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Gavin Grades The Movies



District 9

Hey creators of "Transformers 2," I hope you pay attention to this movie and learn a thing or two from it.  It was an independent film, produced by Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings trilogy) for only $20 million and it's absolutely superb!!!  It's rare that I will beg people to go see a movie because I get the impression that that's annoying.  The last movie that I begged people to go see was "The Dark Knight."  "District 9" is just as good, if not better, and I'm BEGGING you to go see it.  If South African director Neill Blomkamp came to me years ago and said that he wanted to make a science fiction movie that was about aliens coming to Earth that was loaded with thrilling action, achingly-real emotion, comedy in the right places AND have it be a powerful and important statement about human rights and apartheid, I would've said it will never even be made, let alone be any good.  It just sounds too ambitious.  He pulled it off though...big time!  However, this movie is not for the squeamish.  The violence is stylized but it's plentiful and graphic, yet creative.  See, the movie begins and ends as a mock-documentary as to set up the backstory.  Then it seamlessly changes into a regular movie without ever feeling like a separate film.  But added touches such as hand-held camera shots and blood splattered on the camera lens helps remind you that this could still be documentary footage and adds to the realism.  That's crucial to get the point across that even though this is about aliens, humans are treated like this in refugee camps every day.  The special effects are amazingly lifelike considering the film's modest budget.  My guess is that Blomkamp learned some tricks from the FX King, Jackson.  Also adding to the realism is that there are no Hollywood sets involved and the entire film was shot where the story takes place in Johannesburg, South Africa with all South African actors.  The star of those actors is a man named Sharlto Copley.  Learn that name because he's gonna be a star.  The man seems to know how to make you laugh, cry, cheer and wince in under two hours.  I really don't have one bad thing to say about this film.  I don't think we'll be seeing it up for any Oscars because the Academy can't seem to bring itself to nominating a movie that has a CGI alien as a co-star.  But if enough people see it and start talking about it, it just might get the credit it deserves.  So please go see it...I'm begging you. District 9 (Rated R) Gavin Grade: A+

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08/14/2009 7:02PM
District 9
Please Enter Your Comments Below
08/15/2009 10:23AM
Carrie
I'd have to agree. I was a bit bored in the beginning but once the story is setup the rest of the movie is nothing but action and the story is amazing. At first your like oh great another clover feild style movie. But it's nothing of the sort. And the reason for the boring beginning is to build up the story to understand so many things later. I'd go see it again I give it a A+
08/17/2009 5:44AM
Rubin
Hey Gavin, This was the best Sci-Fi I've seen since T2. Innovative, realistic, emotionally engrossing etc. I can't BELIEVE it was made for only $20 million! What an amazing character arc for Copley. Loved that it was shot in Johannesburg with actors no one knows. Same thing was done in the late 70's with another decent Sci-Fi flick called Star Wars. No-name actors, most of it shot in the UK, etc. I'm not comparing it but I will say that it's tough to be original in today's movie climate. This could easily have been another "Aliens come to earth and war breaks out" flick and it just wasn't. I'm not a big fan of CGI but D9 had me fooled. The aliens were as real as the humans and it made the movie even more believable. A+
09/17/2009 3:01PM
Melanie
Hey Gavin- Well, your begging worked. ;) My husband and I loved it as well. Very realistic for a sci-fi movie. Thanks for your great reviews...I always look forward to reading them!
09/18/2009 10:22AM
Lee
I read your review today, but saw the movie weeks ago. I wanted to tell you that I agree with so much of your review. I attempted to convince as many people as possible to go see this movie. It's not just about aliens, but about the way people treat each other. I read all of the articles in EW, and various other magazines, and when I found out that almost all of Sharlto Copley's lines were improvised, I was floored. Very little of the movie was actually scripted. The only negative I saw in the movie was the acting of the wife. If there was a score higher than A+, it would get that (and more).
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