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District 9

Posted: Fri, 14th Aug 2009, 6:40am

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Evman

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Just got out of a midnight show. District 9 is the best movie of 2009. Go see it immediately. Trust me on this one. Just trust me.

That's all I think I really need to say for now. smile
Posted: Fri, 14th Aug 2009, 6:56am

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Aculag

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Okay, thanks, Atom. wink

In all seriousness, this does look amazing, and I will hopefully be going sometime this weekend.
Posted: Fri, 14th Aug 2009, 7:03am

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Evman

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Aculag wrote:

Okay, thanks, Atom. wink
Yeah but I didn't bother justifying myself or the movie. It'll speak for itself once you see it.

And I hated Transformers 2 and didn't particularly like HP6. So you can actually trust my opinion. razz
Posted: Fri, 14th Aug 2009, 7:30am

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ben3308

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Evman wrote:

And I hated Transformers 2 and didn't particularly like HP6. So you can actually trust my opinion. razz
Neither of those sound like good reasons. biggrin Joking, of course.

And seriously? District 9 looks cool, but aliens look 'meh'. Normally that wouldn't be a turn-off for me, but I'm afraid it will take me out of the movie. Also, I know you've seen Up - it's better than that? And Star Trek?

QUESTION - have you seen 17 Again? I'd hold off judgment on a 'best' until you have. biggrin But seriously, it's an excellent excellent film. Anyhow, I plan on seeing District 9 this weekend, will post thoughts when I get back from it.
Posted: Fri, 14th Aug 2009, 8:54am

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Staff Only

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Evman wrote:

Go see it immediately.
I will!

Just let me check when it opens here...23.10.2009. eek upset

On a side not UP opens 25.09.2009. unsure

I think I'll go write a letter (Andy Dufresne style) to the minister of culture. They've really dropped the ball here.
Posted: Fri, 14th Aug 2009, 10:36am

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CX3

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Just gettin back after seeing it. Definitely up there with Star Trek and Moon... If not passed them. 10/10. The audience was going nuts in my theater. It's crazy how many different emotions this film will bring out of you. This was too good.

**********Spoiler*************
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You can already tell it's set up for a sequel or prequel. I wonder if they'd release it exactly 3 years after this release (Christopher did promise to be back in 3 years wink ) Speaking of seeing more District 9 in the future, you know South Park have got to have their eyes on this one ha.
Posted: Fri, 14th Aug 2009, 1:49pm

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Rockfilmers

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Been waiting for months. I need to go see it asap. Any dates?...
Posted: Fri, 14th Aug 2009, 6:37pm

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Evman

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Better than any other movie so far this year. It's difficult to verbalize how good it is because it's just one of those kinds of films. It deserves to make hundreds of millions of dollars. First movie all summer that's truly brought the goods.

Oh and Ben - you needn't worry about the effects. I can assure you they are spectacular - with a Gollum level performance from the main alien character "Christopher Johnson" (great name).

The trailer interrogation scene to which you are probably referring was just that - a trailer scene. And based on it's shoddy CG I'm assuming was never meant to be in the full movie. And it isn't.

Wow. Still reeling over it.
Posted: Fri, 14th Aug 2009, 8:10pm

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CX3

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Rating: +1

ben3308 wrote:

And seriously? District 9 looks cool, but aliens look 'meh'. Normally that wouldn't be a turn-off for me, but I'm afraid it will take me out of the movie.
Trust me. You have no clue what you're talking about smile

Just wait.
Posted: Sun, 16th Aug 2009, 7:34am

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rogolo

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Wow. Just saw it. Easily my favorite film of 2009 so far. A tight and compelling story that works well on many levels. CGI was brilliant. Ahhhh....damn....wanna see it again right now!

Also, I'm not usually one to notice, but I thought the sound design/mixing was rather stellar. Anyone else observe that?
Posted: Sun, 16th Aug 2009, 2:35pm

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pdrg

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Interesting story parallels with where it's set, I'm really looking forward to seeing the full film on the big screen!
Posted: Mon, 17th Aug 2009, 2:17am

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jawajohnny

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Wow. eek

Awesome movie... 10/10. Everything about District 9 is absolutely perfect. For now, I'll just leave it at this:

Evman wrote:

It's difficult to verbalize how good it is because it's just one of those kinds of films.
Personally, I'm not sure it's the best movie of the year. Sentimentally, I still prefer Star Trek and HP6, which are both in my top ten favorite films of all time, although I think District 9 might deserve to be in there too. Together, these three films are the greatest I have seen in years.

So far this year:

1. Star Trek - 10/10
2. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - 10/10
3. District 9 - 10/10
4. UP - 9/10

After UP, there's a huge drop-off in quality. smile

EDIT: Haven't seen Moon yet. Never made it to Cape Cod... sad
Posted: Mon, 17th Aug 2009, 5:41am

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Atom

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I have much less of a desire to see this movie based on the use of my name in this thread.

I'll be the first to say it: I'm annoyed by this movie before having seen it. It's being toughted as being so incredibly original and low-budget, but also wants to be considered a mainstream action blockbuster. It wants to be a franchise film, but then it's creators snarkily denounce such movies and claim it to be the 'only original movie this summer'.

I'll reserve judgement until I've officially seen the movie, but right now I'm in sort of a 'meh' position, which I didn't think I'd be in following the excellent first teaser. Roger Ebert's review kind of cements the feeling, too.

I'm also one to think, most-especially after watching several 48 and 24-hour movies win with it, that documentary/mockumentary filmmaking is very much an 'easy-way-out' technique- and it's hard for me with that kind of spite, substantiated or otherwise, to give major kudos to a movie that employs it. Like Cloverfield, which I absolutely loved unexpectedly, I find it to be effective but not really strong enough to hold up against other well-crafted movies with traditional narrative storytelling.

Of course I have to see the film, I'm absolutely not one to just condemn a movie before I see it- quite the contrary as many of you know, I like to give every movie a chance- but I just wanted to make my case for why I'm less keen on the whole style before I see it.

It just seems and feels, to me, to be the complete opposite of storytelling. More like fact/fiction-presenting, and I think it's a cheap way to do things in many cases. Hopefully it makes District 9 stronger than if it were a narrative piece, like Cloverfield worked. But I don't think it'll be better than other excellent narrative movies because of this technique. (And perhaps in spite of it.)

Still, waiting to see....
Posted: Mon, 17th Aug 2009, 6:04am

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Evman

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So this movie has already made back the money it cost to make it. With a much bigger debut than I was expecting. Bravo, American people - I've underestimated you.

jawajohnny - If you don't think it's the best movie of the year based on sentimental reasons, then that doesn't really count, now does it? razz

Star Trek was great - don't get me wrong. But it didn't operate on nearly as many levels as District 9 does. And while I was incredibly entertained by ST - District 9 was so unbelievable that it took a couple of days until I could even stop thinking about it. And as for Harry Potter - well read the Harry Potter thread for my thoughts on that film.

Star Trek, Up, The Hangover, 500 Days of Summer, District 9, and (hopefully) Inglourious Basterds. They are all incredibly original movies that aren't really sequels (I know Star Trek is technically - but it even includes as a plot device the fact that this a completely new reality for these characters. Up also could be considered a Pixar franchise film, but again - not really). After the triple punch of disappointment for me that was Terminator Salvation, Transformers 2, and Harry Potter, it's refreshing to see the original movies be the best films of the summer.

Hollywood take note - despite the big numbers for the sequels - audiences are tired of these constant sequels/remakes/adaptations. The success of the Hangover, 500 Days of Summer, and District 9 specifically are huge indicators. Even dating back to Juno and Little Miss Sunshine, as well as 40 Year Old Virgin before that.

A few times near the end of District 9 I said to myself - "This is every bit the movie Transformers 2 should have been and more". Suck it Michael Bay.


And Atom - it seems you've slipped a post in there as I was writing this. I can assure you - the pseudo-doc stuff is done really well as set up, but about 20 minutes into the movie it dissapates almost entirely and we go to complete, traditional storytelling. The shots are still a tad shaky - but the characters don't play to the camera at all. Trust me. It works.

And now I'm gonna go ahead and put money down saying that you'll give a negative review of it, given our past history of disagreement razz. And at least in this case, no matter how much you try to downplay it now - you already have your mind made up about this film, and when you go see it, you'll simply be trying to find things to fit into your preconceived notion of it. If you didn't - you wouldn't have bothered posting that last post.

All I can say is that it's hard to argue with a movie with 88% on RT, incredibly solid word-of-mouth from seemingly everyone I've heard who's seen it, and an incredibly strong box office debut for a movie with no stars and a budget this small.

In short - if you don't like this movie - I won't be angry at you... I'll just feel sorry for you. smile

Oh and I can't resist -

Atom wrote:

It just seems and feels, to me, to be the complete opposite of storytelling. More like fact/fiction-presenting, and I think it's a cheap way to do things in many cases.
Kinda like... using narration... wouldn't you say? razz

Kidding of course.
Posted: Mon, 17th Aug 2009, 6:22am

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Atom

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Really? Great word-of-mouth? I've heard nothing but so-so to 'kinda okay' things from all of my friends and relatives who have seen it- which was both surprising and disappointing.

Also kind of sick of your attitude in that last post (although not really you, it's the mantra dating back to Juno)- the whole 'take that EVVVVILLLL!!!!!!111!!!! Hollywood!!!!!, this is an original film!!!!!' really just bothers me.

Two reasons, really:
-I tend to like Hollywood and all of those remakes and sequels. I don't understand the stigma, at all really. Now, I didn't care for the movie, but it was the exact opposite last year with The Dark Knight craze, which makes the seeping hypocrisy more frustrating.
-I tend to dislike movies touted as 'uber-original omggggg!!!!'.

Something I echoed in another thread, the irony of Peter Jackson, who didn't even make the movie, both calling it his own and being considered an 'original filmmaker' with this 'original movie' just frustrates me to no end. I mean, does no one remember the guy is famous for a remake, two sequels, and a series of adaptations?

But enough of that, I'm just being a grouch. The movie could be great, I bet it will be, and I hope I like it. I just still have my reservations- and one of them is with the nasty, annoying attitude of people that every other sequel/remake is shitty just because this one movie is good. The second is that it's a mockumentary- but you've semi-cleared that one up, Evman.

Now I've loved lots of movies this summer and Star Trek, (500) Days of Summer, I Love You Man, Harry Potter 6, The Hangover, and Adventureland are my top favorites for the year so far- so it's fair to say my taste pallette is fairly broad- and I don't want you thinking I'm just here to disagree with you, I'm not.

But surely you see my reservations- doubly strong after seeing a string of mediocre movies in these contests I've continually lost in succeed on the wings of similar attributes I'm generally never really impressed by.
Posted: Mon, 17th Aug 2009, 6:55am

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Evman

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I'm not saying Juno was good. I'm just saying that people liked it and it did well.

Yeah - my last post seemed a bit condescending. I guess I should clarify - I have no problem with sequels/remakes when they're done for a reason and they're done well. Spiderman 2 and Star Trek come to mind as great examples. When there's a point to the sequel/remake other than simply a cash in on the success of the first movie (I know you don't agree but I totally see Transformers 2 as the perfect example of this), I don't have a problem at all. Those two films remain big favorites of mine.

Lately though it just seems that Hollywood executives will make ANYTHING (G.I. F**CKING JOE?!?!? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!) into a movie just because "this or that" was successful, and they think they can make money off of it. Sadly, the movie-going public hasn't been proving them wrong. I'm sure the people who worked on G.I. Joe had good intentions and all - but there's no denying that the movie is a direct product of executives seeing Transformers doing really well and thinking of any other 1980's toy that could possibly make a halfway decent movie.

It's simply refreshing to see a movie made that breaks from this tradition so completely.

And to defend your swipes at Jackson somewhat - he's never ever called this movie his own. If you read interviews with him he's always been completely resolute that this is Neil Blomkamp's film. He is merely being used as the face of the marketing given the lack of famous stars/director. It's been the reviewers/media that have enforced the connection even further than the advertising, talking about him more than Blomkamp simply because people actually know who Jackson is. Exactly the same thing that happened with J.J. Abrams on Cloverfield, mind you. As for his comments on originality of his movies - I agree that's definitely hypocritical - but you have to admit that his movies are definitely leagues above your average run of the mill movie Hollywood churns out now-a-days. And I believe that was to what he was referring.

