REVIEW: District 9

Posted on September 21, 2009

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The backstory to the making of District 9 is fast approaching folkloric proportions.

Peter Jackson (naturally the PJ of Lord of the Rings fame) wanted to work with South African, Neil Blomkamp. The intended project become bogged down as I understand things often do in the film world. Jackson instead now encouraged Blomkamp to redo an earlier short film he had made about aliens appearing over Johannsburg. District 9 resulted.

The first third or so is shot in documentary format, the moving camera and ‘unscripted’ appearance giving a real immediacy to the audience before moving seamlessly into the film as such.

This is not a happy film. The Death Star is not destroyed and Princess Leia giving medals to the victorious Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. This is a dark film. It looks at issues like seggragation, prejudice and the willingness of the authorities to be ammoral, especially when they have something to gain.

Following the appearance of alien creatures, nicnamed prawns from their similarity to those crustraceans beloved of our dining during summer, the visitors end up in a major encampment. With this film set in near-future Johannasburg, the irony of setting up post-apartheid forced separation hits the viewer with as subtly as a brick. However this does not detract from what is more important, the story telling.

The action slowly builds up and once that pace is achieved, just rockets along. I hardly moved at all in my seat while watching, and as the film finished only some 40 minutes ago as I draft this entry, my dodgy knees are still suffering from being locked in the one position for far too long. It takes a lot to get me of all people, to sit that still for that long.

We are left with an ending that is not an ending, but could be seen as set-up for a sequel.

The screenplay was written by Blomkamp with Terri Tatchell. I’d love to have a read as I imagine it would be one of those scripts that reads as well as it ends up being shot.

NOT a film for the kids and not one for adults who like soft, fluffy endings.

As a dedicated sci fi freak and lover of all good story telling, this gets a big thumbs up from me!
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