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I do not give out ratings of 10 lightly, but here it is - the first
film in years that has been deserving of the rating.
Neill Blomkamp brings to screens a fantastic, gritty, realistic piece of science fiction with District 9. Not since Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner", John Carpenter's "The Thing", or James Cameron's "Aliens" have we seen a science fiction film with a vision of this caliber. After viewing District 9, it will be clear to one and all why Peter Jackson put so much faith in Blomkamp and took him under his wing as protégé.
Abandoning the usual settings of Hollywood sci-fi and placing us in the harsh slums of South Africa, we are given an original piece of work which takes risks in the way it tells its story. Not only does it go against the expectations of audiences who have been trained to expect mediocrity from their sci-fi, it goes above and beyond the call of duty to provide us with spectacle as well as something to ponder after we've downed our popcorn.
There is, thankfully, not an overused, overexposed celebrity in sight, and every unknown face in the film gives a solid performance. The aliens themselves, brilliantly realized with top notch CGI even manage to make us feel something, only rivaled by Gollum from "Lord of the Rings".
District 9 has so much to like. It's spectacular, darkly funny, entertaining and thoughtful all at the same time, and it's all done on a meager $30m budget. There is true talent on show here. If only there were more films like this, the world of cinema would be a more interesting place.
I attended a promotional screening for this with a pretty good attitude
towards all the hype that surrounded it. It was not what I expected, it
was much better.
Not only were the CGI top notch, but the narrative is driven through a believable plot. Watching this film made me believe that a situation as such had occurred on Earth, and therefore the far fetched notion of an extra terrestrial race visiting us becomes so close to a reality through a story that is so realistically depicted.
District 9 is a beautifully crafted film which shows signs of great promise for being around for a while, a subject talked about by many people. Can't wait to watch this again with my friends = )
I caught an early screening of this movie last night. I went into it
with high expectations considering the high ratings it has been getting
already. My expectations were not high enough however because this film
exceeded my them in every way possible.
I will not go far into detail because I would prefer to not spoil anything. This is unlike any sci-fi we have seen in years. Forget Terminator 3 and 4, forget the AVP movies, forget all those laughable sci-fi movies, this film is what we have been waiting for. An original idea, an original concept, brilliantly executed, great CGI, good acting, it just has it all. We have seen many aliens come to earth movies, but this is different, I will not say why though. That is for you to find out when you see it, which I HIGHLY recommend you do.
This movie, quality-wise, matches up with the popular Sci-Fi films we love. The original Alien, the original Predator, The Matrix, Star Wars, etc. While I enjoyed those ones more because they are classics, this one clearly meets the standards we expect today when it comes to quality. A big driving force behind this, in my opinion, is the fact that high esteemed Peter Jackson is behind this project as the producer. After seeing his masterful Lord of the Rings saga, anyone can see that he knows what he is doing.
As far as movies for this year, this is definitely top 5 so far on my list (Up, Star Trek, 500 Days of Summer, HP6, and District 9). Thank you Jackson and Hollywood for finally producing the best Sci-Fi in years. If this movie does not make its way to IMDb top 250 then I will be in awe.
See this movie!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Everyone's seen the trailer that kick-started one very fishy-looking
viral campaign, interviewing several humans and an alien in quick
succession. That marks many people's first exposure to Neill Blomkamp's
District 9, and the trailer - which had a decently executed
"mockumentary" feel to it, which only served to make its sci-fi content
seem even more surprising. This same element of surprise is still
present throughout the film proper, and it is quite a cinematic treat.
District 9 takes place in an alternate timeline where, twenty years ago, an alien spaceship came to a halt above the city of Johannesburg. The inhabitants of the ship are unable to operate the ship anymore, so they end up being segregrated to their own slum within the city below. Eventually, the government calls for the eviction of the aliens (nicknamed "prawns" due to their appearance) from the slum. The film's ostensible protagonist is Wikus (Sharlto Copley), who through a series of events too complicated to recount in a synopsis, ends up undergoing some rather dramatic changes and before long he's thrust into the middle of something far too big for him to handle...
The best thing about District 9 is that it always manages to stay fresh and surprising throughout. As the trailers indicate, it starts off as a mockumentary in order to expose the gist of the story. The film gradually crosses over to being a more conventional film, although still filmed with a very documentarian look and interspersed with occasional news footage or interviews. Despite the unexpected change in presentation, you don't really notice because you're so wrapped up in the ingenious premise. Then you're presented with the plight of Wikus, whose story is one I don't really want to expose too much because watching it all unfold was just amazing to watch. He's a perfect example of the Everyman, trying to survive as best he can in the face of everything that the world throws at him over the course of the film. His development, along with that Chris, the prawn he befriends (who is surprisingly well-rounded for a CGI character) raises this above your average science-fiction film. Even when the film's final third act becomes incredibly action-packed, it still doesn't jar with the mood of the film and doesn't forsake its characters and intelligence for the sake of cheap action sequences.