I think you need to stop linking the film with the hype/interviews/reviews/marketing of the movie. Cause that's what's tripping you up more than anything else. Going into the movie not knowing anything about it, you'd probably love it - simply because the "original movie omg" stuff hadn't already soured your opinion.

Do yourself a favor - try to let all that stuff out of your mind and enjoy the movie. I found it to be one of my personal favorite movies of recent years. Don't ruin it for yourself. Enjoy the movie for what it is. A damn fine piece of entertainment. Not the hyped product of a conspiracy "anti-hollywood" conglomerate that you seem to think it is. razz
Posted: Mon, 17th Aug 2009, 8:41am

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Simon K Jones

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It's interesting when the hype for a movie risks overtaking it and spoiling the experience itself.

It's a shame, because the marketing department is usually completely separate to the filmmaking department. Plus, marketing departments are usually aimed specifically at the general public, ie the people that only go to see films if they're told to by advertisements. Savvy film-goers and filmmakers such as ourselves shouldn't need to pay much attention to marketing, as we should already have our ears to the ground with regards to what is worth seeing.

Not sure when this is out in the UK, but I can't wait.

On the plus side, Moon has finally arrived and I'm seeing it tonight! Woo.
Posted: Mon, 17th Aug 2009, 3:50pm

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CX3

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Besides websites/talk shows and the like, has District 9 been overly advertised? I catch the occasional trailer here and there but what else?

Also Atom, man, you should try seeing the movie first before posting paragraphs and paragraphs of negative rants...
Posted: Mon, 17th Aug 2009, 3:53pm

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Simon K Jones

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I've only seen D9 marketed to the hardcore geek crowd, really, at events like SDCC. Outside of that it's got a pretty low profile, at least here in the UK.
Posted: Mon, 17th Aug 2009, 4:20pm

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pdrg

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I have to say, I saw the first 10 minutes of a Russian-subtitled pirate of this at a friends friends house, it looked different enough and exciting enough for us to stop the disc to wait to see it in the cinema
Posted: Mon, 17th Aug 2009, 6:28pm

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CX3

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Tarn wrote:

I've only seen D9 marketed to the hardcore geek crowd, really, at events like SDCC. Outside of that it's got a pretty low profile, at least here in the UK.
Yeah same, I haven't seen it hyped much at all to the masses. Nowhere near the likes of The Dark Knight. Like I said, beyond a few TV spots here and there and the obvious appearances of actors on morning/late night shows talking about the movie, I haven't seen an excessive amount of publicity. The only people really hyping it is the public -- Which is a great thing to have happen (especially for the filmmakers).

They deserve it too.

Atom wrote:

I tend to dislike movies touted as 'uber-original omggggg!!!!'.

Something I echoed in another thread, the irony of Peter Jackson, who didn't even make the movie, both calling it his own and being considered an 'original filmmaker' with this 'original movie' just frustrates me to no end. I mean, does no one remember the guy is famous for a remake, two sequels, and a series of adaptations?
But the film is very very original. What's the harm in telling people that? Also, producing is a huge involvement in a film. Sometimes they can have as much input as a Director (You'll notice that if you start working on any decently big sets out here - You'll also notice a lot of producers who have no idea what they're talking about). Unless there's something that I missed and Peter Jackson just slapped his name on this project without having any hand in the production (Which some people do - But it's usually titled as "Presents").

If this isn't the case, then I think he has every right to call it his film as well.

Atom wrote:

The second is that it's a mockumentary- but you've semi-cleared that one up, Evman.
From what Evman said, it should have wholly cleared that up haha. To say Mockumentary is a cheap story-telling tactic after you you all have used voice overs to guide your stories makes my head spin lol. Do not you see the hypocrisy in that? I dunno, you can think if ya want -- And who knows, you might not think that anymore after seeing the film -- But damn, that makes me laugh. (No offense to your filmmaking tactics. I just found humor in your thought process regarding different story-telling techniques).

Their storytelling style really made you believe this is how the world might really react given the situation. Damnit, go see the movie ha.
Posted: Mon, 17th Aug 2009, 7:15pm

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Atom

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Hey man, my movies have nothing to do (or reason to be compared) with my thoughts on a multi-million-dollar blockbuster. There's no need for that. Now, you'll probably just say 'bro you're being whiney about this ha', but I don't care. It's just stupid and rude.

Honestly, Jesus Christ, there's no winning with me and my film opinions with you guys, I suppose. I like something, it's terrible and I'm wrong. I'm hesitant to jump on a bandwagon, and I 'just don't understand' or some other bullshit.

Well, hey. I said it: The movie's success remains to be seen by me, admittedly. I haven't seen it yet. I'm just throwing out my reservations with it beforehand- as it's partly been the reason I still haven't spent the money to see it, and partly because I hope to look back after seeing it and laughably say 'well, I'm glad I was wrong on that one!'.

And, for the record, I've seen this movie hyped loads- more than any other movie this summer. Which, frankly, isn't really saying much either; all of the movies this summer had pretty quick ad campaigns as they were rushed productions- but still. It, at least where I am, is a movie that has been pretty hyped. Now, no way do I think this is a bad thing- quite the opposite- I respect and admire proper hype done right. And no, this is in no way hyped like The Dark Knight, but yeah it's still been pretty publicized where I am; mostly under the moniker of being 'OMG!1111 original!!!!'.

Going to try to see it soon, looking forward to it based on the reactions of people here- it's just that nasty backlash to all of the other movies of the summer that gives me a distaste for it. Which, again admittedly, isn't a fair pre-connotation. But, it's the one I'm stuck with going into it, and I can't help that.
Posted: Mon, 17th Aug 2009, 8:10pm

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CX3

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Ha, Bro you're being whiney about this. (Fun Fact: That's the first time I've really used the douchy/SoCal-esque word "bro")

Anyways though, in all honestly (and I'll label it again as a serious question), what backlash are you referring to? The worlds reaction to all recent summer movies or just FXHomes reaction to all recent summer movies ? I'm so confused as to what you're talking about. I'll tell you what it sounds like to me though (which I'm guessing I'm wrong about).

It sounds like you are saying:

"FXHome members didn't like many of the movies that I liked this summer but they really loved District 9 and it just makes me think "what could this movie have done better than many of the others that came out this summer?" And it's making me really hate this film off the bat... Even though I haven't seen it yet..."

Please tell me that's not why you're so negative about this movie already. Because as great as this film was, it still doesn't take anything away from some of the other awesome summer stand outs like Moon, Star Trek, The Hangover, ect - And I don't think anyone on here is even hinting at that.
Posted: Mon, 17th Aug 2009, 9:10pm

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Atom

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No, no one here really has- and that's why I'm more excited about seeing the film. What I mean to say is that's it's unfortunate that everywhere else I see people using the success of this movie, instead of being standalone, to bash the lack of creativity in other movies I generally liked that were sequel, remakes, etc.

It is, in a way, sort of insulting my intelligence/tastes, you know? Not you guys, just the talk around the movie in general. I know people feel this way sometimes with little artsy movies that they see no meaning in and others just say 'well, you liked Fred Claus, so you probably just don't get it'. I guess for me that sort of feeling comes more out of, sadly, an actually good movie like this one.

But yeah, like I said, I generally trust you guys here- I wouldn't be reading or talking in this thread if not for it. I'm just annoyed, always really, when a movie has to be compared and slander another movie to find it's success. I've no doubt District 9 can stand on it's own, and it's sad for me to see many of the reviews bash Terminator Salvation, Transformers 2, etc. in order to get across how good it is. Now, not at the table, Carlos.
Posted: Mon, 17th Aug 2009, 9:52pm

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sfbmovieco

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I haven't seen the movie, but I did read this article over at Slate:

http://www.slate.com/id/2225285/

It talks about D9 and a lot of sci-fi movies in general. I'm wondering, after seeing the movie and reading the articles, what the reaction is from those of you who have seen it is.
Posted: Tue, 18th Aug 2009, 5:14am

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Aculag

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Just got back from seeing this, and it certainly deserves the praise it's getting. This is an excellently done film, classic sci-fi, and stirring social commentary. I'd definitely place it in my top five of the year so far.

And Atom, I haven't seen Terminator or Transformers 2, but I think I can safely guess that District 9 outclasses them in every way. smile Maybe not to the point that it's fair to "bash" them, but it's definitely a top-tier film, as well as being an explosively entertaining "summer blockbuster" type.
Posted: Tue, 18th Aug 2009, 6:05am

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Coureur de Bois

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Aculag wrote:

Just got back from seeing this, and it certainly deserves the praise it's getting. This is an excellently done film, classic sci-fi, and stirring social commentary. I'd definitely place it in my top five of the year so far.
Not to be redundant, but, "THIS". Awesome movie, I went in with hopeful expectations and left completely impressed and wanting more.

Atom, I'd recommend that you stop digging yourself into a hole, can it, see the damn movie and then contribute an opinion. I'd like to hear how you feel about it, I think you'll genuinely enjoy it.
Posted: Wed, 19th Aug 2009, 6:44am

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Pooky

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Yeah, I'd have to agree with the guys that are saying this is worthy of its praise. It's got everything needed to become one of those classics you look back on years later.

SPOILERS

What I'm really wondering, though, is if the ending was a proper open-ended one, or if it was meant to lead to a sequel of some sort. I mean, we didn't get any answers to any of the questions posed by the movie, so it could go both ways: either they want to answer them when Christopher comes back with friends, or they wanted it to be from the point of view of the human race, which would require questions to remain unanswered.

What do you guys think?
Posted: Wed, 19th Aug 2009, 4:06pm

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Fill

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I saw this last night, and I enjoyed it a lot. I'll be the first to say I'm not sure it deserves the praise it's getting. Yes, this film was awesome, and- yes, this film was very well done, but I found the style of it to be a little off.

SPOILERS:

I think it has to do with the documentary/film combination. The film started out as a documentary, but it switched into an actual film, then cut to interviews, then back to a normal film, etc. I couldn't really understand the logic behind it. And while I thought the film would be digging into the whole "do these aliens deserve to live here or not?" subject, it only revolved around one person's problems instead of everyone else's. I guess my main gripe was that the protagonist and antagonist didn't consist of two parties conflicting over alien and human interests; both parties had very human interests. Sure, there was Christopher and his son which represented alien interests, but the film didn't seem to do a good job of making them seem important people, just a gateway to helping out Wikus and his problem. In the end, humans didn't learn anything; they still saw aliens as 'prawns' with absolutely no value; the film portrayed a lot of "wrong," but no "right" to contrast it.

But, don't get me wrong, this film was great. I'd give it 9/10. It was very close to perfect, but it had a few bumps along the way for me. (Evman, I liked Star Trek better. Maybe it was those Michael Giacchino strings that make my heart melt every time. razz)
Posted: Wed, 19th Aug 2009, 4:19pm

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Sollthar

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Hilarious thread

Unfortunately, the film doesn't make it to cinemas here so I'll have to wait for a DVD release. After the Star Trek disaster I'd be happy to watch a good science fiction film and the trailer looked potentially interesting, allthough I didn't quite get the style of the film - as in, if it's a fake documentary or a film with a linear narrative or both.

Definately want to give it a watch when I get the chance. Avatar will be a while still.
Posted: Wed, 19th Aug 2009, 4:21pm

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Atom

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Sollthar wrote:

After the Star Trek disaster
This really just says enough to explain my point.
Posted: Wed, 19th Aug 2009, 9:34pm

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jawajohnny

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I actually agree with Atom on this one, but he's not doing himself any favors by not going to see the movie. Just do it, Atom. Trust me, Evman, and everyone else. smile

Just to clarify my thoughts on the movie, and why it isn't my favorite this year. I don't think "sentimental" was the right word at all. Star Trek and Harry Potter are both better executed, and therefore they were more emotional and thought-provoking than District 9 was. Those two films have characters that I have been emotionally invested in for a long time, and the execution of the development of said characters, and of the plot of those films are just excellent. It took longer for me to connect with a random guy and his alien friend. My favorite movies are the "wow" movies... the ones that throw a bunch of themes and emotions at me, and make me say "wow". It just took longer for me to say "wow" during District 9, compared to Star Trek and HP. Star Trek had me by the time the title popped up, and HP had me after the first fifteen seconds. On the other hand, District 9 didn't come together for me until the final act.

