. $100 million (or more) in special effects in the wrong hands hands is shit (ahem, George Luca$) but a minuscule amount in the right hands is gold. I'm pleased that this did well at the box office, with critics and audiences. We need more quality films like this and we need the studios to wake up and realize that giving directors $200-400 million dollar budgets is no the best way to make a movie.

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