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District 9 (2009)
Just saw it on DVD. Wow, outstanding low budget flick! Good story reinforced with top notch effects. I could do with less "documentary" style movie making, however this movie starts as documentary and moves to cinematic. Aliens and weapon effect animations are outstanding.
The story is about aliens who arrive on earth, their space ship ends up hovering over Johannesburg, South Africa. After 20 years, as second class citizens and because the "prawns" don't do well mixing with humans, they are relegated to a slum. The government decides to move all of them farther out of town to a new camp. This is when the hero of the story is exposed to an unknown substance that has a profound effect on his life and in the process reveals an alien plot. I think I'm going to watch it a second time! ;)
Be warned: every other word starts with "f" and graphic violence as in dismemberment and people being splattered by alien weapons.
Possible spoilers below---------------------------------
Some have complained about holes in the plot. If you are picky, those critiques could be valid. They did not bother me. Such as why did they come to Earth? An answer is not really required. They like cat food? Alien quirk. They are all morons? No they are not as the plot proves. Some of it can be attributed to inter-species differences and incompatibilities. Why would an unknown substance act as fuel and alter DNA? Their Alien tech merges technology with biology.
Sherlock Holmes (2009)
Consume Caffine Prior to Watching
Although a technically competent movie, it has the elements of a suspenseful thriller, but none of the thrills. The climax is flat and disappointing. When I compare this to the original Sherlock Holmes movies, or even the Holmes/Moriarty episodes of Star Trek Next Generation it has none of the charm or the mystery. Whatever mystery there is, is overpowered by the coldness of the film. The villain does some interesting things as if he is in league with the devil, but in the end Holmes rapid revelation of how everything was accomplished was not presented in a satisfying way.
The actors Downy, Law, and Adams (who I've liked in previous movies) seem to do an adequate job with what they are given but none of them are likable, especially Holmes. Partial blame must go to the overall story atmosphere. I have read many of the original Holmes novels and may be a victim of my preconceived notions of just who Holmes is. I can only guess, but it seems like the Director's vision for this story (cold and gritty) and Sherlock Holmes's personality in combination with Downy's portrayal just turned me off, all most a reminder of the actor's troubled past. I may be evoking a standard some will disagree with but first and foremost, I want to like Sherlock Holmes.
The most impressive CGI to date with an outstanding alien world and a decent story. If there is a critique of this movie, it is that the story is not what I would call an original story, the themes of the story have been told previously: 1) evil corporation destroys environment for profits 2)advanced race taking advantage of indigenous species, 3) hero goes native. Is this bad? That would be a personal opinion. It's very watchable, just not that original as far as the story goes. My wife called it the Sci-Fi version of Dances with Wolves. She has enjoyed previous Cameron movies, but did not like this one. I found the world of Pandora to be a most impressive creation. Overall I liked it. I'll have to see it a second time before I decide if it's worth purchasing. :)
Saw it a second time at the local IMAX. If you've not been to the IMAX lately or not seen a 3D film before, or have not cared for previous 3D films, and don't mind spending $15 per ticket, this is the movie that you should see in 3D at the IMAX. It's a pretty incredible experience. I will be buying this movie when it's out on DVD. I predict this movie will receive at least one Oscar for technical innovation. IMO, it is also a contender for Cinematography, Best Director, and Best Picture.