Sunday, January 1, 2012

Capsule Review: District 9 (2009)

A South African-set science fiction film by a first time director and featuring almost no recognizable actors might be one of the least likely possible blockbusters, but director Neil Blomkamp (who had impressed filmmaker Peter Jackson with his short films) found worldwide acclaim for his mixture of special effects and political statement. Obviously inspired by the segregation within South Africa during the apartheid era, Blomkamp - adapting his own short film Alive in Joburg - posits the alien "prawns" as sadly helpless and despised by the people around them, and horribly mistreated as they are forced into government camps. The special effects - by Jackson's Weta Digital - are astounding, and are expertly incorporated into faux-documentary footage before the film seamlessly transitions into its narrative. While the metaphors tend to get a bit heavy handed, it's still a wonderfully entertaining and original film that promises great things from Blomkamp in the future.

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