On that subject, the action sequences are far from "cheap". Given that Blomkamp and collaborator Peter Jackson were originally aiming to make a film adaptation of Halo before changing to this, there's still plenty of moments that feel quite reminiscent of Bungie's game, from the alien technology to the frantic battles. The effects work looks great in even the simplest of situations, to say nothing of the bombastic finale. There's just something about the way it all comes together, especially when it is combined with one very uncompromising storyline and subject.
District 9 is a rare find nowadays. It doesn't sacrifice the intelligence or raw power that its story affords it for the sake of appeasing your "typical" blockbuster crowd with a lighter rating and less focus on the story. It's a damned fine thriller that is not without its flaws, but is still several cuts above your average summer film and is well worth watching - but only if you can handle the heat. And it does get quite hot.
Just got home from a preview of District 9. We had seen the previews
and were intrigued to see just what the film would be like.
The film style was very much documentary like with lots of sound byte style comments settings the scenes and giving commentary all through the film. These in my opinion took it from being what could have been just another "aliens vs humans" film and elevated into the realms of social commentary. The aliens are presented almost as animals yet you rapidly start to sympathize with them and tune into their desperation.
If it wasn't for the alien space ship in the background and the poor being alien in every sense, you would think this was a movie about any slum and the people who prey on the inhabitants.
Like other films which cover the worst that humans can do, there is a brutal violence present and the directory has not shied away from depicting it. This is not a film you want to watch after a big meal. Just ask my girlfriend. She thought she would have to leave half way through.
In all, this is a film we worth every cent to see. Right up until the end you are never sure what's going to happen next. The characters are believable and the style of the film just adds to it. This could have happened, and in fact may happen.
For a first effort, Neill Blomkamp has created one of the best SciFi for a while, his future work will be well worth paying attention to.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
District 9 is a story about aliens who make contact with Earth and the
relationships with humans and society. The creatures were set up in a
makeshift home in South Africa's District 9. Control over the aliens
has been contracted out to Multi-National United (MNU), a private
company uninterested in the aliens' welfare. Their sole interest, alien
technology and weapons. Weapon research would mean huge profits for the
company. Wikus van der Merwe (Sharlto Copley) is placed in charge of
the filed operation to evict, remove, and place the aliens in a new
holding facility. Conflict and tension threaten the operation as agents
Don't be fooled. This isn't your typical alien sci-fi action movie. What got me was the believability. If there were aliens out there that were able to make contact with Earth, it seems it could have gone something like this. The way the perspective switches from mock documentary style to standard third person certainly contributes to it. "Real" news footage and interviewers tell the story in retrospect, as the events of the movie have already occurred when they are being interviewed. I think it all added to the realism of the experience.
Usually in these type of films, it's mostly mindless action and the story is lost. Not the case here. There's so much more to it. It's also about betrayal, loyalty, trust, relationships, and sacrifice. It can actually be pretty deep and thought provoking with many themes floating around. The film's really about the story which is really a fresh, gritty, original concept, which is good to see nowadays.
While the creatures can be most readily described as monsters, though they are like us. Family and friendship are still important ideals in their world. The film explores a fine line between human emotions and monsters. With all the selfishness, hatred, and greed within us, maybe we are the real monsters or at least that's how it can be perceived.
Neill Blomkamp does a tremendous job with the direction and realism of the film. Sharlto Copley blew me away. I was shocked to see this was his first acting role. The action sequences were well done as well. District 9 is a very unique sci-fi film, one that shouldn't be missed. Mind you, this isn't a film for everyone. It's violent, and many parts can be cringe worthy. Be warned but be ready for one of the best films of the year thus far.
I attended a preview screening of District 9 last night, and I am in
absolute awe of this film and its director Neill Blomkamp.
Thanksfully, I knew relatively little about the story going into the film. I had a rough idea of the concept and had seen a few TV spots, but thankfully the film delivered so much more than I was led to expect.
What I like most about the film is that it increasingly gains momentum throughout its runtime, starting out as a mockumentary (and thinly veiled social commentary), but then delves into more mainstream thriller territory, before culminating in some thoroughly entertaining action set pieces. If action is your thing, be sure to stick it out through to the latter half of the film. As I was leaving the cinema, I overheard many other patrons saying exactly that... "I wasn't too sure for the first hour, but I'm glad I stayed" (personally, I have never walked out of a film at the cinema).