I hope that made more sense... hopefully I haven't just dug myself into a deeper hole. smile

Sollthar wrote:

After the Star Trek disaster
Oh dear... razz But I guess you're entitled to your opinion. smile
Posted: Wed, 19th Aug 2009, 11:39pm

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Evman

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Yes well isn't that the entire point of an "original" film that isn't a sequel or part of a franchise? That's completely unfair to criticize D9 for not having IMMEDIATE emotional pull because it's very design is that you don't until, like you said - the final act. Which is where most emotional payoff happens in non-franchise films... Your logic confuses me dude.
Posted: Thu, 20th Aug 2009, 4:03pm

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jawajohnny

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Yeah, that's not quite what I was trying to say either. smile I'm a little out of it... I've been doped up on medications after having my wisdom teeth out. smile

Lets try it this way...

Without even factoring in the other films/episodes in the Star Trek and HP franchises, those two films still had more emotional impact on me than District 9 did. All three films had distinct, strong ideas, but I think ST and HP slightly have the upper hand as far as execution (acting, editing, music) goes. Furthering that point, the writing and character development are also stronger than in District 9. Wikus's "arc" almost (almost is the key word) didn't work for me. As I said, all three of these movies are right around (or actually in) my top ten favorite films of all time, so it's not like I'm trying to criticize District 9. It's a really awesome movie. My current facebook status is:

"words cannot describe the sheer, freaking awesomeness of District 9..."

and then of course one of my friends commented that...

"district 9 was not that good" ...

I'm not even sure how to respond to that... smile
Posted: Thu, 20th Aug 2009, 6:55pm

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spydurhank

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I watched this last night and I thought it was pretty damned good.
It was almost like watching an episode of COPS. You always get to see the cops perspective through the camera but you never see what actually happened to the suspect that drove him or her to be in whatever situation they're now in with the cops.

Well in this movie you do get to see both sides of the story through the family, friends employers and reporter interviews as a "documentary"? and what happens to the guy through his and our "audience" point of view, and it was very well done I think.

So go check it out, it'll kinda let you know how screwed up some folks can really be.
Posted: Fri, 21st Aug 2009, 5:40am

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Atom

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Not to sound like the resident 'hater', but my feeling were pretty much sealed after seeing the movie just now. A lot of good ideas and thoughtful commentary with a good lead actor run amuck in trying to be the unentertaining, hard-to-stomach 'deep sci-fi' while also trying to be a formulaic, vacuous but entertaining blockbuster.

The result was a convoluted mess, and it was really a damn shame- because the leaf actor really held me in the movie, and the plot tried to as well. The fundamental flaw, then, was that proper filmmaking wasn't there. the story was, the acting was, the effects were, but the filmmaking aspect wasn't for me. As I was iffy about beforehand, the movie's choice to remain undecided on whether it was a mockumentary or narrative film leaves it in this inbetween stage of not fully satisfying the plot or entertainment value of either.

But that's just my thoughts. It wasn't a great movie, no, and it wasn't even really what I would call a 'good' movie either- but it had ambition and ideas in it that were good bordering great. And, as I always say, I'm more than willing to give a film a chance -and credit- where it deserves it; even if the overall sum of the parts is bad.

And make no mistake, the sum of District 9's parts were, IMO, decidedly bad. But, I give it credit for trying things, even if it only amounts to a lost opportunity.

6/10.
Posted: Fri, 21st Aug 2009, 5:52am

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Aculag

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Stop watching trailers, man. They're ruining things for you!
Posted: Fri, 21st Aug 2009, 6:06am

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ben3308

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I'll post up a full review later, but I tweeted as the movie was going on (not customary, I know, but it seemed like the right thing to do for this film) so if you want to see my reactions to the film as it went along, check wwww.twitter.com/ben3308 or follow @ben3308.

Spoilers therein, so be warned. Nothing too heavy, though.
Posted: Fri, 21st Aug 2009, 6:11am

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Atom

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But they also complement good movie for me so much! Look at Star Trek or Harry Potter 6- I'm a big anti-Trekkie and was embarrassed HP was still going on, but the excellent trailers pulled me back into the excitement without trying to be something they weren't or claiming anything they couldn't beforehand.

I think that's my biggest issue with both District 9 and Avatar as moviemaking entities- their hype was mismanaged. Coming from a person who knows a thing or two about mismanaged hype.

But that wouldn't have even mattered for District 9- it just wasn't good from the get-go because it won't fully commit itself to being just one type of movie; which ultimately fails it. Cloverfield was ballsy enough to commit to the 'filming the experience' storytelling, Borat to the 'mockumentary in extremes', and several other films to the traditional sense. Because District 9- even so incredibly unevenly flip-flops between the three kinds of storytelling techniques it can't build enough narrative momentum to propels its ideas, thought-provoking moments, or adrenaline to the heights I've heard everyone on here put it at.

No, instead it sort of falls flat for me. This also partly a product of my bias as a filmmaker, not just general pre-'hate' for the movie. The technical values (editing, cinematography) were just not there- which to some extent is fine if they're willing to take the risk of making an entirely documentary-style project. But, as I noted, they really weren't. Which, again is an understandable measure; many parts of the film work much better one way or another, narrative or documentary, but the two just clash so blatantly for me in a kind of 'I don't really know what I'm doing with the storytelling' kind of way.

Does that make sense? It's also, I'm certain, partly a product of the fact that I'm really not a big sci-fi guy. Yes, I enjoy your average Transformers or Terminator or Star Wars or Star Trek; but as far as the now common term 'deep/real sci-fi' goes I'm just not a big fan. Oftentimes I find it too self-indulgent, overly-serious, or just flat-out too weird. This was somewhat the case here. The movie is just sooooo f*cking laboriously grotesque. He's pulling out teeth, peeling skin, we're seeing carcasses, we're in the dirtiest of areas- the whole tone is really lathered in filth- the movie pushes itself to retain a such a half-hearted realism in the sci-fi realm it becomes really just hard to watch for many parts, simply because they're so creepy or weird or out there- and aren't subsided with moments of normalcy, but instead with convolution.

I tried as hard as I could to like this movie, I really did, and there were several things I took note of- but even looking around, I found myself checking my phone's time several times, watching numerous people fall asleep, and others leave or play around on their iPhones. I was surprised at first, but found myself in the same situation.

The movie didn't engage me, I couldn't pull myself into it- and because of this, I really didn't enjoy it or find it entertaining at all.
Posted: Fri, 21st Aug 2009, 3:55pm

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jawajohnny

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Heh heh, Ben3308... you just summed up with one tweet what I've been trying to say in multi-paragraph posts while doped up on painkillers. Maybe I should have waited until I could write properly. smile

I like Star Trek and Harry Potter 6 better because they are examples of better filmmaking. I don't have a "problem" with the style of District 9... I applaud it for trying to be different. But the breaks between your "normal" angles/cinematography to the documentary style stuff didn't allow me to emotionally connect to the characters as much as I would have liked. Aside from the vfx, its not great filmmaking. However, it was an interesting way to present the film's ideas. The themes and ideas (not necessarily the emotions) are what District 9 has going for it.
Posted: Fri, 21st Aug 2009, 11:26pm

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Evman

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Rating: +1/-1

Careful Atom. Between this thread and the Avatar Trailer thread and over the course of the summer, you're steadily becoming more and more a parody of yourself. I'd laugh if it wasn't such a sad situation... sad
Posted: Fri, 21st Aug 2009, 11:31pm

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Aculag

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Rating: +2

^^^So much sad on this page. sad

ben3308 wrote:

I'll post up a full review later, but I tweeted as the movie was going on (not customary, I know, but it seemed like the right thing to do for this film) so if you want to see my reactions to the film as it went along, check wwww.twitter.com/ben3308 or follow @ben3308.

Spoilers therein, so be warned. Nothing too heavy, though.
Hahahaha. "Not customary"... Never start smoking cigarettes, dude. You'll be getting up for a smoke three or four times before the credits roll. rolleyes Can you really not be away from twitter for two hours? That is sad, my friend. sad Do you have enough of a "following" on twitter to justify tweeting during a movie? That may be even sadder.
Posted: Mon, 24th Aug 2009, 10:46am

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Mantra

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Tweeting a running commentary during a movie? Wow, there's a way to give the film a chance to have maximum impact...

Anyway, I found a brief but quite interesting video about District9 over at Wired.com. If you haven't seen the film and want to remain 'pure' before seeing it then the video contains some design and background spoilers.

http://www.wired.com/underwire/2009/08/secrets-of-district-9s-grungy-alien-realism/

Looking forward to seeing D9 when it comes out here in the Uk.
Mantra
Posted: Mon, 24th Aug 2009, 11:53am

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rogolo

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Heh, count how many times Neill Blomkamp says 'real' in the link Mantra posted. There may be more words to use, Neill. smile

It also seems Mr. Blomkamp has mastered the art of using as many words as humanly possible to convey simple sentiments...took him ~1:30 of talking in circles to say 'District 9 is not an VFX-centric film'. Too bad the man who made one of the most exciting films of 2009 turns out to be so painfully boring to listen too unsure
Posted: Tue, 25th Aug 2009, 3:25pm

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drspin98

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I go 6/10 Pretty slow at times and just too many unanswered questions, plus the end with the guy wearing the "droid-suit" (for lack of a better) was pretty cheesy.

BTW HATED the last shot!!
Posted: Tue, 25th Aug 2009, 5:11pm

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Fill

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I... I, uh, actually agree a lot with Atom on the film's flaws. *ducks*

I talked to two people minutes before the film started, and both of them were commenting how great the movie was- I hold both of their opinions highly film-wise, so my expectations were set a little too high.

But to agreeing with Atom: the pacing was a pretty big issue to me. The constant switching between documentary and film really confused me, and I suppose I can see what the film was trying to do by switching between the corporation and the main character, but none of the times in which these transitions took place made any sense; the film seemed to go back and forth between the styles because it felt like it.

Oh, and as for the Sci-fi elements: I was a little let down. Actually, I didn't come out of the movie thinking of it as Sci-fi at all because one of the main parts of Sci-fi, all the fictional technology that makes me drool was hardly there, or not as much as I expected.

But, again, the film was well executed. Honestly, not totally my taste, but I can't deprive it of being a well made film (similar to my feelings on The Dark Knight).
Posted: Wed, 26th Aug 2009, 6:08am

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Atom

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Echoing, albeit in a less 'no!11!!!' way, drspin's comments- I meant to add how the choice to add the last shot really soured me even more on the movie. Not that the movie is bad per se, but it ultimately shows me that as a whole it really wasn't crafted, at least in the "masterpiece-orchestration" sense that people tend to treat it like, as a piece of filmmaking. It's too hybridized, and lacking in restraint in it's storytelling because of it.

For such a tragically quaint, heart-wrenchingly real interview-like 'speaking-in-past-tense-about-Wickus' sequence of montage almost as a tribute to our lead character in the last few minutes of the film (which I thought was really excellent), the switch back to movie-mode to show the alien form (and herein a switch back from the roots of human flesh to a CG being and landscape) breaks the dramatic build-up and tension for me and feels just entirely ingenuine.

It wasn't that the shot was bad or oddly timed, but it made for an unnecessary and half-hearted close to a confused film that just nearly redeems itself filmmaking-wise in that last montage. But here, as I said, for it just doesn't. The movie instead awkwardly fades out from a CG shot that felt so empty for me. With the setup they gave it, either a completely grandoise-styled ending or a slow fade-out on the wife would've worked IMO- but it isn't to be found. (And this is sort of the problem I had with the otherwise excellent Bejamin Button's last series of shots that didn't 'fit')

And once again it's the product of someone either not knowing what they're doing in telling a story that's good with actors and technicals that are good or trying to please the compulsions of the script by misusing these 'good' facets in too many, too frequently-changed forms. It's a failure of the filmmaking on a basic level. Which isn't to say the movie is poor or without it's merits- most certainly it has several impressive and attractive qualities. But, as the last shot sums up for me, as a viewer, the movie doesn't know how to tell itself, and so it either over or under-does it for the worse.

In less words, it entirely felt to me like a scene that went without saying. We've got his wife here crying and holding up little gifts she found, which we clearly know he's making based on the parrallelism with her beginning comments about him making her gifts- then we've got the obvious evidence that he was left here on Earth and would slowly become an alien. Then, finally, we've got the development and assertion that, more than anything else, Wickus lives and perseveres almost entirely for his relationship with his wife. He's trying to survive to get back to being with her. Past his own personal body problems, he's trying to change back because that way he can be with her.

