movie film review | chris tookey

District 9

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  District 9 Review
Tookey's Rating
9 /10
Average Rating
7.21 /10
Sharlto Copley , Jason Cope, Nathalie Boltt
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Directed by: Neill Blomkamp
Written by: Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell

Released: 2009
Origin: South Africa/ New Zealand
Colour: C
Length: 112

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Fools will accept District 9 for fantasy, yet its use of parable and symbolism also evoke the almost total misunderstanding that surrounds the circumstance of racial confusion and frustration recently seen when Harvard University tycoon Henry Louis Gates Jr. played the race card against a white Cambridge cop. Opening so soon after that event ó and adding to its unending media distortion óDistrict 9 confirms that few media makers know how to perceive history, race and class relations.
(Armond White, New York Press)
A sprawling, derivative entertainment. It's mainly a compost of other sci-fi movies, as old as RoboCop, Aliens and The Fly and as recent as Cloverfield and Transformers. It's a bad joke that District 9 will be hailed for its "originality." The movie's main fun comes from wondering what coin of the pop realm Blomkamp will pluck out from his memory bank next.
(Michael Sragow, Baltimore Sun)
As an allegory of racial conflict and mass immigration, District 9 never really goes anywhere: The appealing premise fades into the background before 20 minutes have elapsed.
(Daniel Engber, Slate)
Unfortunately, as in many such big-screen comic books, the backstory beats the hell out of the present-tense plot.
(J.R. Jones, Chicago Reader)
Fans of unrestrained bloody action will find plenty to rouse their spirits, particularly in the gung-ho second hour, but the movie falls into the same uneasy category as Eight Legged Freaks: too tongue-in-cheek to be thrilling, not funny enough to be a comedy.
(Kyle Smith, New York Post)
Relentlessly clunky and grating in the extreme, District 9 takes its cue from Cloverfield's contrived artsy vertigo to situate the futuristic tall tale combining premeditated pseudo-disorganized camera and surveillance video footage, as supposedly hyper-real journalistic racial profiling panic in the here and now... Rarely have such raucous, hyperactive high alert proceedings in a movie managed to be so relentlessly dull. And while Merwe resists coming to terms with his inner alien but eventually gets turned on to his newfound notoriety wilding with the enemy, but in no way having creature sex with them as the tabloids have been charging, the oppressed metal-screeching monsters become simply oppressive. Pass the earplugs.
(Prairie Miller, Newsblaze)
In many ways, District 9 represents precisely what is wrong with all the torture-porn and pointless SFX garbage that gets shoveled at horror and sci-fi fans these days. Back in the day, directors knew how to ride the knife edge between tension, believability and action. Now, all they do spray as much blood as they can across the silver screen before signing their names across the bottom like some kind of obscene, stylistic finger-painting.
(Mr Cranky)
The violence is gratuitous and ever present throughout. The alien weaponry used in the film literally causes menís heads and bodies to explode in most every scene in the latter half of the film, and there are multiple other gratuitous scenes of men being operated on and others of humans eating parts of aliens and cutting them up... Thereís little, however, that is actually established to care about in the film, and, ultimately, the blender method used to combine real world stories and scenarios of grief and regret with computer animated aliens just doesnít quite hit the emotional nerve I believe the filmmakers were seeking. Itís never quite a story of hope, nor is it an action sci-fi thriller. Itís not quite a documentary, nor is it a drama. With a soundtrack ripped straight from the Ridley Scott iTunes library play list, District-9ís biggest secret is that no one can really figure out what it truly is, or why they should care in the first place.
(Ethan Samuel Rodgers, Christian Spotlight on the Movies)
Finally, I felt the movieís satirical status was a little too easily assumed: basically iyís a third-person-shooter-game-cum-action-fantasy, and there are also some pretty heavy-handed plot inventions intended to breed sequels.
(Peter Bradshaw, Guardian)

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