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View Poll Results: District 9 - Your grade
Excellent 91 61.07%
Above Average 39 26.17%
Average 11 7.38%
Below Average 5 3.36%
Poor 3 2.01%
Voters: 149. You may not vote on this poll

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Old August 22 2009, 11:46 PM   #196
Lookingglassman
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Re: District 9 - Review, Discuss, Commentary ***SPOILERS*** possible

I sure wish I could go see this movie, but my loser movie theater manager in my town wont show it. If I want to see it I have to drive 45 miles to Louisville. For some reason the guy picks and choses which movies his theater will show. He has like 10 of them in one building. He refuses to show any of the Angel and Demon movies nor does he show many "black" type movies like Beyonce' latest one where her husband cheats on her.
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Old August 23 2009, 02:22 AM   #197
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Re: District 9 - Review, Discuss, Commentary ***SPOILERS*** possible

I attended a screening of this film last night, and have been slowly reading over the responses in this thread.

I wasn’t as concerned as Samuel Walters that apartheid was not addressed by name within the film until I realized the Prawns landed in 1982 and not 1989. That’s a big difference. Historically it is the period when apartheid was at its height rather than at its decline.

Clearly the present-tense material, which date stamps identified as 2010, takes place in a country no longer under apartheid. There’s a black President and Wikus has black co-workers in his office.

On the other hand, claiming that District 9 might take place in an alternate universe where apartheid never happened is unsupported by the film. Many parts of Johannesburg are clearly still affected by racial segregation, and MNU includes black employees, but none in authority positions, and the briefing scenes prove that the corporation is mostly a white one. Claiming that Schindler's List never used the term "holocaust" is a silly defense, too. That term wasn't so uniquely identified with the killing of the Jews during the second World War until the 1950s. That film still tackled the subject (even if I find it mediocre at best, but that is another thread for another time).

In addition, blacks aren’t offered the best array of characterization in the film. The worst offenders are the Nigerians, whose barbaric (animalistic, really) consumption of the Prawns reproduces the worst kind of racial caricatures. And the film does not provide many serious counterpoints. You have the black president, who is proven either inept or corrupt by passing off the story of a terrorist attack that has been dealt with. You have a black subordinate of Wikus, who spends most of the movie cowering behind his boss (and his dialogue repeatedly emphasizes that he is his ‘boss’). The only time the character is proactive is when he looks on the computer to find out what really happened to Wikus, and this action quickly gets him arrested, a fate which he seems to accept.

And I'm not the first to point out how gleefully unsubtle Multi-National United is as a name for the evil corporation, but, come on now.

On the other hand, the film is without a doubt a great technical achievement. The visual effects felt very real in all but a few shots, and considering how small the budget was, I’m inclined to look the other way.

Wikus, too, is an impressive choice of a protagonist. An entirely American film wouldn’t have allowed him to be so inept, so much of a coward, and so physically incapable a man. It wouldn’t allow him to participate in such horrific acts as the abortion scene, either (he’d be denouncing the acts in an act of defiance).

The use of faux-news sequences is very effective as well, and an interesting and unconventional choice.

I'd kind of like to see District 10. In spite of all my criticism, which is not minor, I enjoyed this film, and would rate it above average. It certainly has its mind set on much higher ideals of science fiction compared to most films in the genre. Styalistically it's much more adventurous than any other widely released science fiction film I've seen. The choice of protagonist is unconventional and (unlike the character) brave. And the allegorical message is well-delivered, even if it misses on some of the historical context and reproduces some racist stereotypes.
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Old August 23 2009, 03:14 AM   #198
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Re: District 9 - Review, Discuss, Commentary ***SPOILERS*** possible

^^ Perhaps the aliens themselves brought about the end to Apartheid as the humes maybe decided any hume is better than a prawn? Maybe having a gigantic mothership looming in the horizon had a way of changing people's perspectives. That was what I figured at least.
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Old August 23 2009, 03:42 AM   #199
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Re: District 9 - Review, Discuss, Commentary ***SPOILERS*** possible

Saw it today with JonathonWally. Rated: Excellent.

