Let me start this review out with a bit of history (because that’s the best way to start any review out, right?) Way back when, I read this book called Battlefield Earth. I thought it was awesome. It took a sci-fi trope and then cubed it. Halfway through, just when you think “Well, they’ve pretty much solved everything there is to solve,” the scope of the book just broadens, and you see all sorts of additional implications to what’s been happening. But the part I liked most about the book was that it was logical. Humans way in the future fight back against an alien race, and they have to do it with whatever they have available. They come across a cache of “old” weapons (jet fighters, machine guns, etc.) But they can’t use them, because they don’t know how, and the materials have degraded. No standard Hollywood tricks were used to get around problems (which is why I had such a big issue with the movie, where every Hollywood trick was used–and some were invented–to cheapen the story.)
Fast forward a while into the future. A few years ago, Peter Jackson made big news by saying he was going to produce an adaptation of the video game Halo. And bigger news by saying he’d picked an unknown to direct it: Neill Blomkamp. Then the deal soured, and it all fell apart. Jackson, being the King of Awesome that he is, went back to Blomkamp and basically said, “Here’s $30 million. Make a good movie.” And so Blomkamp did.
District 9 makes sense. It’s a fantastic movie, but it’s one that I don’t want to really give much away of. You need to see it with fresh eyes. But I don’t think it’s spoiling anything to say that it’s superbly plotted. There are no Hollywood tricks to solve problems. The bad guys aren’t stupid, and the good guys are geniuses. They’re all just people, and they do what people do: surprise you. I had no idea what was going to happen next at any point in the film. I completely loved it. Strong four stars.
However, I also feel the need to strongly caution people before they watch it. This is a brutal film. It’s not just violent–it’s hyper violent. And bloody. And very uncomfortable in many many parts. If you can’t stomach blood and guts, then you don’t want to see this film. Which is too bad, because it’s by far the best film I’ve seen this year. It’s the sort of movie that makes you proud of the Sci-Fi genre. So see it–but don’t say I didn’t warn you.