It's only natural he'd continue to try and, furtively, reassure and comfort here with little cobbled-together gifts. This is an inference the viewer can make on their own. And, more than showing him making them, the scene would've worked better to leave the conclusion to be drawn outside of the movie.

And I know, I know, I'm getting picky with this bit- but it really highlights my issue with an otherwise evenly sound film. And, sadly, because of the issue this film, to me, became more of an impressively lost series of opportunities than a masterpiece of sci-fi.

But then again, I've never really been a huge fan of that kind of sci-fi, so who knows. Maybe it is just me.
Posted: Thu, 27th Aug 2009, 4:40pm

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Bryan M Block

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I liked District 9 a lot. I thought it rose above itself, if that makes sense. It was helped along by the fact that I knew ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about the film before I went to see it- I had NO expectations, and after about 15 minutes...I thought I might have wasted my money, but it got better and better and had some gravitas to the story, despite being somewhat formulaic. I enjoyed it on several levels.

.02
Posted: Thu, 10th Sep 2009, 12:51pm

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Simon K Jones

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Loved it. Probably my favourite film of the year so far.

It's a bit of a shame that it moves into the generic action movie formula in the second half, but the fact that it's such a good action movie means that it didn't really bother me.

The first half felt very fresh and exciting. Familiar ingredients, but reworked into a tasty new meal.

Good to see filmmakers capable of using handheld cameras in an action sequence effectively. There's a lot of technique in the editing, character design, VFX and shots here that Transformers 2 could have benefited from.

Surprised to hear people complaining about the film being slow - it's the slow build in the first half that justifies the all-out action in the second. It's what gives the action a sense of relevance. I was expecting it to be a more allegorical film, to be honest, but in its context as an action movie it didn't matter that the apartheid metaphor was very much a background thing.

I also don't really get Atom's dislike of the 'scifi' grunginess. I agree it was unpleasant to watch in places, but that seems less to do with the scifi genre and more to do with the fact that it was mostly set in a slum. Slums generally are pretty foul places, I'd imagine.

Oh, also plus points for setting an alien scifi film somewhere other than America or the UK.
Posted: Thu, 10th Sep 2009, 6:49pm

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Staff Only

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Haven't read any comments because I don't want to be spoiled, but I want to express my outrage that District 9 is opening on less and lesser screens in Norway than even Speed Racer did. I was looking forward to seeing this is the best screen we have in Oslo, but "Noooooo, let's open it in screen 6 of some ancient run down cinema". Who the frak is in charge here? Are they a f***ing professional or not? Give me a f***ing answer! I don't care how good Inglorious Basterds is.

My God this is even worse than I thought. A minute ago I thought Inglorious Basterds was holding up the screens for District 9, but it's freaking G-Force. That's it Jerry Bruckheimer. I've had it with you, and your easily marketable films. I know I haven't seen G-Force and shouldn't judge, but I feel the need to cast blame. District 9 is literally opening in two screens in all of Oslo. I just found that the Bob the Builder movie got better treatment. Never in my life...This is an outrage.

/Bale-out

Disappointment of the year.
Posted: Thu, 10th Sep 2009, 8:06pm

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No Respite Productions

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Just come back from seeing this.

Absolutely brilliant, I think it's a film that I'll be thinking about heavily over the next few days. It leaves an impact.

I must admit whilst I think I'd have preferred a more consistent filming style overall, I was quite impressed in how the film managed to change tack without completely throwing me off.

I also think some major major kudos needs to go to the lead actor, this guy absolutely made the film for me. It's his transition throughout the entire film that I think is what makes this film to be one of the best of 2009. Brilliant end action sequence too.

I'm really hoping they go all out on the DVD extras, and properly explore the aparteid aspects of the film a little more, or at least develop that further in a sequel. Seeing as it's the main crux of the marketing campaign, I didn't expect the plot to focus so heavily on one man.

10/10
Posted: Thu, 10th Sep 2009, 8:15pm

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RodyPolis

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Prawn Power!!!
Posted: Fri, 11th Sep 2009, 8:24am

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Simon K Jones

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I've been thinking about the documentary/straight narrative style mix in the film. It's certainly unusual to not just stick with one particular style throughout, although it only jarred with me at when you see the first shot of the insurgent, armed aliens hiding behind a wall during the eviction (which I think was the first shot to break the documentary style). The rest of the film blended it together fine.

I think it works for me because of a key line towards the end of the film, in which the documentary is saying how "nobody knows what really happened..." Except, of course, we do, especially with that final, closing shot. The juxtaposing of the public's view of the events with the actual events, provided by the omniscient narrative eye, makes for a more interesting film.

If you go in expecting either a straight narrative or a documentary style throughout, then it's going to be jarring, but taken on its own terms I think it's effective. I'm looking forward to a second viewing to confirm this either way.
Posted: Fri, 11th Sep 2009, 8:28am

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ben3308

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I disagree.

Longer reasoning later, when I'm done with class. biggrin
Posted: Fri, 11th Sep 2009, 8:32am

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Simon K Jones

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I look forward to it. smile From a technical point of view it's definitely the most interesting aspect of the film to debate. Well, presuming you're interesting in narrative structure like me. razz
Posted: Fri, 11th Sep 2009, 8:33am

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ben3308

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Oh, I'm into narrative structure!

wink
Posted: Fri, 11th Sep 2009, 8:34am

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CX3

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I thought it was a great blend. Though I can't wait to have my mind changed! mrgreen
Posted: Fri, 11th Sep 2009, 4:01pm

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videofxuniverse

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I really did enjoy this, so much so i went to see it twice. I definatly loved the idea that for once it wasnt a typical downtown LA or New York set film. Pretty much all action scifi films are always set in major popular cities and the fact it was as random as south africa really brought more to it.

Spoliers
-----------------
The one strange thing that made the film work was how NORMAL everything was. In respect that the aliens are kind of treated as human refugees and everything to do with them being alien and their ship is kind of second nature to everyone on earth

One thing i did find confusing and i do also think it was an oversight from the producers but the aliens where effectivly rescued from the ship and brought down, so why where they brought down WITH their weapons and the metal gear solid walker bot? surely any alien artiafact would have been confiscated and i still dont know how the hell they managed to bring down the bot suit.
Posted: Fri, 11th Sep 2009, 4:08pm

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Simon K Jones

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Yeah, the presence of the robot suit did confuse me, as well. I've still not figured that one out, and it's a pretty big plot hole if there isn't a justification somewhere.

With regards to the weapons, if the aliens insisted on bringing certain personal belongings with them down to the surface they could quite easily have smuggled in weapons, especially as humans wouldn't necessarily know what to look for and how to identify contraband.

Hiding a giant mech armoured suit in your hand luggage seems unlikely, though.

The one strange thing that made the film work was how NORMAL everything was. In respect that the aliens are kind of treated as human refugees and everything to do with them being alien and their ship is kind of second nature to everyone on earth
This was key to my enjoyment of the film. The recognition that aliens arriving is actually a fairly mundane event, once the initial "HOLY CRAP, ALIENS EXIST!" moment passes. If the aliens don't a) destroy everything or b) heal cancer and bring world peace, then....what's the point? Nothing really changes, so everything would go back to normal pretty fast. On a practical level it'd just be a bit dull.
Posted: Fri, 11th Sep 2009, 8:37pm

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Aculag

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Tarn wrote:

With regards to the weapons, if the aliens insisted on bringing certain personal belongings with them down to the surface they could quite easily have smuggled in weapons, especially as humans wouldn't necessarily know what to look for and how to identify contraband.

Hiding a giant mech armoured suit in your hand luggage seems unlikely, though.
Of course, there was also that drop ship that had been hidden underground for 20 years.

They had a bunch of weaponry, all kinds of stuff really, and 20 years to have collected it all. I think the robot suit could have originally been with the drop ship, or assembled on Earth. I didn't think it was too out of place at all.
Posted: Fri, 11th Sep 2009, 9:25pm

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Sollthar

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Just came back from seeing it and I left the cinema with mixed feelings.

First of all, I really enjoyed the first 15 or 20 minutes of the film. Felt like a proper documentary with believable images, stories, great acting, a brilliantly fresh setting and cool, non-in-your-face visual effects. Loved that and thought "This is really cool!"

But after those 20 minutes, the film started to lose me more and more, since the number of question marks in my head kept going on and on and on and piling up until I remembered the title of a review I read which I believe fits perfectly: "A film that acts way cleverer then it is".

Essentially, what I missed most, was an interesting story. The whole setup felt great and grand, but then ultimately came down to a rather lame story that felt in no way appropriate to the set up. Guy transforms, does a superhero style attack on a lab together with an alien friend, gets back, fights random and rather stupid bad guys one by one and then it just... ends... So the films biggest letdown is in the writing for me.

Plus, as mentioned, the whole "realism" approach of the film ultimately killed it for me, because no matter how hard I tried - and I did - I just couldn't wrap my head around some of the things the film threw at me for "realism".

Is it believable that south africa would be left in charge by the worlds superpowers just because the spaceship happens to be there? Why do all of these aliens except for christopher appear to be complete random idiots? Was he the captain of a ship filled with morons and scum? How come aliens seem to perfectly understand english, people seem to perfectly understand alienish, but everyone keeps talking in their own language? Why would a fluid used as fuel genetically alter a human being into an alien on touch (given that's the major plot point it should make sense, but essentially just left a big WTF on my face)? How exactly does DNA alteration on a hand, but not on the rest of the body work (I'm familiar with punctual mutations, which would be the only explanation, but they don't exactly work that way)? How come some aliens seem strong enough to rip people apart and throw them 10 meters into the sky, then suddenly get held down by another guy? Why would they go get an aliens signature to remove it if they obviously have no rights to begin with? Would the world honestly let it go down such a path? Why does christopher not get bothered when his people are slaughtered in the open daily, but suddenly gets an emotional breakdown when he sees they're used for genetic experiments as if that's somehow worse? Why would they build a robot suit fit for a 20% transformed human being? How on earth does a random guy instantly know how to fly an alien spaceship? Why would anyone create a weapon with use limited to a whole races DNA? How come perfectly trained soldiers suddenly start to behave like amateurs and let themselves get shot under completely idiotic tactical circumstances? How on earth can trained soldiers miss so often? And so on...

Independent of how these questions are answered, they show one thing: I didn't believe most of what this film tried to sell me and ultimately, that made the whole world feel totally fake and random. The descent into "Erm.. We're out of story but still got like 40 minutes to fill... Let's... let's... let's add lots of shots of guys being splattered into bits! I bet todays audience will love that and hopefully don't notice we don't actually tell anything anymore!" territory did the rest.

Given, the film is really well made technically and very interesting from that point of view. Allthough the constant handy-mr-shakey-cam style was great in the first docu-sytle 20 minutes, it got incredibly annoying for me when the film ran downhill and ended in an incoherent mess of things.


Never the less, for me the film is a sum of great technical play and some creative, fresh and inventive ideas wasted on something that would just have stayed a short film and unfortunately mixed with stuff that just doesn't make sense.

5 / 10

Last edited Sat, 12th Sep 2009, 12:32am; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Fri, 11th Sep 2009, 9:37pm

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Mantra

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Saw it, loved it, had a great cinematic experience.
Can't wait to see where Blomkamp goes next with his career.
'Moon' and 'District9' have been two satisfying trips to the cinema this year.

Mantra
Posted: Fri, 11th Sep 2009, 11:27pm

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videofxuniverse

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Aculag wrote:

Tarn wrote:

With regards to the weapons, if the aliens insisted on bringing certain personal belongings with them down to the surface they could quite easily have smuggled in weapons, especially as humans wouldn't necessarily know what to look for and how to identify contraband.

Hiding a giant mech armoured suit in your hand luggage seems unlikely, though.
Of course, there was also that drop ship that had been hidden underground for 20 years.