Spelled-out references to apartheid were unnecessary. As others have pointed out, you could see the segregation up on there on the screen. White people wouldn't trade with the aliens at all. All their trade seemed to come from Nigerians and other blacks living in the slums around them.

The more I think about the movie, the more disturbing it is. The abortion scene stands out in particular. I know some here have found it unrealistic or that it made Wikus unlikable or irredeemable, but this is hardly something without precedent. Forced sterilizations have happened in our history. We've gunned down women and children, pregnant women, innocents of all kinds. Every war is replete with these stories. For some people, there is no greater thrill than to murder with impunity and legal authority. That aspect of his behavior rang very true. He was a coward and a yes-man. He made his men lower their guns because he couldn't stomach watching Prawns get shot--not because it bothered him on some moral level, but because he was a weak and pathetic human being. Definitely not the kind of protagonist a movie like this usually has. Christopher is the real hero. He goes back to help Wikus even after Wikus betrayed him and stole the command module. I can believe he'll be back in three years, barring something stopping him.

I would argue that Wikus acts selflessly only once in the whole movie, when he tells Christopher to go on without him, so he can delay their attackers. And even then, he doesn't know how long he can stick to his guns. Something that stands out about this scene is how easily he takes to slaughtering other humans. He's become so desensitized to violence by this point, he transfers his excitement at the deaths of Prawns to the thrill of killing other humans.

The parallels also worked quite well for me: Wikus is gradually dehumanized, both figuratively and literally, through the course of the movie; Christopher is gradually humanized, at least figuratively. By the end, Wikus retains almost none of his humanity. The only bit of it we see is that he still loves his wife. If there's any part of him that was good, it was that.

I think it's fair to say that none of the humans were particularly good people. Some just happened to be worse than others--in some cases, much worse. There is no limit to the depths of our moral turpitude. When it comes down to it, if your government or your employer puts the tools in your hand to do something vicious and cruel, and they tell you everything's nice and legal and assure you that you just don't have the big picture, would you go along with it? Study has shown that the vast majority of us will go along. Peer pressure is a powerful thing. And the pressure involved here would have been immense.

The movie itself was well-done, and probably provoked more questions than it answered or even intended to ask, but I think that's a sign of a great movie. Definitely a thumbs-up from me.
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Old August 23 2009, 03:57 AM   #200
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Re: District 9 - Review, Discuss, Commentary ***SPOILERS*** possible

"When they first landed, we noticed that they had these really fantastic bio-suits. But then the Apartheid government noticed that these aliens were moving into new areas. And this is when the government started to get tough. This is when things started to get out of hand."
"In our country, we have an Afrikaans minority. Very conservative. Very rigid. And living on their fears. And the Apartheid government was exploiting this. They were exploiting those fears. So that anything that rises up against their institutions, they would just knock down."
^ Both are quotes from "Alive In Joburg" (the short film on which District 9 is based). Both explicitly address the issue of Apartheid in a way that District 9 did not. And neither detracted from "Alive In Joburg," but rather added another layer of realism to the story. Ignoring Apartheid in the feature film makes it less real -- ironic, considering that, otherwise, the rest of D9 was much more realistic than any other Sci-Fi film to be released this year.

Also, Blomkamp had this to say about the "interviews" in "Alive in Joburg": "I was asking black South Africans about black Nigerians and Zimbabweans. That's actually where the idea came from was there are aliens living in South Africa, I asked "What do you feel about Zimbabwean Africans living here?" And those answers — they weren't actors, those are real answers..."

