Comic-Con: Andy's Thoughts on Neill Blomkamp's District 9

July 27, 2009

District 9

Last week during Comic-Con, we were invited to a special screening of District 9. As I was sitting in the theater waiting for the film to start, a slow roar of applause began to echo throughout the theater. Peter Jackson himself, along with Neill Blomkamp and Sharlto Copley (the star of the film) had arrived to inform us that this was the very first screening of District 9, and to remind us how thrilled they were for us to be there watching it. I was very excited, to say the least, and now I want to let you know what I thought. We were asked by Peter Jackson himself to keep a lot of the details under wraps, so this will be spoiler free!

District 9 is a story about an alien ship that crash-landed in South Africa in the 1980's. There was some kind of a malfunction in the ship itself, forcing the alien residents within to stay here on earth at a refugee camp located directly below the ship itself. This area is known to the world as "District 9." As seen in the trailers, this area is essentially a shantytown. The homes the aliens live in are nothing more than tin shacks, and it's clear that they are not very welcome here on earth. Twenty years pass, and now the aliens must be moved to a new location following a series of events (which you will see soon in the movie, no spoilers here!)

This movie has a Cloverfield-esque feel at times, as well as a documentary vibe. It's tough to explain, so just take my word for it - it's done incredibly well. The way this film is shot by Blomkamp is so impressive for a first-time director; he will undoubtedly be a big filmmaker for many years to come. It is beauty in simplicity and the focused cast and crew make District 9 the must see film this August. Copley isn't an accomplished actor by any means, as this is his first film as well. However, he makes you feel connected with the character on a level that you wouldn't expect for this type of sci-fi film. The only gripe that I do have about D9 is its slow beginning. The first 30 minutes seem to progress slower than what many moviegoers may be used to. While this does not detract from the movie as a whole, it is a concern worth mentioning.

The best word I could use to describe this is simply "wow." The filmmakers did such a phenomenal job of maximizing what they were given. I can say with confidence that they've made the best $30 million sci-fi movie in a long time. Immediately you can recognize the time and effort that was put into this film, from the spaceship floating in the sky, to the weapons, to even the aliens themselves. I'm also very glad that this didn't have any high profile actors. Not only does it cut down on budget, but it also adds a sense of realism to the experience. All in all District 9 is a great film, with a great story, great cast, and great direction.

District 9 shows that Neill Blomkamp is a more than capable director to handle a big budget film, and I am excited to see what exactly he has in store for us in the future. You definitely don't want to miss this!

