Monday, January 18, 2010

Review: District 9

District 9
Directed by Neill Blomkamp
Produced by Peter Jackson
Written by Neill Blomkamp Terri Tatchell
Starring Sharlto Copley - Jason Cope - Robert Hobbs

District 9 the movie is really a mixed bag. Some of the elements have become well worn science fiction movie cliches. How many times lately have we seen the huge alien craft slowly drift to a stop above a large Earth city? Or the aliens on-board are stranded and want only a place to live peacefully? Or say we keep the ship but have aliens incomprehensible to humans. If you take these few simple framework elements you can well image or understand District 9. No one knows why there are here, their huge ship is totally derelict (but it is still staying aloft? huh?) The aliens themselves are barely humanoid and after 20 years no one seems to know any more about them.

As the movie opens, there is a plan to move all the aliens to a different holding area, well away from the City. In charge of the "eviction" and move is a somewhat suspect government agency (as like many quasi legal government agencies, in other movies, those of District 9 have a very suspect agenda. ) Whos' efforts are spear headed by a government toady that has virtually no clue how to accomplish the move other than what is in the manuals. Needless to say misunderstanding and violence escalate quickly.

District 9 is a bit disconcerting because it almost gives the feeling that it doesn't quite know what it wants to be. It starts out as a "documentary" documenting the "history" of the move from District 9 and the actions our government buffoon. However as the action speeds up and the violence increases, the movie moves to a cinematic format but at the end drops back into the documentary style.

Though confusing at times, the movie is far from a bore. In earlier movies, like Independence Day, we are never quite sure how the aliens as a whole look. Those of District 9 are very well rendered. Given where the aliens are kept, nothing is whole, or for that matter clean. It really puts a wonderful new spin on alien slum. wow. Plus the anti hero we usually have in movies of this sub genre (say like Riddik ) is incorporated towards the end of the film, but even though, it is really hard to empathize in this instance. But I am not going to give anymore away for those that might be waiting for the DVD

And the dvd is a home run!!! We have a director's commentary, though he tends towards geo politics, we have deleted scenes! LOTS of them. Plus several short featurettes on visualizations and execution of elements that brought the movie along. This is what makes a dvd live for me and this is a feast.

This is a sci-fi movie dvd collectors disk for sure. I would give the movie an 8 because many of the elements are far from new, but a 10 for a well executed dvd so that is a 9 overall. Good addition to your library.

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