Damned powerful, especially when juxtaposed with the (very similar) reactions of the Apartheid government. Why the feature film ignored these elements, I don't know. D9 is certainly worthy of praise. I enjoyed it, and it elicited a powerful emotional response from me. But the lack of addressing these very real, very prominent concepts undermines the primary message of D9 -- a message that is far more powerful and profound in "Alive In Joburg."
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Old August 23 2009, 04:19 AM   #201
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Re: District 9 - Review, Discuss, Commentary ***SPOILERS*** possible

The claim is that allegory alone is enough, as we've seen here. I just don't agree with that however.
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Old August 24 2009, 03:45 PM   #202
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Re: District 9 - Review, Discuss, Commentary ***SPOILERS*** possible

saw it over the weekend and really enjoyed it.
Gave it an Excellent. With 2 thumbs up

The CGI was flawless. You could never tell the Aliens weren't there.
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Old August 24 2009, 04:23 PM   #203
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Re: District 9 - Review, Discuss, Commentary ***SPOILERS*** possible

PKerr wrote: View Post
saw it over the weekend and really enjoyed it.
Gave it an Excellent. With 2 thumbs up

The CGI was flawless. You could never tell the Aliens weren't there.
Yes. Despite what James Cameron has boasted about Avatar and its CGI realism, I don't think we are at that stage yet. But we definitely are at the District 9 stage.
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Old August 27 2009, 05:50 AM   #204
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Re: District 9 - Review, Discuss, Commentary ***SPOILERS*** possible

I had expected DISTRICT 9 to be one of my favorite movies this summer. And although it had an interesting premise, I discovered that I didnít like the movie very much. I donít know. I supposed that it could be that I found it questionable that the mother ship would remain hovering over Johannesburg for at least two decades or more, without any fuel or its command module. Iím still wondering how the aliens (who were ailing when the South Africans first discovered them) managed to get their hands on enough weaponry to trade with the Nigerians.

I found the movieís portrayal of the Nigerians rather repulsive. Mind you, the South Africans were not portrayed in a positive light, including the main character. But the Nigerians were portrayed in such a one-dimensional and negative way that . . . well, it repelled me. And if the aliens are supposed to be metaphors of the black South Africans during apartheid, does that mean sleeping with them was supposed to be regarded with revulsion? Apparently, weíre supposed to regard Nigerian prostitutes having sex with aliens with revulsion. And could someone please explain why the Nigerians would refer to its shaman (or whatever) with a Southern African word, instead of a word in Yoruba, Hausa or Igbo. And are we really supposed to believe that all Africans who practice in paganism, indulge in cannibalism?
And why couldnít Blomkamp have told the story with one of the aliens as the main character?

Also, there is one scene that featured the main character losing some of his teeth after being affected by the alien liquid. Yet, a scene or two later, he is smiling at the camera with all of his teeth showing. Hmmm? Also, the last half hour was an exercise in excessive action scenes that didnít mesh very well with the rest of the film.

So yeah . . . DISTRICT 9 disappointed me.
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Old August 27 2009, 06:25 PM   #205
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Re: District 9 - Review, Discuss, Commentary ***SPOILERS*** possible

Fish1941 wrote: View Post
I had expected DISTRICT 9 to be one of my favorite movies this summer. And although it had an interesting premise, I discovered that I didnít like the movie very much. I donít know. I supposed that it could be that I found it questionable that the mother ship would remain hovering over Johannesburg for at least two decades or more, without any fuel or its command module. Iím still wondering how the aliens (who were ailing when the South Africans first discovered them) managed to get their hands on enough weaponry to trade with the Nigerians.

I found the movieís portrayal of the Nigerians rather repulsive. Mind you, the South Africans were not portrayed in a positive light, including the main character. But the Nigerians were portrayed in such a one-dimensional and negative way that . . . well, it repelled me. And if the aliens are supposed to be metaphors of the black South Africans during apartheid, does that mean sleeping with them was supposed to be regarded with revulsion? Apparently, weíre supposed to regard Nigerian prostitutes having sex with aliens with revulsion. And could someone please explain why the Nigerians would refer to its shaman (or whatever) with a Southern African word, instead of a word in Yoruba, Hausa or Igbo. And are we really supposed to believe that all Africans who practice in paganism, indulge in cannibalism?
And why couldnít Blomkamp have told the story with one of the aliens as the main character?

