District 9

FANTASTIC. Easily the best movie for me this summer. It’s intense, sad, uplifting, exciting and extraordinarily well done…

I’m a huge Peter Jackson fan so this film was a no-brainer for me to go see. He didn’t direct this time, he produced it and his effects company WETA handled the visuals with their usual breathtaking results, but more of that later.

The writing is innovative and original and keeps you caught up in the story the entire time. For me, the 2 hours just flew by and before I knew it I was completely engrossed in the story waiting to see how everything played out rooting for the aliens and hoping there would be a happy ending. There’s a lot of political and human nature innuendos involved here (especially revolving around the plight of South Africa where the film takes place, which also happens to be the home of the film’s director Neil Blomkamp). The film doesn’t pull any punches as the violence is often brutal and at times heartless and makes you feel that we have a lot of work to do as human beings. I don’t want to say much more about the story as I don’t want to spoil one second of this for anyone that wants to see it, just know that it’s engaging and solid.

As far as the effects, WETA is unmatched, even from George Lucas’ ILM. Now, don’t get me wrong, George is the man and Star Wars was the film that made me want to be a filmmaker. Not to mention that ILM set the bar and continues to do so in many ways. But the problem I’ve always had with ILM’s style is that there’s an air of things looking computer generated. With WETA, everything looks real and absolutely organic, which is what blew me away the first time I saw Lord Of The Rings, how real it looked. This film is no exception, you see the prawns (which is the nickname the humans give the aliens) and you believe they exist in addition to the giant spaceship they arrived on. There’s no need to suspend disbelief, it’s done for you with the authenticity that the effects provides.

The director does an excellent job holding the movie together and stylizing it through a partial documentary style throughout the film. The actors are also very convincing and turn in solid performances.

Do yourself a favor and see District 9 on the big screen while you can, if you don’t get to the theater, be sure to rent it, it’s a film event not to be missed.

reviewed by Sean McKnight