Review: District 9

What a surprisingly refreshing science fiction. This is the kind of entertainment we've been missing in the theaters.

I went in without expectations (largely because I didn't even know the name of the movie we were seeing until hours before). Apparently I also missed all of the viral marketing. But that made the movie all the more enjoyable.

District 9 was a different kind of movie. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it possesses something I just haven't experienced lately from movies (which, sadly, if you think about it, have basically all become cookie-cutter formulaic, in an attempt to appease the masses).

Instead, this film seems to press into new territory (disclaimer: I probably haven't seen enough cinema to make that statement, but who cares - it's my blog) and manages to make a wholesome science fiction experience. Not only does it provide powerful social commentary, it does so cleverly with continual suspense and action.

If I were to describe it best, I'd say this type of film seems so complete with all of the right elements and balance, as if it were truly based on a full-fledged novel. And yet its origins simply lie in a six-minute short film. Now that's creativity.

Oh, so for those of you who haven't seen it, you're probably wondering what it's even about, right? Well, here are the opening points:

  • Aliens have been residing on Earth in Johannesburg.
  • Faced by public pressure, the government decides to relocate them.
  • Wikus, your average guy, is designated to lead the operation
...And that's where all the fun begins. Soon you get all the little subtleties of apartheid and corruption, filled with thrills and plenty of surprises. Sure it also has its underlying messages, but it's easy to intake them while you're getting thoroughly entertained.

Some other selling points of the movie:
  • It's filmed much like a documentary, providing an extra sense of realism.
  • There are no blockbuster actors to carry the movie, so it carries itself.
  • It portrays aliens much differently than your typical action/sci-fi film.
  • It maintains a high rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
  • This film was produced by Peter Jackson.
Even if it seems unappealing on the onset, I recommend you give it a chance (and in general, I recommend giving it a go - it's a rare kind of film worth seeing once). The opening is filmed like a documentary, forcing you to piece together several details before they throw you into the action. It's a lot to grasp at first, but it's well worth the experience.

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