*** Official DISTRICT 9 Discussion Thread

Todd H

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I'm pumped to see this Friday. It's sitting at 97% on Rotten Tomatoes (would be 100% if not for a rather dubious sounding review). After the garbage that's been released this summer, I'm looking forward to a sci-fi action movie that's not a turn-off-your-brain-to-enjoy piece of crap.
 

Jose Martinez

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I'm hoping there's a midnight showing in my neighborhood
 

Ken Chan

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The current TV commercial gives away one nice action beat.

An actual good movie; best action movie of the summer.
 

Robert Crawford

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This thread is now designated the Official Discussion Thread for "District 9". Please, post all comments, links to outside reviews, film and box office discussion items to this thread.

All HTF member film reviews of "District 9" should be posted to the
Official Review Thread.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter.


Crawdaddy
 

Rhett_Y

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The shaky cam really doesn't come into play. You will see it from time to time, but the whole movie is not shot this way.

The special effects in the movie are incredible.

For those who have seen it, can you see a part two coming from this??? I know I can.
 

Ken Chan

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From the Review thread:
Quote:Originally Posted by MattFini ">[/url]

Do we really need two scenes worth of cell phone conversations between the main character and his wife within the span of twenty minutes? Both of them move the plot forward in the same exact way, only the second time the wife the wife has chosen to believe him.
With the second one, they were listening in, and more importantly got a fix on his position. It's not clear if the father got the wife to call him that second time. Given the end of the film, it appears she still has feelings for him.


Quote:Originally Posted by Chuck Mayer [url=/forum/thread/291657/official-district-9-review-thread#post_3596155][img]

the awesome weapons, straight out of a videogame that doesn't exist (but should)
The "lightning-splatter" gun reminded me of something in Halo (maybe just the sound?) which would not be a surprise, given that this director was supposed to do a Halo movie until the suits at the studio screwed the pooch.
 

Chuck Mayer

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There are no guns this awesome in Halo (well, maybe the Needler). And I am glad Halo got the canx, because this is a good film without having to tie into a brand. That said, great opening, and I hope Blomkamp sticks to his guns. He seems to recognize (based on an interview via the Onion AV Club) that studio control is proportional to budget. And he can clearly make things happen with $30M.

Anyways, the mechsuit is about the coolest thing I've seen this summer, except for Sienna Miller.
 

drobbins

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As I was leaving the theater, I ran into a friend who asked me about the movie. I was speechless and didn't know how to describe it. It is definitely one of the best movies I have seen this year. I think people will either love it or hate it though.

The movie was filmed with the "shaky cam" but, it gave me the feel that I was actually there watching the events unfold. The integration between the actors and the computer generated effects was seamless and very believable. The main thing I liked about this movie is I could not predict the story line. I really got the impression that the characters did not know what was going to happen next and were, as in real life, making it up as they went along.

One thing that I thought was interesting is how misunderstood the two cultures were to each other. The aliens with their weapons and technology could easily have take over earth, but it seemed that they were a little oblivious to human traits like power over each other. They seemed to apply force or violence only when needed and then it was more annoying to them than anger or hate. I think that is why they were so easily kept in camp. I don't think they knew they were being repressed.

I think a part 2 would be interesting if the ship came back in 3 years. Would it be a rescue mission or revenge? It doesn't seem in their nature to be violent. I could see a part two easily, and also a good online video game.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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I'll be honest, the hilarious Zombieland trailer was my favorite part of the movie. I also loved the really inventive alien guns and the world established in the first twenty minutes or so. Everything else felt muddled to me; the apartheid parallels are undermined by the seemingly real evidence that the leadership class of prawn, including Christopher Johnson and his kid, actually are an order above the working class schlubs that mostly sit around eating cat food. I guess it could just be a difference of perception or education, but the film certainly didn't take great pains to differentiate the prawn outside of those two. The casual cruelty and selfishness underneath Wikus Van De Merwe's happy-go-lucky Murray Hewitt-esque personality was the most effective parallel to the genuine South African history.

Did anyone else notice that the camera footage of the initial months of the mothership hovering over Johannesburg was dated 1985? That does indeed hint that this movie depicts an alternate history, rather than a speculative future.
 

DaveF

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D9 caught me completely off guard. I'd only seen the original teaser trailer, and that was a couple of months ago. Everything about the movie was completely unexpected, and I was immersed in it.

As noted in the review thread, this is not as good as Children of Men, but it approaches it.

What impressed me was the lack of villains. The sympathies were clearly communicated, but the "bad" guys were rational, believable, realistic. Whether it was human rights activists picketing for better living conditions, the weariness of the general population over 1M "person" refuge camp, or the callously practical behaviors of the military-industrial complex, I accepted each person as acting sensibly. And that, were it real, they would have significant supporters, whether it's "prawn rights" groups or support vivisection research of non-humans.

Not my favorite movie this year, but it's the most memorable so far.
 

Phil Florian

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Saw this last night and found it to be remarkable. I honestly don't want to see a sequal, though...sometimes having questions go unanswered is fine. I mean, if they did come back in three years they would essentially vaporize Earth as their tech is just that much more advanced. Sure, they could make a movie where humans finally figure out their tech (in 3 years given that they didn't in over 20?) but it wouldn't be as interesting. What was interesting was the horrible parallels to aparteid S. Africa (and Nazi Germany to go a bit further with experiments on live subjects, concentration camps to follow slums, etc.). Unless a similar take on things would be available for a sequel (would Wilkus's character become a Nelson Mandella sort of person? I can't see it and it would take away from the simple sad beautiful moment at the end). Leave well enough alone. :)

I think we should be really happy if someone continues to give him $30 million every year to make another cool and original film without tying it to some pre-existing property.

