Friday, August 9, 2013

District 9 (2009) Review:

Like many other directors that have a breakthrough in film, their first theatrical release is always considered to be their best. Sam Raimi is the perfect example. Before Spider-Man (2002), he was known for creating the low budget horror film, The Evil Dead (1981). Now look at him, even after all the other well praised films he has made, he is still best known for that movie in particular. Same will happen here with director Neill Blomkamp. District 9 (2009) will forever be considered, by many, his best creation in film. For the most part, this is mostly credit for the type of style this film gives its audience.

The CGI looks really well mixed with the live-action
The story revolves around how a dystopian city called Johannesburg where humans and aliens called "prawns" live amongst each other. Unfortunately, neither species is happy living with the other on the same ground. But what will really grab the viewers’ attention is Neill Blomkamp’s direction. At the introduction and the finale, the film acts like a documentary with interviews from various citizens and professionals. I assume this is where the short film Tron: The Next Day (2011) got its creativeness from, because they too used a documentary-like style of filmmaking. This kind of direction does make the experience feel more authentic because documentaries are historical film works which are supposed to give its viewers a better understanding of what happened in the past.

Adding to that authentic feel is actor Sharlto Copley, who at the time, was a no-name actor. Copley is in his root continent in this movie, which makes the story that much more believable. Plus, because Copley hasn't really shown audiences until now what he can do, he will prove himself not only as a viable action star but also a actor who can show true emotion. Even more astounding is how this movie was able to create such a real looking environment and creatures. The prawns are something to behold, especially the way they talk. It is a very intriguing sound. But, it may annoy some audiences that there is no translation for the dialog between prawns. Its basically like watching two wookies talk. No clue what's being said; which is frustrating.

Awesome looking machinery too
The special effects and action scenes were also well executed. Even the practical effects such as makeup was innovative. Though one element that I found this film to be weak in, was the film score. Clinton Shorter, a composer with not many theatrically released movies under his belt, lacks sufficient expertise to really bring out the emotion in various scenes. I like that he was able to give the score an African voice to its background, but was only effective to establish the setting. After that though, it needed more depth to illustrate the struggle between humans and prawns. But I never felt that at any point. Instead, Shorter will incorporate a lot percussion when tension arises but other than that. The music is left under produced.

Blomkamp's theatrical debut may not contain the most convincing music but with solid special effects, a realistic tone and unique film making, after viewing the movie, some people may think District 9 may have existed.

Points Earned --> 8:10

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