Friday, August 28, 2009

Sci-Fi at it's best: District 9 movie review

I took today off from work and my wife and I went to the early showing of the Sci-Fi film "District 9". I thoroughly enjoyed this compelling film which is told from a limited point of view but still manages to convey the broader context of the story and world very effectively.

Like the best in sci-fi "District 9" manages to create enough distance between real world issues to create fresh perspective, while at the same time speaking directly to these very real world issues. "District 9" has alot to say about human nature, especially human tribalism, immigration, race, civil liberty, security, torture ... and to a degree speaks to human base responses to fear of the unknown. "District 9" also shows civilization to be a thin and fragile veneer on top of an ugly survivalist biology. Given the opportunity we will seemingly all-to-easily do bad things.

While there's alot of gunfighting in the second half of this film, I credit the writers for not letting this film fall into the rut of becoming a predictable shoot-em-up. Too many sci-fi films create a vivid new world in the first half only to have the second part of the film trudge into a dull blow-stuff-up-and-save-the-world absurdity (or even worse B-grade horror film schlock). "District 9" thankfully does NOT go there. All of the action - and even gore - springs naturally from the storyline. The cast of flawed characters behave appropriately throughout, and seem even at ease with the roles and ugliness inherent in them. The film is thoughtful throughout. Revealing throughout. And it is engaging throughout. The world and movie always feel believable and "real."

The special effects are also incredible. A ton of credit has to go to the actors for pulling off the scenes that have the aliens in them. The alien creatures in this film fit in seemlessly with the landscape and the actors respond appropriately - as if the aliens were actually there.

Bottom Line: I say go watch this movie. If you don't go to the theater at least put this on your Netflix queue.

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