District 9 - Review, Discuss, Commentary ***SPOILERS*** possible

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Captain Craig, Aug 14, 2009.


District 9 - Your grade

Poll closed Dec 12, 2009.
  1. Excellent

    90 vote(s)
  2. Above Average

    39 vote(s)
  3. Average

    11 vote(s)
  4. Below Average

    5 vote(s)
  5. Poor

    3 vote(s)
  1. NKemp3

    NKemp3 Commodore Commodore

    Feb 28, 2000
    I agree. And I don't see why any rational person would ever argue with the point you just made so splendidly. If te timeline for this film had been WW2 and the countries it was taking place in were Germany, Poland, Austria, etc, I'm sure both the studio and the audiences would EXPECT some reference to the Holocaust situation.
  2. NKemp3

    NKemp3 Commodore Commodore

    Feb 28, 2000
    What? When are any movies bankrolled by any studio ever truly on-the-nose when it comes to race relations involving blacks and whites? Truth is Hollywood runs from it all the time (it would rather remind us for an eternity of how evil the Germans were in WW2, but films about the Civil Rights movements in America or even films which present the South in a truly negative light during the Civil War are extremely rare). And even worse than Hollywood is the mainstream audience (aka white folks) who don't have the time, patience or tolerance to look at any movie involving white oppression of blacks. The reactions found on message boards typically for such rare films are gems like "who cares?", "why not show black racism for once!" and the longtime favorite "why don't they get over it by now". The last one is so ridiculous because those same folks probably don't mind every retread of American history in films in which white Americans overcome the tyranny of the British empire during the Revolutionary War or defeat the Nazis during WW2. No, in those instances the mainstream does not mind bringing up the past again and again and again.

    Of course South Africa isn't America but the point remains. Racism is a topic that is not truly explored in movies. Its a topic that many folks are uncomfortable with. These days the industry is probably more at ease dealing with homophobia than it is with racism. And that's fine. But if the filmmakers wanted to make a more powerful film and use South Africa's history of Apartheid as a historical backdrop without really hitting the audience over the head with it then the better way IMO would have been to make the human lead in the film a black person. That would make it less on-the-nose but at the same time increase the overall impact. Because it would be quite insidious for a black person born into the Apartheid system to go about treating the aliens the same way whites in his position would have treated people like him years earlier. It would demonstrate, without having to say it starightforward, how we as human beings do not learn from our mistakes in the past; instead we learn to adopt the actions and tactics of our antagonists, oppressors (current or those in a distant past) and use it for our own means when we see fit. In other words we are all flawed and all capable of having extreme prejudices.

    The added bonus, if they had gone with a black lead, would be that any audience member with any understanding of South Africa's history would be saying to themselves why doesn't this black character understand that he/she is now seems to have quickly forgotten what the other side of oppression and racial inequality looks like. That would make for a more fascinating lead character in my mind and better sell the point that some of you are claiming the filmmaker is trying to get across. Seriously when I experience this story of inhumanity towards these aliens seen mostly through a white person's point of view it doesn't have much impact. After all if white South Africans could do that to their fellow human beings not too long ago, its not all too surprising that they would also treat vistors from another world in a similiar fashion.
  3. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

    Jun 21, 2001
    I think you need to just go see the movie.
  4. NKemp3

    NKemp3 Commodore Commodore

    Feb 28, 2000

    Can someone fill me in on the problems of getting a Halo film off the ground and running? Who was asking for a ridiculous budget?
  5. cal888

    cal888 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Mar 8, 2006
    Californian living in Santa Catarina, Brazil
    The film has time stamps saying 2010. And the aliens came between say 1989 and 1991 for "twenty years ago". By then apartheid was almost at its end in South Africa, and FW de Klerk, the last white leader, was beginning the transition negotiations.

