District 9

“District 9” (2009) movie poster Very well-made little film. Dissolves into a fire-fight/action-movie at the end, but very worth watching.

Notably, the effects (aliens, space-ship) are handled very naturalistically. You forget that they’re effects. (All the ‘prawn’ aliens were CGI, apparently, except the dead ones being dissected in the lab.)

Some of the characters seemed less than convincing, especially a couple of the vox-pop talking heads which top and tail the movie. I think it’s particularly noticeable because most of the performances are very natural, particularly newcomer Sharlto Copley as lead Wikus van de Merwe. I also wasn’t terribly convinced by the violently insane mercenary Koobus (David James). He seemed awfully one-dimensional. Yeah, and some of the dialogue seems a little stilted (though apparently it was largely improvised…)

Also, they could have ditched the subtitles when the Nigerians are speaking English. Their accents are pretty heavy, but the subtitles are kind of patronising.

Something about the movie I felt was a little off. Perhaps I didn’t quite buy the conspiracies of the Nasty Corporation. Maybe it seemed strange that the aliens had all that futuristic weaponry and had never used it to gain power for themselves (or else had more of it confiscated). Or that the fuel for the spaceship was also some kind of biological/genetic agent.

These seem mean charges to level at a scifi movie, but this one sets itself up with such a high degree of verisimilitude and down-to-earth-ness, that the slightly less-real-seeming elements really stand out.

I enjoyed it, anyway. And it was thought-provoking. I wouldn’t rate it at 89%, but very worth watching.

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