They had a bunch of weaponry, all kinds of stuff really, and 20 years to have collected it all. I think the robot suit could have originally been with the drop ship, or assembled on Earth. I didn't think it was too out of place at all.
The ship under the shack didnt drop from the mothership "christopher" spent 20 years constructing it out of view from authorities. Also the whole contraband side of things, the alien weaponary in the fllm LOOKED just like weaponary, there is no way they could have got away of bringing down the "exploding human" rifle and claiming it was a can of alien deodorant or a dvd player. It was even mentioned hafway through the documentary stage that they took the alien weaponary into the labs and realised humans couldnt use it so they DID know that they where guns and only usable by alien dna. The one thing i loved was that the main character started off as a weedy, nerd sort of person who was probably bullied at school and was a genuine good guy, but by the end of the film he had a "die hard" action hero attitude about him. Anyone kind of get the feel that there was a rip off from "the Fly" with jeff goldbum occuring in the transformation phase of the film?
Posted: Fri, 11th Sep 2009, 11:28pm

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Atom

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Holy cow, Sollthar, I monumentally agree with every point, pro and con, you've just put up. And on the same day as Ben's 3308 status- FxHome must be being shook in strange ways. smile
Posted: Sun, 13th Sep 2009, 9:30am

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Staff Only

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Saw it, and I really think it's a good film on reflection although it's one of the most uncomfortable films I've seen. From Saw to Schindler's List which together include as much gore and horrible discrimination this (strangely) affected me much more on an emotional level. I think if we look at Spielberg films that surround horrors like for example Empire of the Sun and Schindler the difference between those two and D9 in style is that D9 didn't shy away from the sheer horror at all. Spielberg's films we're "tasteful" if nothing else. D9 featured people vomiting, talking about frying babies with flamethrowers as if they were popcorn, people spattering their guts all over the camera etc. It was unpleasant to say the last, if not the most unpleasant film I've seen. But I think it was good and very effective. Where Crash was labeled as preachy and to close for comfort, D9 managed to make people genuinely disgusted and uncomfortable by watching extreme discrimination, and this wasn't even humans or cute seals being discriminated against, this was some really ugly aliens. So well done, Blomkamp. Even if I thought I'd never want to see it again right after the screening last night, I have changed my mind and really want to go back and see it now that I know what I'm in for. It will be easier to judge the film then. How it stands now I give it 8.5/10.


Sollthar wrote:

I just couldn't wrap my head around some of the things the film threw at me for "realism".
I can take the job of the "fanboy explanation machine" on this one.

Sollthar wrote:

Is it believable that south africa would be left in charge by the worlds superpowers just because the spaceship happens to be there?
The superpowers were MNU. I'm sure countries like America and China had a lot of financial investment in MNU and were kept up to date on how the weapons were coming along. If you think about all the humans that are being horribly abused by their government right now and no superpower can do anything about it, I think you can see that the treatment of the aliens would be a very small political issue in the other countries.


Sollthar wrote:

Why do all of these aliens except for christopher appear to be complete random idiots?
We were told in the film that the Prawns on Earth were like a hive without a Queen. They had lost their commander and without him/her they are useless. That's how the species works. Christopher was an exception. We don't know why he was smart, but he must have been a higher ranking Prawn at some point.

Sollthar wrote:

How come aliens seem to perfectly understand english, people seem to perfectly understand alienish, but everyone keeps talking in their own language?
Not explained, but the aliens did seem slow when being addressed in English (except for Christopher). The MNU agents probably had to learn Prawnish for their job. It didn't seem like the military MNU agents could speak Prawn though.

Sollthar wrote:

Why would a fluid used as fuel genetically alter a human being into an alien on touch (given that's the major plot point it should make sense, but essentially just left a big WTF on my face)?
I got nothing. Biggest WTF on my face as well. I still don't think it makes any sense. We can only assume that the fluid is not the actual fuel? How could a small canister move that enormous thing to another planet? I really don't know.

Sollthar wrote:

How come some aliens seem strong enough to rip people apart and throw them 10 meters into the sky, then suddenly get held down by another guy?
In that sense aliens are like humans. You get the occasional Chuck Norris/Bruce Lee in every spices. razz

Sollthar wrote:

Why would they go get an aliens signature to remove it if they obviously have no rights to begin with?
I have a one word answer for that one: bureaucrats.

Sollthar wrote:

Would the world honestly let it go down such a path?
Mabye, it's not easy to know, but I think yes. There are alarmingly many people on earth that think people of another skin color are less worth/ugly/dangerous etc. I shudder to think what these people would think about Prawns especially after they started hijacking cars and stealing/burning stuff. I'm sure a lot of racists wanted the humans to kill all the Prawns once and for all.

Sollthar wrote:

Why does christopher not get bothered when his people are slaughtered in the open daily, but suddenly gets an emotional breakdown when he sees they're used for genetic experiments as if that's somehow worse?
I don't know. This is weird. Perhaps he thinks that the Prawns sometimes scare the humans into action with their aggressive behavior. He didn't seem to blame Wikus and his people for the murder of his friend (he was probably more mad at his his friend for not handling the situation better). When he sees MNU experimenting on his people in cold blood it get's to much? I really don't know.

Sollthar wrote:

Why would they build a robot suit fit for a 20% transformed human being?
Prawns are only slightly taller and thinner than humans. We get to know that Wikus' DNA is Prawn enough to operate their weapons so as long as he fits into the cabin (which seems to adjust it's head gear to fit him so why not assume it can adjust the rest?) and uses his Prawn arm to operate it, I don't see why not.

Sollthar wrote:

How on earth does a random guy instantly know how to fly an alien spaceship?
He didn't. He eventually found the controls and then did a very bad job of operating them.

Sollthar wrote:

Why would anyone create a weapon with use limited to a whole races DNA?
Don't have a good answer for this. Perhaps it isn't intentional on the Prawns part, it's just how their weapons are. Or perhaps they have been at war on their home planet and to win they upgraded their weapons to be DNA tagged.

Sollthar wrote:

How come perfectly trained soldiers suddenly start to behave like amateurs and let themselves get shot under completely idiotic tactical circumstances? How on earth can trained soldiers miss so often?
This is known as the Principle of Evil Marksmanship. You've probably have heard of it. I still think D9 isn't a big abuser of this. The military did a good job of taking down the drop-ship, and were pretty effective against the Nigerians and Wikius' robot suit.

I would like to stress that when making a story that isn't set firmly in the real world it's very hard to explain everything without making it one long trip into exposition valley. Harry Potter consists of 3407 pages and we still have questions about J.K. Rowling's world. If you want to make a completely complete world the only answer is to release a big ass book explaining every little corner of it. EDIT: However I wholly agree that the canister needed more explaining as it served such an important function, and I also found the inconsistent strength/speed of Prawns a bit distracting.

Last edited Sun, 13th Sep 2009, 11:03am; edited 3 times in total.

Posted: Sun, 13th Sep 2009, 9:40am

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ben3308

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Staff Only wrote:

Sollthar wrote:

Is it believable that south africa would be left in charge by the worlds superpowers just because the spaceship happens to be there?
The superpowers were MNU. I'm sure countries like America and China had a lot of financial investment in MNU and were kept up to date on how the weapons were coming along.
Eh, I just think it was an iffy backing for the sake of exposition. It's more "Academy-Award-worthy" if it's set in Africa, with African involvement, etc. It's different that way. Although, about 90% of the movie, whenever something went to sh!t I remember saying to myself, "America would never have let that happen...." biggrin
Posted: Sun, 13th Sep 2009, 10:02am

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videofxuniverse

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Rating: +1

See District 6...
("District Six (Afrikaans Distrik Ses) is the name of a former inner-city residential area in Cape Town, South Africa. It is best known for the forced removal of over 60,000 of its inhabitants during the 1970s by the apartheid regime.")

the film is a good analogue of human behavior. we have a natural tendancy towards segregating and descriminating certain elements of our society, all nations and all civilisations through out history have done this and continue to do this. the persuit of power is a natural human desire, and the simplest way to raise the power level of one part of society is to suppress another. its not pretty or desirable, but nature rarely is. one way of looking at the film is to ignore the fact that they are aliens at all and focus on how the minority is being treated by the greater majority. the society and their culture is at first segregated then attitudes escalate over the years until there is outward agression against them when they have done nothing to warrant such actions. this happens all over the world. africa, the middle east even europe has problems such as this.

the politics and human rights organisations that are, in their view, trying to help actually end up doing more harm than good. the creatures are a working class, a drone type that accepts any order given to them without question. the most logical thing to do would be to use this natural instinct of theirs and put them to work [given fair conditions equal to that of humans or in accordance with their own culture]. yet this would be unnacceptable morally as it would be seen by many as exploitation if not outright slavery. however these organisations will happilly leave them sitting in the slum with nothing productive to do and rampant crime throughout the district caused entirely from outside sources. this happens today on our planet as well.

there are many more ideas in the film yet i feel they are probably the ideas of the person viewing it as well, just in this fact alone it is an extremely cleverly designed movie. entertaining and a study of society and your own and other peoples views and morals. im not sure if this post actually relates to anything anymore or if it even makes sense [i have a feeling i trailed off somewhere], im somewhat tired, but i have had fun writing it up so here it is
Posted: Sun, 13th Sep 2009, 10:41am

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ben3308 wrote:

Eh, I just think it was an iffy backing for the sake of exposition. It's more "Academy-Award-worthy" if it's set in Africa, with African involvement, etc.
I know what you mean. While it might seem like that is the intention, I don't think Blomkamp and co. are Oscar baiting with an R-rated film about aliens. Blomkamp is from South Africa and I think this story was close to his heart. About the American involvement, you might be right there as well. They'd definitely want a bite of the (alien) apple. However weak I think it's acceptable that MNU represents a lot of high ranking American investors and perhaps agencies. Multi-National United sounds like something Americans cooked up, don't you think? razz
Posted: Sun, 13th Sep 2009, 2:37pm

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Pooky

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What makes Christopher break down isn't the fact that they're experimenting on Prawns, it's seeing that they're experimenting on Prawn eggs (babies).

Also, the guns only work with Prawn DNA because all their technology is half biological, so it's a side effect that it has to interface correctly with the user's biology.
Posted: Sun, 13th Sep 2009, 4:51pm

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Atom

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Staff Only wrote:

However weak I think it's acceptable that MNU represents a lot of high ranking American investors and perhaps agencies. Multi-National United sounds like something Americans cooked up, don't you think? razz
No, I didn't buy that at all. And I can understand why they didn't want it to become an 'America saves the world' and/or 'America is the big evil conglomerate' film, absolutely, but that doesn't not make it an obvious flaw in the realism of the story.

Where was the UK? Where was America? Neither would ever just give money to a small, obscure military power like that and just let things be. Especially with something so shattering as aliens. I didn't buy it for one second.

But I don't want to get into an argument, as this really isn't worth debating. This movies had good ideas, yeah, and interesting exposition- but like I've said the entire time for me it is too unevenly crafted to be considered 'great'. Clever, maybe, but nothing more. Too many questions, falts, overindulgences, and underexpositions take place- and that's a testament to the iffy filmmaking it employs. Acting and story and setting are all there, as well as effects, but direction and overall film craftsmanship is not- and that's why you get things in this the way they are with so many questions.

I've honestly no idea how this movie leaves you more emotionally-charged than the likes of Schindler's List; although I have absolutely no ground to deny you that emotion so whatever. I think you're mixing up 'not afraid to go there' graphically in Blomkamp's work with Speilberg's 'willfulness to show restraint'- which is a more important tool in filmmaking, I think, and yet another reason District 9 didn't work for me. It's a grotesque movie, but quickly loses sight of why it is trying to be so nasty and loses the focus and momentum that make the first 20 minutes (all documentary, might I add- no hybridized movie-mode form) so excellent.
Posted: Sun, 13th Sep 2009, 6:03pm

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Atom wrote:

I've honestly no idea how this movie leaves you more emotionally-charged than the likes of Schindler's List; although I have absolutely no ground to deny you that emotion so whatever. I think you're mixing up 'not afraid to go there' graphically in Blomkamp's work with Speilberg's 'willfulness to show restraint'- which is a more important tool in filmmaking, I think, and yet another reason District 9 didn't work for me.
I see I must rephrase. I was probably a lot more emotionally charged after Schindler's List (it's been some years since I saw that), but D9 left me more disgusted by what I saw. I think someone on IMDb put it best: Watching D9 almost felt like watching excessive animal abuse. And I think we agree on your last point. I will say that D9 might work best with all the graphic violence, but I also believe that there's no medal for gore. I think Hostel is the biggest pile of moronic nonsense I've ever heard of in film if it's what I've heard (I refuse to see it). ViolencePorn as it's called in Norway (dunno what's its called in English) is not for me. And I will never claim D9 is better than Schindler without a lot more research (seeing both again for starters). Restraint is 90% of the time more powerful than in your face flying limbs.
Posted: Sun, 13th Sep 2009, 6:39pm

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Fill

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A lot of people said this movie played with their emotions. Not sure why, but I really didn't feel much attachment to the characters or the story emotionally. The only part I was 'emotionally charged' is when they were testing the alien weapons by using Wikus. I think the only movie I walked out of saying, "Oh... oh, sh!t" for being so intense was Cloverfield. Watch it on a TV or computer; it was almost made to be watched that way, and the film is about 3x more eerie.

