#49: “When dealing with aliens, try to be polite, but firm. And always remember that a smile is cheaper than a bullet.”

district 9


#49: District 9 — dir. Neill Blomkamp

Such an excellent movie.  It reminded me so much of another favorite, Alien Nation.  Most science fiction can do alien invasions with hovering spacecrafts and laser blasts, but I’m so much more interested in the humanity (no pun intended.)  Once aliens have landed, and interacted with humanity, how are they folded in?   Obviously this became a shovel over the head metaphor for racism in South Africa, but that’s why I love it.  Genre films like horror and science fiction can be metaphorical, they can make statements broadly and wildly and definitively, and that gives the best ones depth.

District 9 wasn’t just aliens vs. humans.  It was bureaucracy vs the disenfranchised.  It’s like The Walking Dead right now — it’s not so much about “AHHH! SHIT! ZOMBIES!  RUN!”  It’s now, alright, zombies, but how do we fit society around them.  It’s totally submerging your audience in a crazy world that has been existing and now you gotta play narrative catch-up. I love stories like that.  It’s trusting your audience is smart.

It also introduced Sharlto Copley, who is a mindbendingly fun actor to watch.  I didn’t adore The A-Team or Elysium, but man did I love his damn characters in both.  And as for Blomkamp, I think he’s just getting warmed up.  I think he’s going to end up becoming a sci-fi Tim Burton, with crazy ass cyberpunk space madness.


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