The friend I went with made a fun comment...he said Neil B. found the way to make the stereotypical "precocious-kid-who-saves-everyone" character fun and not cloying...just make him an alien.
 

todd stone

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you're crazy, this film blew away children of men in every way. flawless
 

Malcolm R

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I wouldn't recommend this film to anyone. Points for originality and story, but the execution was pretty poor. The script itself consisted mostly of fu*k (or "fook" as it was pronounced) and its myriad variations. Can't anyone write dialogue for an action film without every other word being an expletive? Didn't care for the documentary feel and all the shaky cam work, didn't like the lead actor, and didn't really give a crap what happened to any of the characters. Everyone was so unlikeable, from the MNU folks, to the terror gangs, to the prawns themselves, that I kept hoping they'd all vaporize each other. Only Christopher and his son were moderately likeable and I'm glad they were able to get away.

I also wish writers would remember how how to write an ending. It seems like all the major films these days just end, with no kind of closure at all.

The audience I was with didn't seem too thrilled by the film, so I'm curious as to how word of mouth may affect business.
 

Patrick Sun

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According to last week's EW article, some of the dialogue was imrprovised on the spot, supposedly to take advantage of Copley's improvisational skills. As far as the cursing, not a big deal, if I were in Wickus's spot, I'd be cussing up a storm as well.

Let me know when Blomkamp pulls off a 9-minute long extended steady-cam shot like the one in the final act in "Children of Men", and then we can talk. Plus "CoM" was much better in terms of developing thematic storylines, and characters and their motivations throughout its running time.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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Originally Posted by Malcolm R

Points for originality and story, but the execution was pretty poor.
I think I liked the film better than you did, but this would be my summary as well. The way District 9 was conceptualized and presented was the best part of the film. The rest felt like a muddled mix of reheated sci-fi concepts, social commentary, and action set pieces. It never coalesced into something with a driving force behind it.

Originally Posted by Patrick Sun

Let me know when Blomkamp pulls off a 9-minute long extended steady-cam shot like the one in the final act in "Children of Men", and then we can talk. Plus "CoM" was much better in terms of developing thematic storylines, and characters and their motivations throughout its running time.
I agree completely. I felt Children of Men was robbed of several Oscars, the type of science fiction that never lost track of the human element.

Meanwhile Wickus is a jackass for most of the movie, and the prawn are too thinly drawn to for the allegorical element to really take off. It's more interesting than a lot of the films about aliens, but looking back to a visual anthropology class in college none of the pieces are really new either. Ethnographic studies with extraterrestrials swapped out for a human exotic Other is clever but not revolutionary feeling in the way Children of Men was. Doesn't mean I think the people who love District 9 are wrong; just means that Children of Men has a lot more to chew on.
 

Sam Favate

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Saw this over the weekend and I thought it was pretty good. It was definitely refreshing to see something that didn't have its origins in an earlier movie, TV show, comic book, video game, etc. I also liked the social commentary that was integral to the movie.

That said, I hate shaky cams. It's no way to tell a story, if you ask me. So the movie loses points for an over-reliance on what is becoming a very tired and dated contrivance.

My other complaint is that the violence was pervasive and too much like a video game. I disliked seeing characters onscreen get zapped and explode into little bits of flesh and blood. It cheapens the human experience, IMO.

Lastly, I'd be remiss if I didn't comment on the awful previews that were in front of the movie. We saw five of them, each one darker and more sadistic than the others. Law Abiding Citizen, Sorority Row, Zombieland, Legion and Saw VI all look like the worst pieces of nonsense; nothing but grim visions and nightmarish images (although Zombieland appears to have a sense of humor). But I was really struck by the relentless cinematic sadism.

I'd give District 9 three out of four stars. I'd see a sequel (which seems inevitable) but would hope that it gains some maturity by losing the shaky cam and truly excessive violence.
 

DaveF

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Originally Posted by Sam Favate

Lastly, I'd be remiss if I didn't comment on the awful previews that were in front of the movie. We saw five of them, each one darker and more sadistic than the others.
Same here: all previews were the next crop of horror / gore movies. It was a miserable 10 minutes waiting for the movie to start.



Originally Posted by Adam Lenhardt

Meanwhile Wickus is a jackass for most of the movie, and the prawn are too thinly drawn to for the allegorical element to really take off.
I always enjoy your analyses, Adam. And here I agree, yet that was a strong element of District 9's fascination, for me: it didn't have a clean-cut, prawn-loving hero who was horribly tricked into becoming a prawn by the black-hat, mustache-twirling villains. Nor was it Twilight Zone where we root for the racist to become what he hates and get his comeuppance. Wickus was an ass, but he was believable and sympathetic. He was the middle ground; he didn't hate the prawns but he didn't like them living in Jo'berg. Much of his behavior to the camera, I took as the pompous over-gesturing someone like him would make when he finds himself with both too much responsibility and an audience that he's unaccustomed to.

Wickus not being likeable kept me somewhat emotionally detached, but it also added to the fascination of this novel telling.
 

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