Wednesday, September 16, 2009

District 9

Finally saw District 9 with Dave today! I was afraid I was going to miss this one. I'm glad I didn't.

The initial trailer (and websites) gave me the impression this was going to be heavy on social commentary. Then the TV ads were heavy on action, so I started wondering, is this a "thought" movie that they're selling as an action movie?

Well, no. It really is an action movie. But it's a very, very good action movie with some strong social commentary overtones.

And cool spaceship shots. I love spaceship shots.

The movie gives us the basic set-up of how an alien spaceship arrived in the 1980's, and how the aliens were not treated well once they were settled into District 9. But that's about as far as it goes. Personally, I would have loved for the first 5 minutes of the film to be expanded into a good half hour, so we saw more of how the aliens interacted with humans and were trying to be treated with basic civil liberties. But it doesn't really go there; it's more of simply a set-up to have an "us and them," although it does do a good job on asking what it would take for someone who only ever saw the aliens as "them" to learn to see them as one of "us."

Another interesting thing I noticed is that while the aliens never speak English, a lot of their dialogue probably didn't need to be subtitled, yet it all is. There's a lot of human replies that explain what they just said. ("Gllblblbllblllbb?" "Yeah, sure, lunch sounds good." Not an actual line, but that kid of thing. Like when Han would talk to Chewbacca.) I'm wondering if the director originally intended to not subtitle the aliens and changed his mind?

All in all, I enjoyed this movie, even though it wasn't all I thought it could be. Since the trend now is to cut out story for the sake of action and then put the story back in on DVD, I'm hoping the DVD release will give me more of that "humans living with aliens in their backyard" that I was hoping for. IMDB reports that they filmed six different endings, so at the very least I'll be watching the DVD to see some of those!

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