This is probably the billionth time you've read anything about the movie everyone is talking about this weekend. That movie is, of course, the mysterious District 9.
With little knowledge about what the movie is actually about (don't worry, no major spoilers here) the hype around it is pretty absurd. Premiering at Comic-Con was a smart move to get the ball rolling and to build anticipation, but even without the clever ad campaign District 9 holds its own as a smart and compelling film that is head and shoulders above most of this Summer's offerings.
Newcomer Neill Blomkamp has really hit off his career in the right direction with this movie, yet somehow manages to come off as a seasoned pro. By mixing in faux news-styled coverage of the events throughout the movie along with a heavy amount of human interaction with the aliens, District 9 plays out like a realistic documentary with action movie elements. The camerawork is punchy during the action and piercing in the drama, but it all meshes together into one seamless and unique style. Bruno could never pull this off.
While the technical side is fun to experience first hand, there lies a strong central story in the heart of District 9. I will say this: the film is a straight-forward alien movie. Things do get weirder than some may expect, but the amount of pure imagination poured into the film is noteworthy and the story is no exception. I cannot say much without providing spoilers, but I can say this without hesitation: the plot is ideal for Summer movie escapism and provides many memorable scenes.
District 9 has been flooded in praise, but that does not mean the movie is free of errors. One of the most noticeable problems is the sudden change of pace halfway through the movie. While the beginning is more of a drama, the latter half is filled to the brim with action. In a good move they try to disguise this shift with a small but fun twist, but alas the movie still suffers a bit.
Another issue with the film is the somewhat unclear message. While the first half creates some crystal clear comapirsons to the South African apartheid, the second half ends in a more Summer movie way--the purpose of the film is put aside for either the focus on characters or a 3 minute slow motion explosion. Luckily with District 9 it was the former and not the latter.
However District 9 still manages to rise past its issues to make a compelling moviegoing experience in a Summer season filled with more misses than hits. Imaginative, bold, and filled with frenetic action District 9 justifies the hype and is one of the most original movies of the year.
I can only offer one bit of advice: do not let the hype make you overexcited and do not go in there expecting one certain type of movie, otherwise you may be disappointed.
Clusterf*ck Score: A