Also, there is one scene that featured the main character losing some of his teeth after being affected by the alien liquid. Yet, a scene or two later, he is smiling at the camera with all of his teeth showing. Hmmm? Also, the last half hour was an exercise in excessive action scenes that didnít mesh very well with the rest of the film.

So yeah . . . DISTRICT 9 disappointed me.
Thanks for your post, I agree totally after just seeing the movie. It was ok but the way the Nigerians were portrayed was too off putting for me. I wouldn't mind an all alien sequel though.
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Old August 27 2009, 07:32 PM   #206
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Re: District 9 - Review, Discuss, Commentary ***SPOILERS*** possible



It's so unfair how Nigerians were depicted

I mean, the 'bad guy' portrayal may have made sense if the only Nigerian characters happened to be exploitative slum gangsters, but the way they treated the common Nigerian was just beyond the pale!
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Old August 28 2009, 04:33 PM   #207
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Re: District 9 - Review, Discuss, Commentary ***SPOILERS*** possible

Yoda wrote: View Post


It's so unfair how Nigerians were depicted

I mean, the 'bad guy' portrayal may have made sense if the only Nigerian characters happened to be exploitative slum gangsters, but the way they treated the common Nigerian was just beyond the pale!
The only Nigerians I recall were the gangsters and they were scum regardless if they were Nigerian. They were just scumbag people, regardless of origin.

I don't recall seeing any 'common' Nigerians. We were in South Africa seeing South Africans of J'burg. So I don't know that you can have any "outrage" over how 'common' Nigerians were treated.
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Old August 28 2009, 11:10 PM   #208
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Re: District 9 - Review, Discuss, Commentary ***SPOILERS*** possible

Captain Craig wrote: View Post
Yoda wrote: View Post


It's so unfair how Nigerians were depicted

I mean, the 'bad guy' portrayal may have made sense if the only Nigerian characters happened to be exploitative slum gangsters, but the way they treated the common Nigerian was just beyond the pale!
The only Nigerians I recall were the gangsters and they were scum regardless if they were Nigerian. They were just scumbag people, regardless of origin.

I don't recall seeing any 'common' Nigerians. We were in South Africa seeing South Africans of J'burg. So I don't know that you can have any "outrage" over how 'common' Nigerians were treated.
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Old August 29 2009, 02:22 AM   #209
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Re: District 9 - Review, Discuss, Commentary ***SPOILERS*** possible

I was very bored through this movie. Characters were bland and predictable (aside from the main lead). The stereotypic murderous military nut was extremely annoying to watch and I felt as if they were trying to force my sympathy on whoever he was beating up at the time. It was the type of character you just know is going to get brutally killed at the end to the audience's morbid delight. In the end it didn't feel like the story really went anywhere. The most interesting part of the movie was the anticipation early on of something big happening (e.g. either the aliens attack, revealing they had planned this all along, or some kind of great political issue occurs with regards to the aliens), but about an hour in, I realized this wasn't going to be happening. Of all the summer movies I saw this year, this is probably my least favourite.
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Old August 31 2009, 02:50 PM   #210
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Re: District 9 - Review, Discuss, Commentary ***SPOILERS*** possible

I found it visually impressive, but the story was very much by the numbers IMHO.

"Bigoted gov't peon is forced to reconsider his prejudices when the agency he works for turns against him, leaving the very people he once persecuted as his only refuge from the deadly pursuit of his erstwhile coworkers!!1!ONE"

Not exactly ground breaking stuff. The last 30 mins or so felt like they would never end.

But hey, at least we got Moon this summer!
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