    And at Wikus' desk, he has the 1994 flag up which shows that the aliens coming didn't stop majority rule from occurring.
  6. NKemp3

    NKemp3 Commodore Commodore

    Feb 28, 2000
    No offense but what difference does that make? Such an oppressive system is not forgotten overnight, the repercussions remain with the citizens to this day. Also wouldn't it had been a nice angle if apartheid, in this film, had come to an end in large part because of the alien arrival, giving all South African citizens of all races a common enemy to worry about?
  7. JacksonArcher

    JacksonArcher Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 16, 2001
    I think making the Prawns an outright enemy in the story would have been cliché and generally a bad idea. I liked how Blomkamp humanized them by the story's end.

    As for this whole apartheid issue... The director was born out of South America. He has gone on record saying the aliens were an allegory for apartheid but he didn't want to "blungeon people over the head" (to paraphrase) by making this an overt allegory. It's a science fiction film for cryin' out loud. It's fiction, but with a hard-edged, verite feel. I think people are blowing this entirely out of proportion to the point of missing the entire point of the film.
  8. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

    Jun 21, 2001
    Also, making the lead black would have ruined one of the major plot points.
  9. Snick27

    Snick27 Captain Captain

    Dec 2, 2001
    Pittsburgh Pa
    Well ive seen the movie tonight, and wow, what a disappointment.
    1st. Why do filmmakers still have to use shakey cam? I hate any movie that has that camara moving around and shaken while im trying to center on the person or action going on. That itself ruined the movie for me. Just stick the dam camara in the ground and let me watch what is goin on.

    2. What was with the whole Documentary feel of the movie? Seemed like half the movie was a documentary about the events that led up to the what little we actually saw. Why couldnt the writers just start the movie and have years ago this ship landed and blah blah and then get on with the story. The flashes to people talking about Wikus and events really took away from the movie and to me slowed it down and made it boring. To me this would of been a nice extra on the dvd but i still want to watch the dam movie.

    And how did the fuel for the ship turn Wikus into one of those aliens?

    The story wasnt too bad, heck was a good story and nice special effects, but got ruined with how the film was shown. Could of been soo much better, a shame.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2009
  10. Agent Richard07

    Agent Richard07 Admiral Admiral

    Jun 20, 2001
    Wikus reminded me of Steve Carell. Just thought I'd mention that.

    The only thing that looked funny was that pig that was thrown about 40 feet into the shed.
  11. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2001
    Kansas City
    District 9

    Rated: R for bloody violence and pervasive language.

    My Grade: A


    Near as I can tell, for me, District 9 ends the "Summer Movie Season" for me, looking ahead nothing else is coming out between now and the end of the month (when the Summer Movie Season pretty much ends) that sticks out as something I want to see and Districe 9 ends things on nearly as good a note as it started ( Star Trek.)

    District 9 is a fantastic movie with some stunning special effects that makes you feel for its key alien character.

    District 9 takes place in a South African city where a space-ship has parked in the skies. After hovering there for a few weeks the local military baords it and finds a large civilization of aliens there (who are given the "slur" name of "Prawns") who're eventualy restricted to living in a walled-off slum. The movie follows a government/corporate worker assigned to help relocate the aliens out of the city-proper slum to a "new" slum further away from the city.

    Much of the movie is filmed "Cloverfield"-style as if done with hand-held cameras as some of the premise is around a COPS-style documentary of the agents walking around thee slum to get the aliens to sign their relocation papers. If there's one "drawback" to the movie it's that these "documentary" scenes (with the actors talking to the camera) blend in seamlessly with the typical camera/"foruth wall POV" most movies use (as these scenes are also done with a hand-held camera style) so at times it can be confusing if we're watching the "documentary" or if we're watching "from our own prespective."

    The movie is supposed to be an alagory using sci-fi to the treatment of people in the real South Africa. My knowledge of that area's history is spotty so it's hard for me to say how well it works in that regard.

    The alagory aside the movie is very engaging and the creature and ship/mecha effects done are stunning and flawless. What's remarkable is how much the "lead alien" comes across as a character and how much we buy the partnership he has with our lead human character. Stark, stark contrast from *ahem* certain other all-CGI characters and how they related to on-screen human characters. But I'm not going to open that jar of worms.

    Brilliant, fantastic movie, that engages you and keeps you interested and fascinated. This is Sci-Fi pretty much at its best.

