For many, many reasons, this is the best movie of summer.
By Chauncey Telese
Originality is a word that is not welcome in the summer movie season. Studios only use it to describe how their comic book, TV show, or novel adaptations are brought to the screen. In fact, the only real time an original movie comes out in summer time is when it’s made by Pixar. Hollywood rarely takes a chance during the summer because there is so much blockbuster competition that each movie has one week to make a boat load of money.
However, sometimes originality does manage to creep into the summer season, though this is a rare occurrence. Rarer then an MLB player not on steroids, rarer then an episode of “True Blood” where no one is naked, and it is even rarer then a taxicab with a license plate reading “fresh” with dice in the mirror.
“District 9″ is that movie. It only cost a mere $30 million to make, it has no stars in it, and defies every conventional idea in Hollywood.
The film starts off as a documentary (though done way better than “Cloverfield”). Through the documentary we learn that 28 years ago an alien spacecraft became stranded over Johannesburg South Africa. The aliens inside were taken to a refugee camp later called “District 9″. The citizens of Johannesburg did not like the idea because it wasted tax dollars and because the aliens, crudely referred to as “prawns,” were causing trouble.
Inside the slum-like settlement the prawns scrounge around for food (they’re favorite being cat food) and they are constantly being bullied by a Nigerian drug lord who makes them sell their weapons for food (humans can’t fire their weapons its DNA encoded).
Shortly after, we are introduced to Wikus (played by newcomer Shartlo Copley), a bureaucrat who works for the MNU (Multi-National United), a private corporation in charge of containing the prawns. Wikus is a bumbling agent with little understanding of the prawns, that is until he is hit with a black fluid and his life changes. He learns that his company has been doing terrible things to the prawns, and he bonds with a prawn and his son as they need each other to survive. I won’t spoil anything else for you as that would be cruel, just know that you are in for a wild ride.
First time director Neil Blomkamp based this film on his experiences growing up in Johannesburg and witnessing the atrocities committed by the white minority rule. That notion is a throwback to all of the SciFi movies that dazzled but also provided a powerful message. Don’t worry though; this movie still contains a ton of violence and pulse pounding action.
I can’t say enough positive things about this film. Just go see it…now.
As I said this movie is full of violence so don’t bring the kids. For the ladies, there is “The Time Traveler’s Wife” with Eric Bana and Rachel MacAdams. If you’re looking for an adult comedy, check out “The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard” starring Jeremy Piven.
Stay tuned as I go into the Nazi killing business with Brad Pitt and the rest of the “Inglorious Basterds” (note for the sharp of eye: that’s how the movie is spelled).