me and my boy copped some free passes to a sneak preview showing of the new documentary style sci-fi joint District 9 produced by that dude Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings,King Kong) and directed by his protege Neill Blomkamp. the film takes place in Johannesburg, South Africa where an alien ship has been hovering for twenty years, and the shiftless aliens inside have been relocated from the dormant ship to the alien superghetto, District 9. the South African corporation MNU has designs on the aliens' technology, which will not work for humans, but as the documentary framing sequence foreshadows, something goes horribly wrong.
This movie is a beautiful film, sorta... i mean, it is ugly to look at: the aliens (called "Prawns" since they are similar to crustaceans and exhibit some similar bottom-feeder tendencies)are not cute or anything, the film has many grotesque death scenes, excessive profanity, and of course there are the Nigerian voodoo gangsters who try eating the aliens to gain their power (i'll get to that later). point being, the movie is ugly, but the effects, documentary clips, news excerpts and overall directing blend together seamlessly to really embed you in an imaginary world that's way too similar to our own. now get ready for plenty of controversy (i mean, it's in South Africa!) and the aforementioned Nigerian Gangsters who move in and exploit the stranded Prawns exhibit the kind of caricature of negative stereotypes that will enrage the black intellectual in you! but this film is populated mostly by people you want to see get taken out at one time or another (regardless of color), so the gangsters were no exception... even the protagonist of the film behaves in such a way that you figure he deserves whatever he gets at times.
so the checklist goes: great special effects, cool technology, complex characters, hard-working unpredictable plot, African gangster rap on soundtrack, evil corporation, aliens dissected by humans for a change, subversive allegory, blackwater-style mercenaries, and multiple F-bombs? CHECK! if you really prefer pure popcorn movies for the whole fam, have sensitive ears (or stomach), have a short attention span or are easily offended, SKIP IT and go see GI JOE or something... everyone else should RUN out to see District 9 before your friends spoil it for you! District 9 opens in wide release August 14th.
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