District 9 – Spoiler Free Review

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district 9 poster

Is the secret of District 9 another summer movie dud or movie stud?

Seemingly out of nowhere, District 9 has come to theaters all over the country. Lack of hype might lead the masses to believe this will just be another bad film in the long list of awful summer movies of 2009. Will this fall down with the likes of Transformers 2 and Terminator 4, or will it rise up and show big movie makers how to make a movie?

I have to commend whoever was in charge of the trailers because they did an amazing job. Usually these teasers give away too much of the movie and maybe even vital information (A Perfect Getaway, I am looking at you!), not District 9. Granted, they don’t show a lot of the movie, but they also don’t show the MAJOR plot element which is such a relief. The only downer to this is that they made it seem like a big ol’ action film which it isn’t.

Don’t worry though, when the action appears, you’ll love it!

district 9 interrogation

All you gamer fans probably only know director Neill Blomkamp as the “Halo” guy; he made the short film Halo: Arms Race, Alive in Joberg short film, and was in the midst of directing Halo. He was actually Peter Jackson’s choice for the film (hence why his name is on this movie), but Blomkamp was described as “not proven” and then Halo was scrapped. I wonder if whoever decided that will see this movie and then kick themselves?

The good, the bad, and the complaints:

Nowadays, it seems you can’t talk movies for five minutes without talking about a remake or a comic movie. It seems that there is no originality; little did I know I was about to stumble upon some. I can’t say District 9 is the most original idea, but I know it didn’t remind me of any other movie I have seen recently. It seemed so fresh that I found it hard to predict what was going to happen like other movies. That is when I knew to sit back and take the ride.

It might seem fanboyish, or just a rush from seeing it last night, but it is hard to find faults in such a well planned movie. Blomkamp used such a unique way to present the movie that the beginning makes you think, “How is this movie going to play out?” It dabbles in documentary and live-action, as seen in trailers, but it knows when to kick things up a notch. One thing for sure, it gets the job done and creates intrigue which makes you guess and want more.

district 9 shrimp

As for most sci-fi films, CGI is a critical set-piece and District 9 gets it spot on. They way the movie is filmed blends it in very well. I can only recall one scene that the “prawn” (the racist epithet for the aliens) actually stood out as being completely fake. Otherwise it’s a seemless experience. You can tell that much care and consideration went into making them blend.

There are two treats for gamers. The first is a (probably) unintentional nod to Half-Life 2. I won’t give it away but when I saw it, that was the first thing I could think of and it was great! The other treat for gamers is that District 9 feels like a video game. There’s good combat and well paced scenes which lends thoughts to a possibly decent title in the hands of the right developer. That being said, I am glad it hasn’t been developed as a game because that probably would’ve called for a bit of whoring out of the movie to achieve.

Without the possible cash-in, it feels like an underground hit that the masses don’t know about but really should. Who doesn’t like the feeling of having something special that not many people know about with such high quality? Like any video game title, it actually has an ending, none of that fake ending leading to a sequel garbage that you see a lot of nowadays.

This was a real film with a beginning and an end. The end, while being concrete, does seem like there could be a sequel if they REALLY wanted to push for one, but in my mind it wouldn’t have much to offer as a movie. The ending gives you that satisfied feeling that all of your questions being answered. However, one question will remain in your mind, but that question won’t pop up until AFTER you leave.

district 9 fighting

Strangely for a Sci-Fi movie, the theme is Apartheid, perhaps with when I go see it again, I will pay a little more attention to the underlying themes versus the main themes, however I was happy just enjoying a great movie!

After seeing District 9, I actually believe Blomkamp is beyond Halo…Maybe even too good for it. Luckily for me, he won’t be doing it even if he is asked. I think things worked out better for this fledgling director.

This is a must see movie. If you went to see Transformers 2 or any other movie this summer and don’t see this…you either hate movies or yourself. You don’t really hate yourself, do you?

Avoid reading about District 9 and ALL potential spoilers and go see this movie NOW!

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