I really had high hopes for District 9. It sounded like a intriguing premise, and I had read some promising reviews about the picture when it came out. Unfortunately, high expectations often lead to disappointment, and that's what happened here. Except for three big distinctions, it was surprising similar to Avatar in that it was a sappy, moralistic tale about humans treating yet another race as sub human animals that need to be controlled and potentially exterminated. Oh, how many times must we hear how bad we are? We get it already!
The first big difference is that instead of amazing 3D special affects, District 9 was filled with a sloppy mix of regular action movie shots and faux documentary style camera work with comments directly to the camera and even blood spatters on the lens. The main character kept switching from mimicking Michael on "The Office" to channeling Officer John McClane from "Die Hard." The problem was by the time I figured out what which role he was playing off of, they would switch to the other. Quite distracting.
Another difference was instead of having to rely on only one pedantic voice over as in Avatar, District 9 offered a wide range of judgmental perspectives in the form fabricated experts being interview for the mockumentary portions of the film. At least in District 9 they did less preaching and more filling in of back story.
And finally, instead of a tight, albeit predictable and didactic story line, District 9 only provided a sketchy plot replete with gaping holes and unnecessary innuendos. Why was it important that Wilkus worked for and was promoted by his father-in-law? How come the humans conducted over 20 years of medical experiments on the aliens and continued to study their advanced weaponry but left the mother ship totally alone? And speaking of advanced weaponry, if Wilkus could operated them within 18 of mutating why couldn't the aliens use the weapons themselves to prevent being bullied by the jarhead stereotypes?
So, other than that, it was just like Avatar. They both even had really cool exoskeleton body armor robots. Although, that was a minor difference as well, because in Avatar it was the earthling engineers that developed it, where in District 9 it was the product of the aliens, so advanced and so smart that they quickly evolved into prawns crawling around dumps eating cat food once they met mankind.
At least I have a new bottom feeder for my forced ranking list of movies from my list of 17 movies to see before the Oscars, which is good because I liked Julie and Julia, and I kept feeling bad for it being on the bottom; however, I'm very comfortable with District 9 taking that role over.
1. The Hurt Locker
2. Inglorious Basterds
4. (500) Days of Summer
5. Up in the Air
7. Star Trek
9. Julie and Julia
> District 9
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
- Did you agree with the critics and like it more than I did?
- What's been your favorite movie leading up to the Oscars?
- What do you still want to see before the Oscars?
Leave your comments and views in the comments section.