That is not to say that the first half is any less impressive. I am a big fan of realism in films such as this, and as such, I really enjoyed the documentary feel. I think the intention was for the entire film to be in the mockumentary style, but for me the style changes and takes on a more mainstream look (albeit hand-held)... which I think is important to know going in. There are also a few areas where it couldn't be believed that a documentary crew could still be filming (or even alive). But I think the film is much better for this, and definitely more memorable.
If there is one thing that irks me about this film, its that the story moves at an incredible pace... particularly in the earlier scenes in the film, which feel rather rushed, and seemingly at odds with the realistic documentary feel it was going for. Things just seem to happen so quickly, leaving little time to digest the premise and characters. I would love to see a version of the movie that extends the first half to allow a greater look into the reality presented to us.
SFX-wise, there are no complaints. There is the odd bit of artificial blurring on some alien movement, but overall we are presented with a very low-key, realistic CGI presentation that could teach Hollywood a thing or two.
One other aspect that I must mention is the performance of the lead character. Seeing a film of this caliber that has no recognisable actors, with foreign (to an Aussie!) accents just adds to the authenticity... but Sharlto Copley (in his debut performance) is a revelation and one of the most memorable aspects of the movie.
I cannot recommend this movie enough, and the wait until the weekend so I can see this film again is just too long!
Going into the cinema I had mixed expectations as I only saw a handful
(yet interesting) posters and only one trailer. I only heard a handful
of reviews yet all of them came from this site. Well, I decided to
hedge my bets and walk in anyway. And I'm glad I did.
"District 9" is a wallop of a film that is also one of the year's very best films. It perfectly presents the balance of human emotions and CGI mastery. The acting is top notch and believable, and the characters are so realistically presented; even the protagonist is deeply flawed, and during some scenes I wonder who should I root for.
The story is well told; a refreshing, unique and somewhat original scenario, one that we've never experienced for quite some time. The atmosphere is bleak, dark and realistic, actually making me believe this thing can actually happen here on Earth.
The special effects are excellently rendered, and actually give more than their money's worth (Only US$ 30 million! And the effects were amazing, as great as anything WETA has done before!). The creature effects are so realistic we could not tell the difference. Thanks to none other than WETA for this amazing feat, and I hope they get an Oscar for visual effects. But the practical effects are believable too, as per the engaging and thrilling (and also non-stop) action sequences in the film's second half. And boy, those weapons are awesome! Special mention goes out to the fluid editing. Example, first half of the film works like a docu-drama, and the second half becomes a hybrid of Black Hawk Down, and we don't notice the change of pace. It's that brilliant.
Peter Jackson really knows how to pick a good story and director when he sees one. And I want to shake Neill Blommkamp's hand if I meet him. He is certainly a talented director, and one to look out for in the future. (P.S. If that Halo movie is still going on, Blommkamp has proved that he is the man for the job) In short, it's an excellent science fiction action film, but not without it's intelligence. It may have a few flaws and very few clichés (these happen near the end of the film) but it is still very solid nonetheless. If there is a sequel, I'll be first in line to see it.
Overall value: 8.5/10
Saying this movie is good would be an understatement. The movie has it
all, a very intriguing deep plot, good acting and great action. If I
was to find a flaw in this movie, it would be the shaky cam technique
employed at the beginning part of the movie and also at the very end.
The shaky parts are supposedly documentary clips telling the story of
Wikus, the protagonist. But rather than add to the feel of it, the
shakiness is just nauseating. They just over did it. But after a while
into the movie, they got out of the documentary mode and things
couldn't be any better. And the special effects in his movie will have
you believing that these aliens are real.
It's better that you go into this movie not knowing the deeper plot as a big part of the movie's entertainment value for me is the parts when things look hopeless and you really feel the despair and hopelessness of the characters. The only thing you need to know going in is that there are aliens stranded on earth and they are put in slums.
This is one of those movies that teases you that it's nearing its end, but inside, you go "No, I want more. It can't end like this", and the movie hears you and gives you more. And it's primed for a great sequel. The potential that this franchise has is just enormous. The way they can expand the story is just limitless and all of them can add to it's lore. This is a classic franchise in the making.
I recently attending a promotional screening of District 9. I would
like to give my opinion of the film, but not any of the plot or
I went into the theater basically only knowing the genre of the film, being exposed just to the minimal "humans only" ads. While I watching the film, I immediately wanted to view it again. It is intriguing and highly entertaining, with a dynamic characters and rich in both humor and action. Once it ended, my friends and I chattered excitedly about the numerous aspects we liked. As cliché as it may be, there are parts of this film that will stay with you.
When it is released, I will be waiting with everyone else to see it again!!!
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