District 9 Review
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Produced by Peter Jackson, Bill Block, Ken Kamins, Paul Hanson, and Elliot Ferwerda
Written by Neil Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
Released: August 14th, 2009 (NA)
Time: 112 min.
Here's my problem with summer movies that aren't The Dark Knight (2008). Every summer movie it seems, unlike The Dark Knight, never seem to resonate. None of them really took my breath away. After seeing the normal flow of summer movies this year, I was saddened to find that none of them almost suffocated me to death. The only one that was truly a good movie was Star Trek, not because its Star Trek, but because it was just a damn good movie. Still, that was technically Spring, but I digress. Yet, someone decided to throw me a lifeline named District 9. The most I knew about it was that it had something to do with aliens, something to do with a district (people say its the 9th one, but that's debatable), and...well, yeah, that's it. It made me curious. So, why not check it out?
After walking out of that movie theater last Friday night, I will gladly say that everyone with more than half a brain should see this movie. It is dramatic, smart, action-packed, and above all, a movie that you will talk about for weeks on end. District 9 is an adventure that you may not have expected and that's what's great about it. It's not a cliche alien flick, it's a true, honest movie about social issues we still have today. Still, without the messages, you can walk out saying that it was still amazing. And you'd be right.
District 9 follows the events of an ongoing crisis in South Africa, in some points showing it as a documentary, which involves the housing of over a million of "Prawns", a derogatory term the humans have given the non-humans, in the District 9 slum. Following the footsteps of corporate puppet Wikus van der Merwe, the film takes you on a spiraling roller coaster of an adventure that ends with an odd, yet "actiony" ending. Science-fiction fans will appreciate the time taken into making it a sure hit, yet people just looking for a good time will find a lot of awesome fights and explosion to satisfy any thrill seeker.
District 9 successfully weaves action with a emotional narrative that focuses on the conflict between the humans and aliens, as well as their relationships between each other. The aliens seem to be more human than the humans are, with every sentence heartfelt, even if they are all clicks and gargles and need subtitles for the normal human being to understand (that being the movie-goer, mind you). Of course, it becomes more personal when the main character finds himself in a predicament that he can't seem to get out of without the help of one of the extraterrestrials.
The movie itself is almost near-perfect. There is very little to bash it on, but then again, nothing is perfect. District 9 seems to take off a bit too slow as it tries to build up the atmosphere of the movie with documentary-styled introductions to the conflict and it's history. The ending is also a bit offbeat, as it doesn't really end, but rather just leaves the conflict ongoing and without much solution. This may be a message to the viewer or may just be that it doesn't need an ending, but some may be a bit disappointed in what they don't get after watching the whole movie.
But, I can easily say that the positives extremely outweigh the minimal negatives there are. District 9 is a masterpiece of sorts. It brings a breath of fresh air to a dim summer movie line-up that didn't impress many at all. District 9 is something Hollywood needed. It is an intelligent movie that many need to see for more than it just being an alien movie. There is something to be learned from District 9. When you take the time to truly create an amazing movie and not just slap something together with poor dialogue and crappy acting pieces, you get something like District 9: a film that is above average in every meaning of the phrase. You should not think twice about seeing District 9. Catch this gem before you lose it.