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District 9


myata

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The movie (directed: Neill Blomkamp, produced: Peter Jackson) stands out as a certain achievement on many levels: as a valuable contribution to the SciFi genre, with innovative style of narration that draws viewer right into the story with documentary style opening scenes, making one (me) virtually believe the pictures of a massive spaceship over Johannesburg to be real, and spectacular visual scenes; as a non trivial retelling of some not so distant history, and more generally, in the words of another reviewer, "human ways of doing things". All entirely believable. And not in the least, as entertainment, with one of the most realistic so far, portrayals of aliens outside of Hollywood's epitomic invasion/conquest/horror paradigm, and a dynamic action sequence in the later part.

And even above the immediate history parallels, the movie will long stand as a defining metaphor for for the ways in which we humans manage to give up, waste and trivialize the precious gifts of life and freedom in search of power, money and comfort.

The synopsis of the story (on a very general level, as some wouldn't get it), a spaceship from a vastly superior civilization suffers a distress (the exact nature of which is not specified, but which renders most of its numerous crew and/or passengers/patients/etc?, mentally disabled and incapable of rational behaviour) and parks at our planet over the city of Johannesburg, South Africa. Humans offer the refuge and along with it, the normal, human ways of approaching problems. On that background, the story kicks of with a massive plan to relocate the alien settlers to another area, where they would cause less friction with the local population.

Finally some reviewers were disappointed with the action sequence getting in the way of the moral story. I however would entirely disagree, seeing it instead as a powerful statement of an individual's role in the history, although may be on a slower scale than a move could realistically capture, again, having to employ a strong, well executed metaphor. Good stuff, Messrs. Blomkamp, Jackson et al.

Edited by myata
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http://www.spyfilms.com/#neill_blomkamp .... Alive in Joburg is what District 9 was based on.

I recall seeing a short film by him years ago, and in the same kind of setting, called Tetravaal.

Wikus was the Anti-Hero. Many did not understand it was about aparthied and the problems that came with it. Also, I have heard complaints about the movie not deciding if it wants to be a political or sci-fi movie. It is a political movie in a sci-fi setting. I agree with you that many did not see the underlying theme of the movie. I know many wanted more action.

Personally, I loved the whole movie, it was amazingly done. Great pacing, and story. The setting really brought out that gheto feeling through the movie. It was a place I would not want to visit, let alone live.

The CG was absolutely amazing. It has to be the most flawless integration of live action shots and CG I had ever seen. Most of the time you can see the minor flaws that take away from the movie. But with using some blurr and grainyness to the shots, it looks like it just perfectly blends in. To me it was all completely real. Every shot of mech suit that Wikus wore was nothing but CG. Every shot it was in was rendered.

One of the GC developers/animators that worked on D9 posted on Shacknews http://www.shacknews.com/laryn.x?id=20767748

This movie will go down in history as a ground breaking and revolutionary film. I will put it up there into my fave movies of all time along with Blade Runner, The Matrix and Alien.

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although the thought of interspecies prostitution was a bit much, even for a bleeding heart liberal like me!

It's a common enough occurrence in other sci-fi settings. Not to mention that the obvious metaphor in the movie is species substituted for races/ethnicities.

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It's a common enough occurrence in other sci-fi settings. Not to mention that the obvious metaphor in the movie is species substituted for races/ethnicities.

Mars wants our women! Mars ALWAYS wants our women!

This has been a staple of scifi since the 1920's. Even when the monster is anatomically incapable of doing anything with them.

It's just Hollywood.

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It's a common enough occurrence in other sci-fi settings. Not to mention that the obvious metaphor in the movie is species substituted for races/ethnicities.

Correct, I will asume older sci-fi movies reflected the political scene at that point in time. Trying to think of some that has had that much of an impact as D9.

Wild Bill, they will have to kill me before they gets all the hots earth womens. :D

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I may have used a less than precise term (unnatural) in the earlier post that does not address the subtlety of the issue. The question os interspecies prostitution would be intimately tied to those of (interspecies) attraction and, yes, love. Should those be deemed possible? In the context of the movie, i.e. on the assumption of significant commonalities in the intelligence, and purposes of existence, one would be hard challenged, in my view, to answer negatively. The aspect of the film that certainly merits further in-depth discussion.

Edited by myata
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Great movie. One of the more interesting pieces was how the Nigerians moved into the slums of District 9, taking advantage of the poverty to create a criminal underworld - although the thought of interspecies prostitution was a bit much, even for a bleeding heart liberal like me!

racist! um I mean "speciest" an addle patted liberal would say...

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It's a common enough occurrence in other sci-fi settings. Not to mention that the obvious metaphor in the movie is species substituted for races/ethnicities.

I haven’t watched a lot of sci fi movies, so maybe my perspective is limited; what I have seen in terms of aliens having the hots for earth women has always had a pretty strong cheesiness factor. In District 9, the prostitution was portrayed in such a stark, realistic manner, I found it very disturbing...maybe if it had shown a true emotional connection between a “prawn” and a human, I would have felt differently. The prostitute was portrayed so casually, and she seemed to be resigned to just another customer, one is the same as the other, do the job and get it over with. When they make the inevitable “District 10” movie, I hope they explore the relationship between the prawn hybrid (Wikus) and his human wife – addressing some of Myata’s questions about interspecies love and attraction.

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There was an example of certain emotional connection between individuals of species in fighting the scum of the land. That could be a start already, one the level of shared emotions, those of protecting life and standing up to those who'd stop at nothing to make it serve their ends. If these could be universal (ie we could accept it as such), who/how could say that other emotions, could not?