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  • dave13
    woot! first! and i'm glad to hear District 9 is as good as I think it will be! i can't wait!
  • Can't waaaaaaaaaaiiiiiit. I reckon it'll be mindblowing, the slow start won't put me off.
  • Dave Lister, JMC
    The comparison to Cloverfield does not instill me with any optimism; and the fact that a story, of this kind takes more than 30 minutes, to get going, consigns it to rental only status for me.
  • JimD
    Cant wait and personally I dug Cloverfield. 30 Minutes to what? That doesnt seem that long to me if they are building up the story to progress and explain what happened over the course of 20 years. "I'm also very glad that this didn't have any high profile actors. Not only does it cut down on budget, but it also adds a sense of realism to the experience." I agree with you on this completely.
  • This has been my most anticipated film for two years now. Cannot wait!
  • Ramone
    YAY!!! Me is being well happy now! Me life is seeming well complete it is...
  • 1001
    This film looks like on big 'meh'. I'd rather watch Alien Nation.
  • Andrius
    Dave go watch transformers if you cant appreciate a good story for 30 min........this movie looks great.
  • Cat
    Don't compare this to cloverfield. Cloverfield was crap compared to district 9.
  • Seijornec
    How was it shot? Handheld like Cloverfield?
  • Tra la la la la di da
    30 mins slow? That means there's a plot! They're not simple trying to wow viewers with action and stupid obscenities.
  • Trey
    I cant wait for this film!
  • filmfanII
    Cloverfield was brilliant film making. Alex always has to say something negative about everything. ( with the exception of any thing Seth Rogen is involved with).
  • "How was it shot? Handheld like Cloverfield?" Not fan of Cloverfield, but it wasn't shot with handheld as you think of - think of $115,000 handheld, and it's w/o the accessories....
  • Cat
    Cloverfield brilliant? LOL it sucked. I can think of 43,738 better movies off the top of my head.
  • Clover
    ....OK one. Have to agree with #13. Those who dismiss it never SAW it or do not understand film making what so ever.
  • Danjer047
    He may have made the best $30 million Sci-Fi film but Duncan Jones made the best $5 million Sci-Fi film!! Still, I can't wait to see this one and I couldn't be more excited for it!
  • dan
    hey #13.......cloverfield was "brilliant filmmaking"???!!!! no, it was awful and a BIG disappointment. i just hope the plot in district 9 is interesting.
  • Hari Seldon
    Personally, I find it encouraging to hear that the first 30 minutes are slow going; it means that the fans of Michael Bay will stay away in droves and let the grownups enjoy a sci fi movie with some substance. Dave, you go to the lobby and play Mario on your Nintendo DS for the first 30 minutes and we'll let you know when they start shooting.
  • David Banner
    "....the best $30 million sci-fi movie in a long time" $30million spent on a film shot in Africa and FX from NZ will take you a long way :) I have a really good feeling about this movie, expecting a great ride. Really bummed this issnt showing before close to halloween where I am :(
  • ImaginaryVisionary
    To be honest I'm not expecting much from this film. It just looks like it tosses too many unusual elements into one film, and we're a culture of conformity. This is going to be a tough sell to the general public, and the average viewer may not find much to take away from this film because they're simply looking for a mind numbing (as opposed to mind blowing) sci-fi film. With that said I'm personally very excited to see it because so far this summer I don't think I've seen one remarkably creative movie. This story sounds fresh and exciting with a lot of potential.
  • Cody
    Finally someone actually defending cloverfield besides me it was fucking brilliant whether you like to think so or not but to say it was 'trash' is just plain ignorant. What clover said you dont get film making and you probably druel over shit action movies and cant appreciate something new and fresh if you didnt like that. Also I wish I could somehow show people how many times ive caught ppl calling cloverfield shitty and you question them and they never even saw it...they jump on the lemming train cause they see 3 others thought it sucked too. Im really glad this is as good as I think its gonna be.....glad is an understatement. #18 plz enlighten me on how it was BIG dissappointment cause if you had been part of the viral obsessors before it came you out youd know it was exactly what the cult for the movie was expecting and more.
  • JimD
    I'll backup cloverfield as well. People who didnt like it misunderstood the genius in its technique to convey realism. It didnt feel artifcial as far as monster movies go. I loved it.
  • M
    I am excited for this movie. It seems different plus it is an original idea, which is a big plus for me. Can't wait to see it in August, as well as Lovely Bones trailer.
  • Mark
    I've become very excited for this in the past couple weeks. This and Avatar are my most anticipated for the rest of the year.
  • saf
    they should give him "HALO"...give him a chance to make halo happen...
  • Curtis G
    Was at the panel for this in Comic Con and I was blown away at what I saw. I makes me sad to think what the Halo movie could have been :(
  • And seems to be great also the trailer. Some robot also inside, isn't it?
  • Tim "Cloverfield"
    Clovefield was freaking Brilliant! END OF STORY! Kudos to 23 for stating the facts and good for you Cody. JJ's work will stand the test of time to be sure. All those who do not understand the film, or make the example of the tripe that was B. Witch simply did not see the film. D-9 looks "fresh" to me and how can you question the great Peter Jackson. Better yet.....HOW DARE YOU!
  • Xerxex
    #13, 23, 29 I gotta agree Cloverfield WAS BRILLIANT FILMMAKING!
  • Vus FromJoburg
    Hey yo'll. I was born and raised in the area the movie was shot. U guys don't understand the excitement i have for this movie. the sad thing is that there there is virtually no info anywhere about this movie. it has been so poorly marketed that its actually scary to think that might do badly here
  • Talltales
    Holy Shit! Xerxex does like it??!!!




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