August 14, 2009

District 9 - 2009

Director: Neill Blomkamp
Writers: Neill Blomkamp & Terri Tatchell
Actors: a cast of unknowns

The briefest, non-spoilery summary of District 9 I can give is this: in the early 1980s, a monstrous alien spacecraft settles in the skies of Johannesburg, South Africa, and the local goverment establishes a refugee camp (for lack of a better term) for the aliens, which ends up becoming a slum. Cut to present day, where a company called Multinational United attempts to evict the aliens and relocate them to a more militarily-controlled area.

For about the first forty minutes of the film (as well as the film's trailer), you get the idea that this is going to be one of those movies with a Message, probably something about apartheid or illegal immigration--the documentary-style parts of the movie contain news stories about nonhuman riots, the Nigerian population dealing in alien weaponry, and interspecies prostitution (two words I hope never to type again). Something remarkable happens at that point, however, which changes the movie entirely and sets an entirely separate plot in motion.

That's all I want to say plotwise, as it only gets better from that moment on. This film proves to certain directors (Michael Bay, I'm talking to you) that you can have a summer blockbuster with all the action and adventure, while also having an unpredictable story, well-developed characters, and interesting dialogue. Also, the director had been picked by Peter Jackson to direct the now-canceled Halo film; District 9 is so good that it won't matter that Master Chief won't be coming to the big screen anymore. One note, though: there's a bit of gore, mostly from conflict between the humans and aliens (that's NOT a spoiler--without conflict, you have no story), so I wouldn't recommend this one for the weak-stomached among you.

Please see this movie. I don't want to get up on Monday to find out this is number one at the box office.

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