The (Australian?) military leader I felt was a rather lame villain. How many times did he point a gun at someone's face and not shoot? It only had me seeing the, "he's close to death, but something happens that saves him!" twist coming from a mile away.
Posted: Sun, 13th Sep 2009, 6:56pm

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Fill wrote:

A lot of people said this movie played with their emotions. Not sure why, but I really didn't feel much attachment to the characters or the story emotionally. The only part I was 'emotionally charged' is when they were testing the alien weapons by using Wikus. I think the only movie I walked out of saying, "Oh... oh, sh!t" for being so intense was Cloverfield. Watch it on a TV or computer; it was almost made to be watched that way, and the film is about 3x more eerie.
Strangely Cloverfield didn't touch me at all. I saw it because of JJ Abrams' attachment, and for Skywalker Sounds involvement. Thought it was adequate and nothing more, but then I didn't expect much. With D9 I expected a preachy, lofty tale of people in board rooms debating what to do with the Prawns ending with MNU just going ahead and killing them all, shot in the style of Denethor sending Faramir back to Osgiliath in The Return of the King. Instead I got the most horrible thing I've ever seen. I'm not just talking about severed arms and exploding humans, but burning babies, vomiting, bleeding black, chopping off your own finger, people repeatedly wanting to cut him to pieces for apparent reason, involuntarily shooting some poor unsuspecting, probably innocent Prawn when testing weapons, destroying someones 20 year long work to liberate their people. I mean I've never felt such hopelessness while watching a film as far as I can remember. It was probably reinforced by that half the theater was coughing all the time (swine-flu alarms go off in your head). It as if where Cloverfield didn't grip me with the handy-cam thing, D9 did. I really can't justify it until a repeat viewing.

Last edited Sun, 13th Sep 2009, 8:29pm; edited 2 times in total.

Posted: Sun, 13th Sep 2009, 7:38pm

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Fill

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I do agree that the film shows the essence of human brutality and selfishness, but what let me down in the end is that it simply showed it and never gave out any solution or philosophy. I suppose it works, though- now that I think about it. It works in the same way Dances With Wolves made me ashamed to live on stolen land. I think I was expecting something like the alternate ending of I Am Legend, where the "protagonist" finds out he's really the monster.
Posted: Mon, 14th Sep 2009, 3:57am

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Aculag

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Fill wrote:

I think I was expecting something like the alternate ending of I Am Legend, where the "protagonist" finds out he's really the monster.
This is, essentially, what happened in District 9.
Posted: Mon, 14th Sep 2009, 6:27am

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Sollthar

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I can take the job of the "fanboy explanation machine" on this one.
You could have saved that time really. smile

As I said, independent of how these questions are answered, they show I didn't believe them. Still don't, hence the film essentially lost me.

I do get that it's supposed to be an analogy and the aliens stand for certain groups of humans but ultimately, I think the analogy just doesn't work because - and this may sound brutal - the reason stuff like that happens to certain people in africa is because no one cares about them. Their lifes and existances have no significant importance for the western world. And I never, ever believe for a second that the same thing would happen to an extraterrestrial lifeform within 20 years. Because that would have importance to the western world.

I just don't buy the whole premise for a second.


And many of the things I asked or noticed wouldn't have bothered me at all of the film wasn't going for this realism approach. BAd guys always miss, actiong films always have logical flaws etc. But when they try to sell it as grudgy, harsh realism, they fail for me.
Posted: Mon, 14th Sep 2009, 6:36am

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Sollthar wrote:

Their lifes and existances have no significant importance for the western world.
While this has nothing to do with District 9, I have top say; this simply isn't true. Their poverty can only end in our misery. Like it our not we all live on the same planet and what happens to some will affect what happens to the others. Surely you aren't sugesting that we wouldn't have better lives if there was less poverty in the world? Surely you arn't sugesting that because something dosen't affect you, that means it's not your place to care? That's exaclty the kind of thinking that got Earth in the state it is.

Not trying to make a political debate out of this thread, sorry.
Posted: Mon, 14th Sep 2009, 7:48am

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ben3308

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Staff Only wrote:

Surely you arn't sugesting that because something dosen't affect you, that means it's not your place to care?
I think he's suggesting that regardless of whether or not it's right to care and be affected, the majority of the western countries generally don't. Not that we shouldn't do anything, just that we don't. Whether or not we should is something else entirely.
Posted: Mon, 14th Sep 2009, 7:55am

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ben3308 wrote:

Staff Only wrote:

Surely you arn't sugesting that because something dosen't affect you, that means it's not your place to care?
I think he's suggesting that regardless of whether or not it's right to care and be affected, the majority of the western countries generally don't. Not that we shouldn't do anything, just that we don't. Whether or not we should is something else entirely.
Right, well then he's correct. I misunderstood. What you say is true, Sollthar. I was just suprised by the "Like it or not, they don't matter" vibe the post had.
Posted: Mon, 14th Sep 2009, 8:29am

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Simon K Jones

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Fill wrote:

I think I was expecting something like the alternate ending of I Am Legend, where the "protagonist" finds out he's really the monster.
Argh. That IS the ending to I Am Legend!

The film didn't actually change that, did it? It's the fundamental point of the book. Even more glad that I haven't seen it now...


I find the "this film isn't as clever as it thinks it is" point of view interesting. I didn't think the film thought it was particularly clever at all; in fact, I didn't think it had any pretentions to that effect. It was a great fun action movie with an unusual setting. An unusual setting doesn't mean that the film is trying to be an intricate and clever analysis of humanity. The fact D9 isn't preachy and doesn't go into the apartheid analogy too closely is precisely why I enjoyed it as much as I did.

I wonder if the unusual setting has contributed to some people thinking it's more serious than it actually is? A little like how foreign, subtitled films in the UK/US are regarded as being more 'arty', even if in their home countries they're just popcorn action movies.

If the viewpoint was "this film isn't as clever as I thought it was going to be", then fair enough. That's a different matter.

For me, I got a great action movie that also had some interesting points to make. Very much reminded me of Starship Troopers in terms of its action/satire balance.
Posted: Mon, 14th Sep 2009, 11:53am

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swintonmaximilian

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Still need to see this, been looking forward to it. Tarn, they did indeed change the end of I am Legend, never see that film, it's so, so shit.
Posted: Mon, 14th Sep 2009, 12:05pm

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Tarn wrote:

The fact D9 isn't preachy and doesn't go into the apartheid analogy too closely is precisely why I enjoyed it as much as I did.
Yes, I feel D9 did the same thing Crash did without feeling serious, preachy or lofty, and Crash won Best Picture. I honestly don't think D9 was trying to be anything alse than a good sci-fi film. If it was it would be PG-13. You can feel when a film is trying to be relevant (X3 anyone? And I didn't even hate X3), and D9 did not feel like that at all.
Posted: Mon, 14th Sep 2009, 2:25pm

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Sollthar

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While this has nothing to do with District 9, I have top say; this simply isn't true. Their poverty can only end in our misery. Like it our not we all live on the same planet and what happens to some will affect what happens to the others.
Ben's right.

I might have the rephrase - I wasn't suggesting that this is my opinion or that I find it in any way alright or good that it is that way, but I find the truth in the line quite obvious: Most people here don't care about africa, the media here certainly doesn't care about africa. That's a sad truth. - Not my opinion.

Regardless of how sad or wrong it is, my point was, that the media and people WOULD care if it were aliens from another planet.

Very much reminded me of Starship Troopers in terms of its action/satire balance.
That's very interesting. That possible viewpoint did came to my mind one time. But I wasn't sure. I find the irony less obvious - it did seem to me like preachiness. But then again, I largely disliked Starship Troopers the first time I saw it too. I loved it on second viewing though. Might be the same case with D9. Will definately watch it again. smile
Posted: Mon, 14th Sep 2009, 3:00pm

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Fill

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Aculag wrote:

Fill wrote:

I think I was expecting something like the alternate ending of I Am Legend, where the "protagonist" finds out he's really the monster.
This is, essentially, what happened in District 9.
That's a good point, but I'm not sure District 9 executed the concept or even tried to make notice of it.

Sollthar wrote:

And many of the things I asked or noticed wouldn't have bothered me at all of the film wasn't going for this realism approach. Bad guys always miss, actiong films always have logical flaws etc. But when they try to sell it as grudgy, harsh realism, they fail for me.
I couldn't have said it better.

Tarn wrote:

Argh. That IS the ending to I Am Legend!

The film didn't actually change that, did it? It's the fundamental point of the book. Even more glad that I haven't seen it now...
Ah, yes, I did forget that the "alternate" ending is the actual ending. I'd watch it with the alternate ending and spare the other one (however still an acceptable ending for the movie- not the book).
Posted: Mon, 14th Sep 2009, 3:18pm

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Simon K Jones

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Sollthar wrote:

Very much reminded me of Starship Troopers in terms of its action/satire balance.
That's very interesting. That possible viewpoint did came to my mind one time. But I wasn't sure. I find the irony less obvious - it did seem to me like preachiness. But then again, I largely disliked Starship Troopers the first time I saw it too. I loved it on second viewing though. Might be the same case with D9. Will definately watch it again. smile
Yeah, there's always been that debate with Starship Troopers over where exactly the satire starts and ends. Depending on your viewpoint, it's either a really bad b-movie with good special effects, or a brilliant satire with some cool action.

I don't think District 9 is satire as such, at least not in the overtly comedic manner of Starship Troopers, but I do think it effectively blends action with some social commentary.

The problems, I think, arise depending what you go in expecting. If you go in expecting a serious, realistic insight into the human condition, it's going to seem quite light and too actiony. If you go in expecting a cool action movie, you get a pleasant metaphor running in the background that you don't normally see in Hollywood action flicks.

Both films are similar in that they use extreme violence and gore to juxtapose the 'clean' version of events presented in official propaganda and news reports. Starship Troopers does it to show the difference between the 'heroic' portrayal of war we see from politicians and the 'realistic' horror of the real thing, while District 9 does the same, comparing the demonising and animalising of ethnic minorities (or majorities, in South Africa's case) compared to the reality of them being intelligent individuals.

What I like about both films is that they don't pause to ram this stuff down you're throat - it's just inherent in the setting.

I've always had a fondness for genre-blending stuff, which is why I love Joss Whedon's stuff, and District 9 seems to be following a similar route.
Posted: Mon, 14th Sep 2009, 7:08pm

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Bryan M Block

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I think videofxuniverse summed it all up quite nicely.

This film is an allegory, and it takes no more liberties than most other films with "reality"

To Solthar- you are right with your "no one cares about them" comment- but that is because their "humanity" is not recognized...which was the point of the film. Even when you recognize the "bad examples" of the alien race and Christopher being the "smart example" You have to ask yourself...how many more are as smart as Christopher...and how many are like the "bad examples"- in other words, if there is a variance across the species like there is with humans...well, that's something to think about isn't it?

It's also not an accident that the alien's name is CHRISTopher and that our hero is left waiting for him to return...

What I liked about the film is that it immersed you in it's own reality and you just had to go with it in order to get the point much like an old Twilight Zone episode, it leaves many small questions unanswered in order to make a larger point.

.02
Posted: Mon, 14th Sep 2009, 7:10pm

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Sollthar

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It's also not an accident that the alien's name is CHRISTopher and that our hero is left waiting for him to return...
Gah... Great. Now I dislike the film even more. Heh. unsure
Posted: Mon, 14th Sep 2009, 7:20pm

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Staff Only

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Well, if nothing else you have a...unique taste in film, Sollthar. razz
Posted: Mon, 14th Sep 2009, 7:45pm

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Pooky

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Tarn wrote:

Fill wrote:

I think I was expecting something like the alternate ending of I Am Legend, where the "protagonist" finds out he's really the monster.
Argh. That IS the ending to I Am Legend!

The film didn't actually change that, did it? It's the fundamental point of the book. Even more glad that I haven't seen it now...
Yeah, the actual cinematic ending was changed at the last minute so that the main guy sacrifices himself to save the other two, and kills all of the vampires in the room (including the boss-type one), which allows the remaining humans to get to a safe house with the working antidote to eventually, it is implied, cure all the vampires.

