Saturday, August 22, 2009

District 9 movie review and poll - best sci-fi ever?

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Last night I saw the incredible sci-fi movie "District 9" at the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland (and the line for it was out of the door and around the building). Without giving too much away (and that's a matter of opinion) for those who've not seen it, the movie produced by Peter Jackson (of Lord of The Rings and King Kong) and directed by Neil Blomkamp, concerns a giant alien spaceship that has parked itself over Johannesburg, South Africa.

Over the course of the last 28 years - over a generation - over one million aliens, called the derogatory name "Prawns", were placed in an area of the city called "District 9", and that zone became a giant slum.

Some say District 9 is the best science fiction movie of 2009 if not the best one ever made. That question will be the focus of my poll below, but let's focus on the movie more before we get to the survey.

The story concerns what happens to a common human (Wilkus Van De Merwe played by Sharito Copley) who works for a government organization that is directed to evict the aliens and move them to a new location said to be better than District 9 and called- in an obvious set up for a sequel - "District 10".

During the eviction process, Wilkus finds a harmless-looking metal vial that when he turns it sprays a "fluid" into his face that causes him to go through a gradual transformation from human to human / alien. That, and how the World reacts to his change, is the central story of the movie.

The movie has two incredible story archs, the first one is how Wilkus changes from kind but bumbling government worker to awakened activist for the aliens in the process of trying to find a "cure" for his problem. The other is how humans go from being the one's putting up with the weird and threatening habits of the aliens, to the ones who are actually being weird and threatening to the aliens. As we learn more about them in the movie, we find they are just like us: concerned with family and wanting to just go home.

What I love about this movie is it shows front and center man's inhumanity not only to man but to other life forms and throws it right in one's face. I came away with the idea that the United Nations needs to craft an international plan for alien visitor protocol just to make sure we don't allow the violation of alien life forms.

District 9 Best Picture?

Julian Scanton of Vanity Fair thinks District 9 is best picture material, and I have to agree with him, especially now that we will have ten movies to pick from at the 2010 Oscars. But is it the best science fiction movie ever?

That's a tall order of a question as their are so many to chose from. Here's one comprehensive "Top 10" list posted in Popular Mechanics in 2008:

10. 2001: A Space Odyssey
9. Short Circuit
8. Soylent Green
7. Blade Runner
6. The Running Man
5. Destination Moon
4. The Truman Show
3. The Road Warrior
2. Minority Report
1. Gattaca

Cick here for the poll results and to vote: POLL (or vote below)