This movie was a real challenge to watch. If you want any evidence of that, let me throw out that I saw it a week ago, and am just now getting a review up. And that’s really because I just couldn’t decide how I felt about it. I had a lot of conflicting feelings about it – was it brilliant? Did I hate it? Who would enjoy this? I joked to a friend last night that I should just come up with a list of pros and cons. Why not? Here’s my list:
- A really creative concept – the idea of aliens not coming down to take over the world, and instead being a crazed group of “mindless drones” is definitely unique in the alien invasion genre.
- A new location – usually these alien movies are in the same places – New York or maybe DC. But Johannesburg? Great idea.
- A cast of unknowns – there’s not a soul in this movie you will have heard of before. The lead is an animator/director that happens to be friends with the director of this film.
- A compelling message – we purport in this world that racism is unacceptable, but what happens when humanity pulls together and discriminates against an alien race?
- Great action – when the action sequences get going, particularly in the latter half of the movie, it does get exciting.
- Ultra-violent – I’m used to violence in movies, but this one has a level of gore that was sickening. (The horror movies in the previews didn’t help matters much for me.)
- Disturbing premise – although I think the overall concept is creative, it was hard to take that the humans could be so insensitive and so cruel. Couldn’t we see just a little bit of people who believed in the idea of aliens’ rights? The closest we got was a couple protesters with signs in one scene.
- Predictable – even though it’s a unique movie, it started to get to a point where you felt it was heading to only one possible conclusion.
- Hollywood ending (sort of) – speaking of the conclusion, it was at least partially the sunshine happy ending we come to expect.
So who will like this movie? Well – I think if you can handle the violence and you take it all with a grain of salt, this would be worth seeing on the big screen. But for me, it was hard to watch, and I certainly don’t need to see it again. My rating for District 9 is a C+, but for those with stronger stomachs this could easily be a B.