District 9

Yeah, I know, I’m way behind on this too.  What can I say?  I just don’t get around to see things in theaters as much as I’d like.

I’ll just come out and say it.  I was a million time more impressed by District 9 than I was Avatar.  Not because of how it looked, but because of what it did.

Avatar was pretty, spectacular, exciting, and groundbreaking in terms of SFX.  It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it.  It was also typical, ordinary, predictable and almost patronizing in terms of its plot.  District 9, on the other hand, is a satire that has more substance to it than most “serious” SF movies.

The movie starts off as a documentary, in which it is years after an alien race arrives over Johannesburg, South Africa.  In it, you see the protagonist Wikus, working as a bureaucrat for a multinational company that is currently evicting the “prawns” from their homes to a new settlement camp – more like a concentration camp.

Wikus is very much like Steve Carell in the office, a totally “wet” guy who is cheerful and friendly and engaging and by the book.  This becomes both funny and disturbing as you see him not only deal with the evictions, but destroying an unauthorized nest of eggs.

Things, change, however, when he stumbles across a cannister of liquid that accidentally sprays on him.  That’s as far as I go with plot details for you.

I could nitpick certain details of this movie plot wise.  Some aspects as to the hows and whys of certain events are never explained, merely alluded to.  But the fact is alluded is often enough.  As long as your brain can fill in the gaps, it’s all good.  Nevertheless there are a couple of questions at the end I’m not certain about.

All of that is nerd-boy nitpicking, however, and detracts from a funny and exciting movie that is essentially a dark mirror at our own past, and, let’s face it, our present in some corners of the earth.  It shows how we view the “other” by making the aliens at first as ugly and unsympathetic as possible, and making Wikus a likeable dope just doing his job.  That changes quickly.

Along with the equally excellent movie Moon, I place this as one of my favorite SF movies of the last decade.

Ah, wait, I haven’t reviewed Moon yet?  Geeze I’m lazy…

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