Wednesday, December 30, 2009
District 9 - now on DVD
District 9 reviewed fairly well (90% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, and 81/100 score at MetaCritic). I find Peter Jackson's films to be generally enjoyable and more sci-fi is always welcome, so I went into this movie with good expectations. I wasn't disappointed, although I don't hold the movie in as high regard as the critics.
Unfortunately, I was less taken with the characters and pacing of the movie. Ironically, I liked the main character -Wikus, played by Sharlto Copley- less and less as he became more likable. Initially a bureaucratic, self-interested nebbish, by movie's end he has had the customary change-of-heart and sacrifices himself like the typical action-movie hero. What started as a fresh and unique take on the role of a sci-fi movie protagonist ended up completely unoriginal and predictable. Meanwhile, his CGI-rendered alien counterpart was interesting only when he remained alien; contrary to expectations, I rooted for the bipedal cockroaches as long as they remained mysterious and strange. Yet as soon as they revealed themselves to have the same emotions and motivations as the humans who oppressed them they became far less interesting. Finally, the heavies - David James as sadistic Colonel Venter, Khumbanyiwa as the Nigerian warlord and Louis Minnaar as Director Smit - were all too one-dimensional to have any appeal.
Still, I have to give District 9 credit for being original in intent even if at the end it does devolve in the usual pap. It relies far more on its own style than on special effects or big-name actors and even if it does not succeed entirely that alone makes it worth watching.