Tuesday, 12 November 2013

District 9


When a large alien spaceship full of malnourished extraterrestrials hovers over Johannesburg, the South African government decides to move them to a make shift home in District 9. Soon however District 9 becomes a slum and the aliens start pissing everyone off, so, the government attempts to evict the aliens and send them somewhere else. That’s where main protagonist Wikus comes in. Wikus is in charge of the removal operation and whilst at work Wikus is exposed to some weird alien technology with dramatic results…

District 9 kicks off with a very strong beginning that is instantly engaging and creates a very tense atmosphere, which is present throughout the rest of the film. Stylistically the film is impressive throughout. The beginning is especially so, done in a mocumentary style designed to look like all the footage comes from either, a handheld camera or CCTV footage. This filming choice is highly effective and artistically stimulating so it’s a shame that it’s eventually dropped for a more conventional approach. However, this transition is necessary as what follows is a second act of plot development, and a third act of stunning action sequences where hand held camera and CCTV footage would have been hard to incorporate.

There were a couple of characters that felt out of place as they seemed outlandishly villainous: in any film you need conflict and opposition, but here I question whether the opposition needs a leader, or if it does, a leader that’s blatantly evil or sadistic. Despite these archetypal bad guys there was a very realistic quality to this film, derived from the underlying political themes that the premise and narrative is built on - themes that a film such as Avatar never properly delves into. And of course the film can also boast some brilliant looking props and solid CG. 

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