Probably the worst modified ending of all time.
Posted: Mon, 14th Sep 2009, 8:56pm

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No Respite Productions

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Sollthar wrote:

It's also not an accident that the alien's name is CHRISTopher and that our hero is left waiting for him to return...
Gah... Great. Now I dislike the film even more. Heh. unsure
You have to be a little careful with this, sometimes people can read too much into something that was just an innocent decision.

Do we know that was definitely what the filmakers intended? I've got to admit I saw absolutely nothing throughout the rest of the film that made any religious allegories. So it would seem a little out of place if there was a Christopher/Christ connection.

I'm not sure that kind of dogma was on this film's agenda.
Posted: Tue, 15th Sep 2009, 1:50am

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Atom

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Staff Only wrote:

Tarn wrote:

The fact D9 isn't preachy and doesn't go into the apartheid analogy too closely is precisely why I enjoyed it as much as I did.
Yes, I feel D9 did the same thing Crash did without feeling serious, preachy or lofty, and Crash won Best Picture.

God, there's no use.
Posted: Tue, 15th Sep 2009, 3:01am

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Pooky

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I think you guys should be easier on youngsters that liked this movie very much. You have to understand, this is entirely normal.

What you're essentially doing is the equivalent of walking up to a 6 year-old and laughing at him for not knowing how to plot quadratic equations. In this case, you're making fun of people who simply haven't seen enough movies to know better. It takes time to see movies, you know.

Of course, I'm assuming Sollthar and Tarn have seen quite a lot of movies, since they're like 93 years old by now.
Posted: Tue, 15th Sep 2009, 3:13am

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Bryan M Block

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No Respite Productions wrote:

Sollthar wrote:

It's also not an accident that the alien's name is CHRISTopher and that our hero is left waiting for him to return...
Gah... Great. Now I dislike the film even more. Heh. unsure
You have to be a little careful with this, sometimes people can read too much into something that was just an innocent decision.

Do we know that was definitely what the filmakers intended? I've got to admit I saw absolutely nothing throughout the rest of the film that made any religious allegories. So it would seem a little out of place if there was a Christopher/Christ connection.

I'm not sure that kind of dogma was on this film's agenda.
It doesn't have to be a "Christian" message or "dogma" per se. It's the symbolism of it. It's embedded into the fabric of western society based on our Judeo Christian heritage. Sometimes the symbols are there on purpose, sometimes not, but it would be like someone wearing a cross on a necklace, even if the film maker didn't intend to imply that the person was a "Christian" the presence of the cross has symbolic weight in our culture. The hero's relationship with CHRISTopher allowed him to see the "humanity" in the aliens- and Christopher still wanted to save him even after he betrayed him. Christopher made the hero aware of his own prejudices and assumptions, to recognize his own "sins" in a way etc...etc...and now he is "waiting for Christophers return" - it's not hard to draw parallels to the story of Christ really...which if you dare to strip it of the fact that it is a "religious" story, it is a very compelling narrative of political convictions, betrayal, sacrifice,love, and the nature of man and God- whether you believe in it or not, it's a good story that has resonance- which helps make this allegory even more recognizable as a morality tale to western minds. But, i could be wrong.
Posted: Tue, 15th Sep 2009, 8:13am

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Simon K Jones

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Bryan M Block wrote:

To Solthar- you are right with your "no one cares about them" comment- but that is because their "humanity" is not recognized...which was the point of the film. Even when you recognize the "bad examples" of the alien race and Christopher being the "smart example" You have to ask yourself...how many more are as smart as Christopher...and how many are like the "bad examples"- in other words, if there is a variance across the species like there is with humans...well, that's something to think about isn't it?
The fact the world at large had quite clearly lost interest in the aliens was one of the film's best points, I thought.

Sure, it's aliens. That would be incredible.

But 20 years later, when absolutely nothing has happened, other than the aliens have shown themselves to be kinda dirty and thieving and kinda like humans (as far as the outside world is concerned), it's going to be hard to keep up the interest. Especially to the new generation coming of age, for whom the aliens have just 'always been there'.

I don't think it's particularly unrealistic. But regardless, as Bryan says, it's going down the Twilight Zone/Outer Limits tradition of saying 'what if?', which sometimes means stretching reality just to see what the outcome would be.

pooky wrote:

What you're essentially doing is the equivalent of walking up to a 6 year-old and laughing at him for not knowing how to plot quadratic equations. In this case, you're making fun of people who simply haven't seen enough movies to know better. It takes time to see movies, you know.
If you want to consistently feel superior to somebody, then I imagine '6 year olds' are a pretty easy target...

Of course, I'm assuming Sollthar and Tarn have seen quite a lot of movies, since they're like 93 years old by now.
This is true.
Posted: Tue, 15th Sep 2009, 11:29am

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Staff Only

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Atom wrote:

God, there's no use.
Don't think I'm dissing Crash, I really like Crash and I'm not one of the people who thinks Brokeback should have won as I haven't seen it yet. I love Crash. I was remarking that D9 seems to be a more effective political influence on it's audience as most people I talk to about Crash say they hate it, and despised ever minute of it. D9 seems to be getting through to people, and getting them to do think twice about their racism/fear of the different. Crash tried very hard to do this, and while being an excellent film didn't seem to manage as effectively as D9. It's an observation not a judgment. I don't even claim to be right.

Pooky wrote:

I think you guys should be easier on youngsters that liked this movie very much. You have to understand, this is entirely normal.
I take it you are referring to these youngsters as well? razz

EDITED FOR CLARENCE:

And to Atom: you always seem to take the job of hype-balancer or something. This isn't politics. Hype doesn't need an opposition. Or am I wrong here?

Last edited Tue, 15th Sep 2009, 4:32pm; edited 2 times in total.

Posted: Tue, 15th Sep 2009, 1:32pm

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Atom

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Staff Only wrote:

Atom wrote:

God, there's no use.
Don't think I'm dissing Crash, I really like Crash and I'm not one of the poeple who thinks Brokeback should have won as I didn't even see it. I love Crash.


I can suggest right here and now that you are skeptic towards The Lovely Bones supposed academy award quality, Atom? That you are likely to hate Avatar's guts even if you honestly think it's worth 7/10? I will not make this a discussion with you about my fandom of the Auteur Theory and your dislike of it, but rather about the unfairness towards any given film, that you always seem to take the job of hype-balancer or something. This isn't politics. Hype doesn't need an opposition. Or am I wrong here?
Yes, hype does get counteracted when it becomes overwhelmingly skewed and is generally balanced on films- almost always. It allows for more civil and even critical consensus and usually helps the majority dictate whether they want to see a movie or not. If you're to expect a sickeningly-positive/negative wave before a movie, you're stupid not to expect to see (or even be a part of) the eventual backlash to that high/low.

And yes. You are wrong here. Because you're, quite unfairly, assuming too many things.

Which makes me realize you obviously have absolutely no idea who you're talking to, man. Really. I give every movie an incredible chance and benefit-of-a-doubt, make lengthy posts on what I consider the best films of the year, and usually find the majority of my top ten picks in the Academy Awards nominations. (If not also the winners.)

As for hype? Need I really even begin to explain myself there? I don't know if you've yet realized it, but you have soured me off of Avatar- almost you entirely alone, buddy. But that doesn't mean I won't give it it's fair shot. Or The Lovely Bones.

I can safely say now that I think Avatar "looks terrible". But if it turns out to be a 7/10 in my book will I still say it was terrible? Absolutely not, no, never. Again, I have to ask, do you know who I am? I know you weren't around for this, but I had the biggest opposition on here to Batman Begins. I hated the film's utter core for how it was being touted. But you know what? It's one of my favorite films now, I completely lauded it once I saw it in theaters, and was more than willing to let people call me out on being wrong about it.

Same with Harry Potter 6. I've been one of the biggest proponents on here for the movie; but I could not have been a bigger skeptic and 'who cares, Harry Potter is a dead topic' on here before I went and saw the film. Contrary to some belief, I in no way 'make up my mind about a movie' before I see it. And if I do, I can just as easily change that feeling if the movie stands up on its own once I've seen it.

(And by all means, if Avatar is the game-changing second coming of Christ like you've claimed it is, give me as much shitt for being wrong as you can.)

Do I think either look, to me, like they are 'Oscar-caliber' films? Absolutely not. Do I think they have a chance of being nominated for Best Picture and/or winning? Probably and sadly, yes. This has been a pretty unevenly poor year for Oscar-caliber films (which, in all actuality, are my favorite) and the lack of them thus far (and in the foreseeable future latter portion of the year judging by the releases coming out) to me really is depressing and very reminiscent of the 2005 year Crash won. Sure, we had a few movies like Capote and Brokeback Mountain (which, yes, quite-clearly and most-assuredly should have won)- but none were entirely stellar films, and it was to be expected. None were really that 'Oscar-caliber', you know? But like I said, good things only last so long.

Hollywood gave us a hot streak of two solid years of Oscar excellence and tough, tough competition in 2003 and 2004; 2005 was bound to be fairly dry of good movies.

And I sadly saw this happening with 2009. We got too lucky, I guess you could say, with the movies we've been given. We start coming off of Crash and get loads of excellence: Little Miss Sunshine, The Departed, etc. Vastly different, unique, intriguing, provoking films that offer eachother really solid competition and fill the year with treats. Then we hit 2007. From a damn-near perfect year of countless Oscar or otherwise movies in 2007 inclusive of No Country and many others; to the Dark Knight and Slumdog and countless other crazes of 2008 I devoured- I knew 2009 was bound to be thinly-spread.

The Lovely Bones looks to me to be the likely Oscar contender, but what's sad to me is I think it will win without any real competition to begin with; and would've lost any year before this one, really. And of course I haven't seen the film yet, no, and it could very well be excellent- but from what I'm seen in the trailer I feel like I've seen the entire movie and, well, nevermind. I'm being prematurely judgemental, although you fooled me if that's not what you wanted me to say.

My point here is that I can expect a movie in a bad year for movies to get an Oscar nod, yeah, but that doesn't necessarily make it an 'Oscar-caliber' movie. Not in my book. The Lovely Bones may be excellent, I don't know. But I doubt it is as good as No Country For Old Men or The Departed or Million Dollar Baby or many of the competitors from those years. And that's both a shame and a fit of luck for it.

I don't need to disagree with the status quo one way or another to enjoy or dislike or hate or be neutral to films. I'm a passionate person and try to give each movie an open forum to project its story my way- if I take to it I generally try to spread it as much as possible- if I'm neutral I try and still find good in it. If I hate it, eh, well so I hated it. Who cares, you know?

What I dislike is for my mind to be made up for me by the status quo, especially when it's a feeling surrounding a movie that no one's even seen yet. This is my frustration with films like District 9 to some extent, and most-majorly Avatar or, to a lesser degree, The Dark Knight. Yeah, the movies were both fairly good, but the hype killed them for me. Which, I guess, you could clearly see as ironic, but that's life now, ain't it? smile

But like I said, there's no use. Especially with you. I try to be clear in what I say, to offer my opinions on movies I watch if nothing else with openness and lengthy clarity- and after all they really are only opinions- but for someone who has now taken a title and re-self-appointed it as 'FXHome's Batsh#t Crazy Guy' you seem to think I'm some insane loon to be dealt with by your civility.

I'm not saying this to be patronizing or mean or rude in any way, there is just literally no use to it. Because, like I've said in the past, we obviously fundamentally disagree on many aspects both in filmmaking and in our taste of films, so why try and go through all of this? It'll only be entirely redundant and silly because neither of us will ever stop thinking what we're thinking. And both of us know that- I just wish you would accept it and move on.

Last edited Tue, 15th Sep 2009, 1:53pm; edited 2 times in total.

Posted: Tue, 15th Sep 2009, 1:45pm

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Simon K Jones

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Isn't there a rule somewhere against using Picard more than once-per-page?

Anyway, not really sure where Staff Only was going with that post.

Lovely Bones does look quite good, though.
Posted: Tue, 15th Sep 2009, 1:54pm

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Sollthar

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Let's make sure we keep the thread on the topic of district 9, yes?
Posted: Tue, 15th Sep 2009, 2:05pm

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Simon K Jones

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Atom wrote:

Good, yes, but Oscar good? I guess that's my question.
No idea, I've not seen it yet.

Also, generally I don't particularly like 'Oscar good' films. They tend to be a bit obvious, a bit patronising and a bit shallow in my experience. Obviously there are exceptions, as always, but generally that seems to be the rule.

