Restricted District

Again, not a movie review. There are a lot of those already, and it’s not like I have the credentials for it. So here are just random thoughts on the movie.

I really wanted to watch Up instead, but unluckily for me, everyone I know has already seen it, or has already made plans to see it with other people. Hence, I was left to choose from the rest of the movies showing, and with The Time Traveler’s Wife down, it was either this, District 9, or, well, this. I’m not really that interested in the other movies playing right now. I don’t even mind anymore that I’m probably not going to be able to see G.I. Joe on the big screen. Fact: Although I watched that cartoon growing up, I remember not really liking it all that much. From the start, I was really more interested in the supernatural, hence, in my opinion, Visionaries kicks G.I.Joe butt. Haha. Anyway, this is about District 9. (Why do I always mention unrelated stuff during the introduction of my posts?)

Best friend E agreed to see it, despite not knowing anything about it. Maybe it helped that all I told him was that it was a sci-fi movie. Because he ended up really surprised, but more importantly, impressed, at the kind of movie that it was.

I think the summaries on the internet don’t give it justice. If you read them, and find out that it’s about aliens, then you’re going to assume that it’s a typical sci-fi flick, which are mostly just to showcase hi-tech weapons, supernatural abilities plus monster-like appearances. So this one still had that, with aliens looking like “prawns”, but this one chose to be more realistic and so really delved into what could really happen, if aliens landed on Earth, given the state of our planet, with all the social problems and all.

First, it wasn’t set in a major city (which, it pointed out at the beginning) like Paris or New York. And just for that, already it makes you expect something different from the usual “alien movie”, where the President of the United States is a hero, and they get some whiz kid to do some stuff on a computer to be able to destroy the aliens who of course, have technology way beyond our understanding. It still has the government/military involved, because, how can you not, when aliens on Earth are always going to be a matter of security, but

Second, it was not about an alien takeover. So there are no “take me to your leader” and “we’re going to destroy your planet” cliches. It was more about how human beings are going to co-exist with a different species that, unlike the other animals that we share our planet with, are also trying to have what we have, and hold the same material things valuable, e.g. weapons, money, and living space.

Third, the format wasn’t the normal narrative type like in usual movies. This was closer to the style of The Blairwitch Project and Cloverfield (probably better, but then again, I haven’t seen either of those films so I really wouldn’t know). It’s like a documentary, containing interviews and analyses of “experts” in the field such as professors and scientists and close friends of the main character. It actually reminded me a little bit of the documentaries I don’t get tired of watching in The Biography Channel. But unlike the other ones that attempt this (e.g. Without Warning, this one’s about a meteor about to hit the Earth, though), this was done so realistically, it even reminded me of the 9/11 news reports, which seemed to be closer to fiction, when I first watched it. The text narration at the end was a nice touch.

Wikus and Alien Ship

One of the complaints I’ve been hearing (aside from the obvious — that it’s boring and that it’s strange, but I’m not really expecting the majority of movie goers to like this, in the same way that I didn’t expect them to get the point of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and feel sorry for them that they walked out of Before Sunset because they were too preoccupied with thinking about ‘what’s going to happen’ that they failed to understand the meaning of the conversations the characters had, but this is really a different issue), is that the movie is too violent.

I guess. But when you think about how a lot of people liked Kill Bill, it really makes you wonder what people consider as violent. FYI, I didn’t like Kill Bill at all. (And I will save my opinion on that for a different entry.) But regarding the issue on the violence in this movie, I think that it’s really all just a matter of context, i.e. If you use “human standards” and have the same activities the aliens did in this movie, to be done by fellow humans, then it would be really disturbing and disgusting. But the mere fact that the violence here involved aliens, who have a different anatomy, and different behavior, and even different-colored blood (so basically, different everything), then even when they tear off a person’s body one limb at a time, you don’t really feel like it’s barbaric. To me, it’s as scientific as a lion tearing off an antelope’s leg and eating it, which, admittedly is not a pretty sight, but I doubt anyone will call the lion “cruel” because that’s how it naturally is. (Just a small anecdote: A zookeeper told this story, that once while she was telling a group of kids about monkeys in the zoo, one of the monkeys in the area caught a bird, and then twisted off its head and ate it. The kids cried, but can you really blame the monkey for doing that?)

Anyway, like I said, I don’t think that whatever I say will convince anyone who’s not into these kinds of movies, that this is a good one. Hence, why I think it’s “restricted”. Especially if you’re the kind of person who judges a movie by its first few minutes, because you fall asleep if it starts out “boring” (And I do mean those people who walked out of the cinema while watching Before Sunset), then I doubt you’ll like this, and may even want your money back after watching it. But for those of you who are curious to see if it’s something different that will make you think, but entertain you at the same time, then the answer is  a big fat YES.

Peter Jackson for the win! I haven’t seen a movie of his that I didn’t like. Although he’s actually just the producer for this one, but still, even something that’s just produced by him is way way better than anything directed (or touched) by Michael Bay. Haha!


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