IT’S A [tourist] TRAP!

I saw District 9 this weekend and it was fantastic. I wholeheartedly recommend it to any scifi loving geek out there. I heard this from a lot of people, and I can’t agree more that District 9 was unlike any movie I have ever seen. I’m not saying it was the most amazing movie I’ve ever seen, just that it was unique. It told a story I have never heard before (alien apartheid) in a way I have never experienced. I don’t know how else to explain it, other than to encourage you to see and enjoy it.

The film didn’t seem to follow any established Hollywood conventions. It smelled like an indie film made for $20,000, but it looked like a blockbuster with an 8 figure budget. As far as the alien effects go, District 9 features the most believable onscreen CG actors I’ve ever seen. The alien’s (or Prawns as they’re called) blended in with the humans and the bleek scenery of their shanty town perfectly. You never questions whether or not they’re real. They’re just alive. A good comparisson would be the non-CG orcs in Lord of the Rings. You know they aren’t really orcs because orcs don’t exist, but you don’t think they’re fake because they are clearly humans underneath the makeup and armor. That’s the sense I get from the Prawns.

Anyway, go see it and have fun.

If you’ve seen the film, please feel free to post your thoughts in the comments. PLEASE BE MINDFUL OF SPOILERS since this is still the first week of release.



Lots of District 9 news and links this week:

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    Amen to that. District 9 will likely be another cult classic that will be studied for years to come. It presented a new story in a way that modern culture likes–news stories and documentaries. The viewer feels pity for the aliens and for the main character at the same time.

    Also, after seeing District 9, there is no excuse–other than a lack of interest–that there cannot be an Exosquad movie.

    • Exosquad! I loved that show. I rewatched the whole run on Hulu recently and despite the first few episodes having really awful animation it holds up well.

      District 9 was great. Its hard to believe its budget was only 30 million. The battle with the mech suit near the end was truly awesome.

      • Hell yeah ExoSquad!!! Someone should also make a MechWarrior movie. Remember the animated series with the CG battle scenes? The future war will be fought on a giant lime green grid.

  2. Hey hey from ZA! Ironically, the movie has not reached out shores yet. (Except, possibly, for pirate copies from the Nigerian black market) hehehe.

    I can't wait!!!!!

    I've read the summary online. It seems that there are some Apartheid undertones and parables. This should be interesting as more than a normal Sci-fi, especially for South Africans who know the history of District 6 and other areas like it and about the Group Areas Act.

    By the way, I've just recently started reading your comic. It's AWESOME!

  3. I was actually wondering how you were going to come up with a comic for this because it's such an evocative and at times almost depressing film. Should've known: the food!

    But yeah, this was a breath of fresh air after seeing so many movies based on other things. Really enjoyed the character development. And kudos to WETA again for sfx that kick ass. It's very difficult to make insectoid aliens not only realistic but relatable, and they hit the sweet spot.

  4. District 9 is not out over here yet so I can't really say anything about it. Might go and catch it when it hits the cinemas, if it really is that good.

    What's the other dvd Eli has, behind The Room? Just learned about it, the "Citizen Kane of shite movies" as one film mag lovingly described it.


  5. I watched this being drawn on Ustream, I never really read all the text as you were going because I wasn't really looking for comic spoilers. When I saw the look on Eli's face originally I thought this comic was going a whole other way. This came out nice.

    My views on the film are the same as yours. However I really want to rate this as one of the best sci fi movies of all time, but I'm still in too much shock in the wake of awesome. I want to see it a couple of more times before I decided that it can topple the places of old favorites long held close to my man bosom.

    Finally a movie that uses today's CGI technology to the brink of what it can do storytelling-wise. I can't remember the last time I was in the theater I didn't think of bills or something I had to do later or over the next few days. I was just in it. I was using my over active mind to run plot scenarios and not coming up with solutions. This movie is amazing execution.

  6. My friend CM and I went to this film. He was saying it was getting great reviews for an indie film and so I was all meh, ok let's go. At the end of the film, when it was done I mean… I really enjoyed it. Sure the main character wasn't spectacular but it was believable … CM actually didn't like it, in the sense of didn't hate it or love it thought it was ok…

    Would I see it again? mmmm probably not. Would I rent it to see commentary / extras sure would.

  7. Dying to see this when it comes out in the UK. It kind of caught me off guard because I was actually familiar with the story from a couple of years back – back when Neil Blomkamp was first announced as the Halo director and people were trying to find out who he was.
    He used to be in special effects (he's the guy responsible for this ad, way before any live-action Transformers movie:… and made some small shorts.
    One was called Alive in Jo'burg ( I remember thinking "they should totally make a movie of this"…and then forgetting about it for 2 years. So I'm super happy it's doing well now.

  8. Dying to see this when it comes out in the UK. It kind of caught me off guard because I was actually familiar with the story from a couple of years back – back when Neil Blomkamp was first announced as the Halo director and people were trying to find out who he was.
    He used to be in special effects (he’s the guy responsible for this ad, way before any live-action Transformers movie: and made some small shorts.
    One was called Alive in Jo’burg ( I remember thinking “they should totally make a movie of this”…and then forgetting about it for 2 years. So I’m super happy it’s doing well now.

    • I'm glad someone mentioned this since District 9 came from the ashes of the Halo movie… when it bombed out, they gave Blomkamp all the resources to just make the movie he'd been planning on in the first place. I'm glad of the results all around… Halo wouldn't have really worked in live action, if you ask me… The lore of it is getting out of hand as is… I hate the Halo Legends thing… it just made the Spartans out to be giant awesome death machines and elites into Space japanese… such a disappointment…

  9. Saw it. Glad I saw it. Best executed Sci-Fi movie in ages.

    However, I didn't have ANY of what you might call "fun." It's as fun as watching film from Auschwitz. I found it impossible to leave the theater without thinking "goddamn it, people suck."

    Vilifying the main character before we've actually realized he's the main character was a stroke of genius… It's going to be a while before I actually want to see the film again. I will watch hours and hours of commentary long before I watch the film again. "Hurray, Deathcamp!" Painful.

  10. district 9 was amazing. saw it 2 times already (got a few filmy friends who dont like each other, so this always happens).

    at first from the 2nd trailer i was a little disappointed it would drop the documentary style. but the transition is so seamless i didnt notice it was gone until near the end

    oh and Christopher Johnson! what a great name!

  11. I agree with Joel's review. District 9 isn't the best movie I've every seen, but it's definitely unique. I really appreciate the social commentary, and for a movie about insectoid aliens, it's very believable.
    It's one of those films where while watching it I wasn't sure what I was thinking, but as soon as I walked out of the theater I knew that I liked it.

  12. I didn't love the 'I don't know if I'm a fake documentary or a regular movie' as it was almost like they got bored and swapped genres and styles.

    Aside from that it was NOTHING like what I expected and kicked some major ass. The end (not the END end but before the epilogue – damn spoilers….) was fantastic.

    And yeah the CGI focking Prawn were supurb.

  13. This is a movie in which by the time the end comes you'll hate everybody. It's amazing XD But I think that if I ever were to watch it a second time I'd probably end up breaking something in anger, hahah. But really, everybody is both good and bad in a way, and the story is so complex it's like.. woah πŸ˜› You can't really describe it. Definately an A+ in my book, worth watching at least once.

  14. SF/fantasy from other countries can kick ass for the reason you give – unlike American movies that are focus-grouped to death and overseen by executive cowards, you really can't tell where they're going to take you in the first 10 minutes of the film. You can get movies like City of Lost Children, District 9, or Troll Hunter.

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