    Good film making. Good effects. Good story. Good characters.

    Good movie to see. So go see it.
  12. Kelso

    Kelso Vice Admiral Admiral

    May 3, 2001
    On the destruct button until the last minute!
    I enjoyed it. Though, it wasn't nearly as good as the pre-release reviews made it sound.

    It was cornier than I expected and there were some fairly major plot points that were poorly explained (or not at all).

    Enjoyable film, though. I recommend it.
  13. romulus

    romulus Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Aug 17, 2005
    Saw it today.

    At first I was like, what Johannesburg? I didn't get into it right a way, it seemed to be taking itself too seriously and some of the violence seemed gratuitous... it was throwing me off a little. But it I got over it, the story was good and so where the VFX. It seemed less cheesy (even considering the ending) than much of sci-fi. I kind of like that it did take itself seriously (but to much;)) now.
  14. Agent Richard07

    Agent Richard07 Admiral Admiral

    Jun 20, 2001
    A lot of their predicament, including their arrival could be explained away by a lack of fuel, but who they were exactly and why they were on a ship travelling through space remains unanswered.
  15. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 11, 2006
    Moncton, NB
    The movie was told mainly from Human POV and Wikus' own experience. Makes sense they wouldn't explain everything.
  16. romulus

    romulus Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Aug 17, 2005
    It doesn't really matter, the story they where telling didn't really need explaining exactly why they got there like they did.
  17. firehawk12

    firehawk12 Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2002
    EXILE + ATTON = GUUUUUUSH!!!! (pic by aimo)
    Plan too. Too many documentaries to watch first though. :lol:

    That said, just reading about it makes it seem highly problematic is all.

    MS tried to cobble together a partnership between two studios. They wanted a huge guaranteed budget and all ancillary rights to the film and both studios (Universal and Fox, maybe) balked and walked away.

    I still blame MS for that deal collapsing. They wanted too much for something that wasn't guaranteed - and they could have funded the movie themselves, since they're freaking MS anyway.

    I wonder if they could make a Halo movie for 30 million though. :p
    This movie would suggest "yes".
  18. DarthPipes

    DarthPipes Vice Admiral Admiral

    Mar 3, 2006
    Agreed. The Prawns are dangerous and there's more than good enough reason for concern. But you do end up sympathizing with them at the end. Since they weren't fighting the American government, I was totally rooting for them at the end.

    Agreed that the main alien, Christopher, totally comes across as an authentic feeling character. The son was great too.

    According to Entertainment Weakly in their cover story last week, the director said he would love to return to the world of District 9. The end is ripe for a sequel but I just don't think it could measure up to this film and it would put a damper on the experience if it didn't. District 10 would be the likely sequel name I would think.
  19. Bisz

    Bisz Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Dec 20, 1999
    Ontario, Canada
    Just saw the movie tonight.


    I think that everything about this movie worked perfectly, just perfectly. It wasn't what I expected, which is an acomplishment in this day and age where plots are more recycled then the paper scripts are printed on. It was paced very well, the visuals were amazing (30m budget, really?!?! Wow!).

    I'll disagree with the people saying that aparthaid should have been addressed in the movie... the movie is about aparthaid, we don't need an actual line of dialogue about it, the whole movie is about it.
  20. The Boy Who Cried Worf

    The Boy Who Cried Worf Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jul 12, 2008
    I just got back from it. In my opinion this is arguably one of the ten worst films I have ever seen. A completely formulaic story that once again recycles the evil corporation/military hunting some guy for a secret he possesses. The opening documentary style narrative goes on far too long and ends up having little to do with the film. The attempt to go back and for the from the documentary to the real action was handles amateurishly. This is also a film of convenience where things exist simply because they need to to advance the plot. The bad guys were bad simply because there needed to be bad guys. The kind of film where once you get out you have a million questions that are a variation on "well why did this happen"?

    My girlfriend on the other hand thought it was one of the most emotionally compelling films she has seen since the Wrestler. She thought it did a very good job of introducing us o the aliens and by not elaborating on their culture too much it made a good point about whether people forced into ghetto situations do so because of their inherent nature or because they are forced to.