Saturday, September 19, 2009
Before seeing the film, I was lucky enough to hear a radio interview with Writer/Director Neil Blomkamp. He described how he wanted to combine his love of Sci-Fi with the experience of growing up in a "crazy" place like South Africa. In that regard, I'd have to say, mission accomplished.
It's incredible what Blomkamp was able to accomplish with a modest budget, under 40 million dollars. Okay, we're not exactly talking about a shoe-string production with Grandma doubling as cinematographer and chief stunt woman, but for the scope of the film, the final result is still pretty impressive. I'm not gonna name names, but a couple of the effects exceeded the work seen in a recent summer blockbuster or two *cough* G.I. Joe *cough*. Stuff gets blown up real good with lots of cool alien weaponry as our "hero" fights to regain his humanity -- it's highly debatable how much he had in the first place.
While entertaining, I didn't think the film had some deep, resonating message. "Alien Nation" already covered the oppressed-minorities-substituted-with-aliens-thing. Here, I don't think the aliens are supposed to represent anything but aliens -- who get high off cat food. There's a good bit of satire in the beginning, but aside from saying that earthlings of all colors are scum, "District 9" settles into your basic Sci-Fi actioner worthy of rabid fanboy adoration. Now it's more than possible that my American eyes didn't pick up on all the nuances, but I think I got the gist of it. I don't foresee a Best Picture nomination in its future, although anything is possible with ten open slots, but one for visual effects certainly wouldn't surprise me.