Tuesday, August 18, 2009

District 9

There is a surprise as we near the end of a summer movie season filled with disappointing crap.
A whole lot of Hollywood outsiders team up with producer with clout to make a movie that is clearly the best action movie of the summer action season.
District 9 is directed by Neil Blomkamp, a special effects artist and filmmaker from South Africa who managed to get Peter Jackson involved in the process as a producer. Possibly because of Jackson's weighty name on board, but hopefully because the audiences spoke out for well made movies, they managed to unseat GI Joe on it's second weekend as the top box office spot.
Unknown actors, documentary style shooting and low budget looking sets (how much could it have cost to build shacks in Johannesburg?) are offset by amazing special effects and high-caliber story telling.
Blomkamp builds a world that is simultaneously surreal and believable. Surely part of that is his background in special effects and 3D animation. His previous, much less known endeavors seem to have similar traits of seamless integration of special effects on top of the live actors and scenes.
The story is a straightforward commentary on race relations and apartheid in Blomkamp's home country.
Even though the metaphor is so obvious, it still works extremely well. That is a strong testament to the quality of the script, acting and especially the directing.
There is already a lot of talk surrounding the idea of a sequel, which Blomkamp seems to be in favor of, so audiences will probably be seeing more of him, if this story is continued or not, the solid numbers in the box office mean Blomkamp has found his place in the Hollywood scene.
District 9 gets an A-.
--John Berry, Online Editor--

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