The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Friday, August 14, 2009

Kaffirs From Space: "District 9" (2009)

Wow. Neill Blomkamp knocked it out of the park. For thirty million dollars he's made the best SF movie of the year, shaming Hollywood product costing five times as much. This story of aliens trapped in South African ghettos has genuine heart, frickin' brilliant SFX, terrific acting, a loony sick sense of humor, and an acute sense of social history. A combination of traditional dramatics and news footage/verite, District 9 is the very essence of what attracted me to science fiction in the first place. The less you know about this movie, the better--except that it genuinely earns its "R" rating. Insanely creative: yeah, you'll pick up pieces of many other movies, but creativity doesn't mean creating new colors, it means combining existing pieces in new and relevant ways. And this "District 9" does terrifically. An "A+" for people like me. General filmgoers? I'd say a "B+", maybe an "A". I'm prejudiced.

WARNING! SAMBO ALERT!

Really none. The humans are assholes, with damned few exceptions. Some of those assholes are black, some white. Power is distributed well. Sensitivity is shown for the history of the country. This movie goes beyond race, to questions of humanity. Blomkamp gets it.

6 comments:

Reluctant Lawyer said...

I look forward to seeing the movie. The treatment of the race metaphor says lots of interesting things about the US and South Africa. Or maybe it doesn't. Maybe this guy just got it right.

LaVeda H. Mason said...

High praise, indeed! I'll put it on the 'must see' list, and catch it in the theater.

josephrobertlewis said...

I'm surprised you give it such solidly high praise. While I think each aspect of the film was very good (acting, SFX, writing, direction, concepts), as a whole I didn't think the movie was very original and I spent the whole time waiting for something unique or surprising or insightful or just clever, but it never came.

Scott Masterton said...

Steve -

While I agree that corporations can be tyrannical, I disagree with you when you say that government is more responsive to the people. Government is only one thing: Force. It has a monopoly on it. 3M can't force me to buy anything...if their product(s) are not ones that I want or don't serve me they have no power to reach into my bank account and take my money. They can't put me in jail if I don't want what they have to offer. This is not true of government. Government can garnish my wages, fine me or have me jailed if I don't toe the government line; Honeywell can't do that.

I see the free market as a very pure form of democracy. Big corporations are only a problem when they get in bed with government, which is the reason that corporations relish government regulation...it supresses competition and the will of the consumer. This is the reason that I am wary of government healthcare. I don't want an entity with the monopoly on force to be in ANY business.

Government in a free society should be there to prevent fraud and force from those not authorized to use it or constrained by the Consitution. Private "armies" therefore are a terrible idea...besides the McDonalds Militia uniforms could look nothing but stupid.

Having said all that I too am looking forward to seeing D-9.
Peace,
Scott.

Anonymous said...

Thoughts on D9...

I often read this blog and I've purchased several of Mr. Barnes novels over the years. I'm usually in agreement with him on his movie reviews, but I felt compelled to write because I don't agree with his gushing over this film. I thought it was a fine film except for the savage depiction of blacks. Sure it painted almost everyone, except two aliens in a negative light, but I think D9 resorted to using stereotypes moreso for blacks, with mysticism, cannibalism, and sexual promiscuity. D9 works for me as a sci-fi film, but not as racial allegory, at least not an enlightened one.

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