Most of my favourite films either didn't win or weren't nominated for Oscars. think

Because if we're to throw it into the mix, why not something genuinely terrific and likely leagues better like, say, 500 Days of Summer or something off-kilter from those but equally-impressive and handled with just as much finesse like, say, Observe & Report or even Star Trek, you know? Or Adventureland or I Love You, Man?
Star Trek is sci-fi, so won't be considered for anything outside of technical categories. The others I haven't seen, so won't judge (as with Lovely Bones).

Personally I'd put District 9 above Star Trek, simply because it's more daring. Whether it succeeds as much is another matter. In fact, that's generally why I don't tend to agree with Oscar stuff - it goes for stuff that aimed low but did it really, really well. Whereas I tend to prefer stuff that aimed high and tried something daring, even if it didn't work very well.

But that's just me.

And, you guessed it, I consider those some of the top movies of the year. Expect them in my year review. wink
Looking forward to it.
Posted: Tue, 15th Sep 2009, 2:19pm

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videofxuniverse

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Spolier

A few people here consider the colonel to be a villan, i don't think so. If you look further into his caracter and the situation he's in, I think he is merely doing his job. You have to remember he is a soldier and most soldiers work on a "need to know basis" and to be honest I assume the colonel was told the same thing everyone else was that wickus was infected with alien STD and was contagious, MNU's HQ had half the ground level blown out and half the colonels squad was killed during the lab breakout so you can kind of assume why he was a bit miffed, the only thing to say against him was he liked his job a bit too much and was a bit kill crazy simply because nobody cared about the prawns or their rights so he could get away with randomly popping them off. I think the real Villan was Wickus's father in law. I mean what sort of person like that would let you be cut up for the company to earn money? A very cold man and even crueller to talk about slicing wickus to bits while the poor sod was laying there unable to do or saying anything to prevent it.
Posted: Tue, 15th Sep 2009, 2:30pm

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Staff Only

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Sollthar wrote:

Let's make sure we keep the thread on the topic of district 9, yes?
Then I apologize in advance.

To Atom: Let me first say, you've convinced me. I was assuming you belonged to a different group entirely than you do. So sorry, Atom. And I agree with what you say. And sorry to Pooky I misunderstood your post as well. (In my defense I was sitting in a sweltering classroom, starving right after a math test when I wrote that post.)

Atom wrote:

And yes. You are wrong here. Because you're, quite unfairly, assuming too many things.

Which makes me realize you obviously have absolutely no idea who you're talking to, man. Really. I give every movie an incredible chance and benefit-of-a-doubt.
Right, I take my previous statement back. I was wrong about you.

Atom wrote:

(And by all means, if Avatar is the game-changing second coming of Christ like you've claimed it is, give me as much shitt for being wrong as you can.)
And likewise to you. If Avatar is bad I will be really disappointed, but I won't hold it against you for being right about it. I must admit the trailer did not help the film in any way, and did in fact make it seem like JC had gone bonkers somewhere between all the hours spent in decompression after all his diving and winning 11 academy awards. You may have noticed how much less exited I seem nowadays. Still I'll walk in there expecting a great film, because of JCs track record. And about this:

Atom wrote:

I don't know if you've yet realized it, but you have soured me off of Avatar- almost you entirely alone, buddy.
I understand, and while it was not my intention I still feel bad about this. I might remind you that the first time I mentioned Avatar you did seem like you already knew about it's rabid fans, but I see I must have worsened it tenfold.

Atom wrote:

Yeah, the movies were both fairly good, but the hype killed them for me.
This was really what I was trying to ask you about in my previous post. How exactly does the hype kill a film? (I get how the Avatar hype and James Cameron fans have been utterly distasteful concerning Avatar, and The Dark Knight was pretty bad with over-hype as well, but I don't see this with D9?)

Atom wrote:

I try to be clear in what I say, to offer my opinions on movies I watch if nothing else with openness and lengthy clarity- and after all they really are only opinions- but for someone who has now taken a title and re-self-appointed it as 'FXHome's Batsh#t Crazy Guy' you seem to think I'm some insane loon to be dealt with by your civility.
That is entirely a joke based on a post by Aculag. I never meant is an actual title. If it came off that way I'll remove it at once. I also did not presume I was any more or less civil than you or that you needed to be "dealt with" in any way (least of all by me), I was trying (failing) to ask you how the D9 hype was ruining things for you.

Atom wrote:

I'm not saying this to be patronizing or mean or rude in any way, there is just literally no use to it. Because, like I've said in the past, we obviously fundamentally disagree on many aspects both in filmmaking and in our taste of films, so why try and go through all of this? It'll only be entirely redundant and silly because neither of us will ever stop thinking what we're thinking. And both of us know that- I just wish you would accept it and move on.
Well, I think this is 50% true. We strongly disagree on some things, but I think communication problems in my posts and my over-the-top bad Avatar pre-hype got between us agreeing on anything. I will refrain from disagreeing with you as much as possible in the future, if for no other reason than that we should stop hijacking threads with our debates, but I have really enjoyed reading your posts in our debates. I will say that. wink

And as I side-note we were the same when it came to the Batman Begins hype. I did not like trailer (I don't know why you didn't like it, but a non-faithful Batmobile springs to mind), and now I love the film (which I refused to see it theaters, but rather gave it a chance on DVD).

Oh and I hope you can forget the whole Avatar thing. It was way out of proportion even if the film delivers.
Posted: Tue, 15th Sep 2009, 9:11pm

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jawajohnny

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Tarn wrote:

Also, generally I don't particularly like 'Oscar good' films. They tend to be a bit obvious, a bit patronising and a bit shallow in my experience. Obviously there are exceptions, as always, but generally that seems to be the rule.

Most of my favourite films either didn't win or weren't nominated for Oscars. think
My thoughts exactly. I'm still trying to figure out why Star Wars didn't win. smile As good as many "Oscar-good" movies are, I find the whole thing predictable. Each year, they usually only choose movies that they deem to be "serious" or grounded in reality. They continue to completely ignore certain genres that they don't think are Oscar-worthy.

This year though, I think they're trying to change that. The backlash from "why didn't Wall-E and/or The Dark Knight get nominated last year?" seems to have lead to their decision to nominate TEN films. Since they're nominating ten movies, I think genres like sci-fi, fantasy, and animation will probably have a chance this year. Lets say we get five of the usual Oscar movies, then we get five from other genres; animated, sci-fi, etc. It's going to be wide open.

I think films like Up, Star Trek, District 9, the Lovely Bones, and Avatar could very well be nominated. And as much as I love Harry Potter 6... it's just not gonna happen. smile

Overall, I don't care at all for the Oscars, but I do think it is good that they finally seem to be branching out.

Sorry to get off topic. smile
Posted: Tue, 15th Sep 2009, 9:25pm

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Bryan M Block

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yeah but dark night was predictible and dare i say...boring. Ledger was phenomenal though.
Posted: Tue, 15th Sep 2009, 10:16pm

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Atom

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Rating: +3

The argument of 'Oscar movies are boring/dull/people never see' is always an iffy one with me. Because, pretty regularly, I do find them to be the best (or at least some of the best) films of the year; and many of the Best Picture winners I consider to be instant classics and provoking, incredibly satisfying films. Moreso than even movies dear to my heart like Speed Racer or Star Trek which I also find 'satisfying'.

It's the same principle with The Dark Knight, and I was irritated by such backlash. People should have been asking 'Why didn't Revolutionary Road get nominated? Why not Gran Torino?' The main fact of it was that people simply hadn't seen Frost/Nixon or Slumdog; so how could you already claim a movie such as The Dark Knight as being 'the best'?

Well, truth be told I think the Academy saw that you couldn't. And, you know what, I'm happy The Dark Knight didn't get nominated. It simply wasn't that Oscar-caliber of a film. It was excellent, absolutely, and fairly satisfying. But 'Best Picture' material? Never. That always made me laugh.

I mean, come on, the film was the second-most nominated film at the Academy Awards anyway- it got the credit it deserved; just not credit proportionate to the hype. And for people who say 'well, it's because it's Batman....' no, that's not why. It just wasn't Oscar quality. If material was the case, do you think we would have seen all three LOTR film nominated for Best Picture and the latter win 13 awards? smile

Oscar-caliber is the key here, and while I think it's fun to change the number of nominees to 10, it ultimately won't change or have changed the final winner each previous year. Nor will it this year. Maybe we'll see Star Trek or District 9 on the nominee list; but it won't change the lack of Best Picture dramas.

It's a shame we don't have more of them this year. Yeah, sure, it's great we've had such 'intriguing' sci-fi like Moon or Star Trek or District 9 this year; but to me at least that doesn't fill a void where we should have and don't have more 'Best Picture' quality films. Last winter we were falling over ourselves in them, this whole year I look and see, while I really enjoyed it immensely, no real contender thus far but 500 Days of Summer. And even that borders rom-com from drama.

But I'm a drama guy, obviously, in both what I like and like to make, so I guess I'm just disappointed with 2009.
Posted: Wed, 16th Sep 2009, 3:29am

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Bryan M Block

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Atom....uh....you said it all brother. I got yo' back...
Posted: Wed, 16th Sep 2009, 5:42am

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Aculag

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This movie was pretty great, but does anyone actually believe it to be Oscar caliber? Even if it was the best film of the year, it wouldn't even get a nomination because it's sci-fi. Let's not kid ourselves.
Posted: Wed, 16th Sep 2009, 6:14am

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Staff Only

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For those of you who know that D9 is based of Neill Blomkamp's short film Alive in Joburg (Johannesburg) and have wanted to see it here's a link:

Alive in Joburg

You will see Sharlto Copley in this at about 3 minutes in. You might also notice how many references was made to this in D9.

Aculag wrote:

This movie was pretty great, but does anyone actually believe it to be Oscar caliber? Even if it was the best film of the year, it wouldn't even get a nomination because it's sci-fi. Let's not kid ourselves.
Well I don't know about D9 in particular, but I think the intention of having 10 nominations was so that they could satisfy fans of every genre and keep the ratings up? If someone makes a really great sci-fi (which I think D9 is) it does stand a chance right now I think. And it's pretty clear what Cameron is trying to do with a December release. Star Trek was also really good, but as it had to spend so much time on the origin story and was a great adventure, I don't know what it's chances are at the Oscars, but I'm guessing pretty low. Still sci-fi had a pretty great year with critics and moviegoers alike.
Posted: Wed, 16th Sep 2009, 7:10am

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Aculag

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Staff Only wrote:

Well I don't know about D9 in particular, but I think the intention of having 10 nominations was so that they could satisfy fans of every genre and keep the ratings up?.
Hahaha, I didn't know they changed it to 10 until just now. That is hysterical, and will change nothing. The Oscars will be just as predictable as ever, even if they allowed 20 nominees. I'd be shocked if a genre film actually went away with a best picture win. It'd be cool, though! Go, Moon!!
Posted: Wed, 16th Sep 2009, 8:30am

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Simon K Jones

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I love District 9, as I've testified here, but essentially it's a balls-out action movie with a nice subplot in racial tension allegory. It's absolutely not the kind of film the Academy would look at. If it had less action in the 2nd half and more obvious and in-your-face racial allegory then it probably would have had a chance, though.

There's been some great sci-fi this year - Moon, Star Trek, District 9, Watchmen - but all of them fall slightly short of proper 'classics'. They're all great, and I'll get them all on blu-ray at some point, but all have one too many flaws.
Posted: Thu, 17th Sep 2009, 6:23pm

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pdrg

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I did like it. I liked the fact that this was a fresh angle. I liked the sense of humour. I liked the pace. Overall it's a good film and so much fresher than most CGI sci-fi movies. I thought they did a good job.

I know some of you were less impressed, but seeing as it has made 8+ pages of thread, it obviously has some reverberations that make it worth discussing wink
Posted: Thu, 17th Sep 2009, 6:34pm

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Aculag

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Rating: +1

pdrg wrote:

I know some of you were less impressed, but seeing as it has made 8+ pages of thread, it obviously has some reverberations that make it worth discussing wink
Clearly you haven't read the thread. wink
I don't know why I said that.
Posted: Fri, 18th Sep 2009, 2:42pm

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pdrg

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Aculag wrote:

Clearly you haven't read the thread. wink
I don't know why I said that.
Except I did wink So much of the thread is about the side-issues raised by the film, that's what I mean. Yep, there's some of the usual sniping and posturing, but seeing as they are in every thread anyway, I've accounted for them. Still 8+ pages...