I agree that exploring the further dilemma of Wikus would be an interesting undertaking. I'd certainly be thrilled to see it adressed in the future installments.

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  • 1 month later...

Pure Prawn Propaganda

No wonder they were unspecific about the exact nature of the Prawn ship distress; a civilization capable of defying gravity, in such an obvious display, can't deal with a little distress situation? This film is full of contradictions and Liberal stereotype assumptions and axioms. Who are the bad guys? Why the corporation, who else? The black criminals, in the ghetto, sitting on an arsenal of advanced Prawn weapons, that only Prawn digits could squeeze, so easily able to be subjugated? Talk about suspending disbelief.

My friend and I were crying tears of laughter, through most of this movie, which we took as a superb comedy.

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Pure Prawn Propaganda

No wonder they were unspecific about the exact nature of the Prawn ship distress; a civilization capable of defying gravity, in such an obvious display, can't deal with a little distress situation? This film is full of contradictions and Liberal stereotype assumptions and axioms. Who are the bad guys? Why the corporation, who else? The black criminals, in the ghetto, sitting on an arsenal of advanced Prawn weapons, that only Prawn digits could squeeze, so easily able to be subjugated? Talk about suspending disbelief.

My friend and I were crying tears of laughter, through most of this movie, which we took as a superb comedy.

You missed an important piece of the storyline.....

There was a plauge that broke out among the population of the ship. The leadership decided to jump ship and leave the workers, or the grunts behind to their demise. The workers on board simply don't know enough about the technology they are using. Or else they would have figured out a way to operate it and not get themselves into this situation. There were a few smart ones among the workers like the character Chris, who learned over time what the technology can do and wanted to save his people.

Once you understand that, you will toss the comedy aside and really begin to understand the plight of the prawns and the premise of the movie.

Trust me, if any country on the planet could gain access to that kind of technology they would. Any military or corporation tied into the military would scoop this all up without question. And they would protect it fiercly. Because that would give that corp/military a huge advantage over the rest of the planet.

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I think it was smart of the creators of the film to not explain the exact nature of the alien's distress. It raised the level of the narrative from regular "us vs them" or antropomorphic stereotypes to the key focus of the story, that is, taking advantage of a (weeker) other, under all/any kind of plausible, to variable degrees, pretexts.

And the criminals are there for a good reason, to contrast their plain and blatant villainly with our own western approach, sterile, highly moral and sophisticated, but somehow, often coming down to the same ugly result.

Edited by myata
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  • 2 weeks later...
The movie (directed: Neill Blomkamp, produced: Peter Jackson) stands out as a certain achievement on many levels: as a valuable contribution to the SciFi genre, with innovative style of narration that draws viewer right into the story with documentary style opening scenes, making one (me) virtually believe the pictures of a massive spaceship over Johannesburg to be real, and spectacular visual scenes; as a non trivial retelling of some not so distant history, and more generally, in the words of another reviewer, "human ways of doing things". All entirely believable. And not in the least, as entertainment, with one of the most realistic so far, portrayals of aliens outside of Hollywood's epitomic invasion/conquest/horror paradigm, and a dynamic action sequence in the later part.
On the contrary.

I was in a Montreal Cineplex recently and I wandered into a hall showing this movie. After about 30 minutes, I walked out. The premise was preposterous and I found the movie a bad comedy. (BTW, I then walked into a different hall showing "Good Hair" - the Chris Rock documentary. I strongly recommend it.)

District 9 is a silly movie. It employs jerky camera movements, the foreign narrator (South African) accent and subtitles to attempt the documentary feel. It doesn't work. I just saw CGI cockroaches moving on the screen. Shrek was better.

----

Since I don't know the ultimate message of this movie, I'm badly placed to draw any conclusions. Nevertheless, I'll make three.

First, at a time when radical Muslims threaten western liberty, I am surprised how "Hollywood" inverts the threat.

Second, I watched the movie long enough to understand that a White South African was overtaken by the aliens. Huh?

Third, imagine such a movie in 1941. Well, years later, Casablanca is a good movie. District 19 is a bad movie now. In 20 years, it will be more megabytes on another hard drive. IOW, it will still be a bad movie but just take up more memory.

Edited by August1991
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Since I don't know the ultimate message of this movie, I'm badly placed to draw any conclusions. Nevertheless, I'll make three.

Because you walked out, that is why you are making really out there assumptions.

First, at a time when radical Muslims threaten western liberty, I am surprised how "Hollywood" inverts the threat.

Not about muslims, and it was not done by Hollywood.

Second, I watched the movie long enough to understand that a White South African was overtaken by the aliens. Huh?

30 mins is about 1/4 of the movie. The movie was about aparthied in South Africa.

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I recall August was offended by and refused to watch Borat, because he'd heard that Cohen did not make an effort to bait any Muslims during his conversations with Americans. Clearly, if you're not confronting Islam, you're just not making art.

-k

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

August, not all CGI is bad. I may be confusing your posts with someone else's, but I sense a theme of disdain for computer graphics. If you couldn't enjoy it in this movie, I don't think there's any movie that you will enjoy it in.

No, not all CGI is bad, but I'm afraid it can never carry a film by itself. CGI is far more acceptable when presented as straight up animation, for animation's sake alone. The true physics has gotten better, but it's still not there yet. Ditto shadows, color gradations, textures, etc.

Now don't get me wrong...I love "cartoons"....especially when they do not pretend to be real, preserving their greatest strength, instead of surrendering to their greatest weakness....reality.

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