Sunday, August 16, 2009

District 9 Vodcast Review

Didn't really mean to double up on vodcasting (vidcasting?) today but that's the way it shook out. Speaking of shaking things up....

District 9. And I don't just mean shaky-cam, though there's plenty of that. Films with no stars (unless you count producer Peter Jackson?) aren't really supposed to make the cover of Entertainment Weekly or win the box office (TBD) or be all the buzz rage. But I've now had two conversations with strangers in the past 48 hours about it. First, at a restaurant with the business men eating next to me and second, just now, as I ran into a friend with his friends who were on their way to it.

Everyone keeps asking "is it as good as they say?". I take it that the mythical "they" now means social media rather than critics. Or maybe it means "movie marketing department"? Though the movie is dangerously overhyped already, it's good. Katey liked it more than I but we both recommend. Minor spoilers ahead, though the big central twist is kind of given away in the trailer and in stills ... at least visually.

19 comments:

Karen said...

I liked D-9 too. Nice video chat!

Daniel Armour said...

Having dosed off during a good portion of this, I can't honestly give a complete opinion of it. What I did see of it, however, didn't wow me. I give the filmmakers credit for making the film look good on such a small budget and the lead actor was quite good. Still, I never really felt invested in what was going on and the pacing dragged after a certain point (thus why I fell asleep). In fact, seeing you two talk about the film was more interesting than the film itself.

Ian said...

Best film of 2009 so far for me. I hope the Oscars get over their sci-fi bias BS and acknowledge this film accordingly. Sharlto Copley is a rock star.

OleNelson said...

So do you think that District 9 has any chance at a Visual Effects Oscar nomination? It's not even listed as a possibility on your Predictions page right now. And the effects might not be flashy enough (particularly in a year that seems to have a lot of possibilities in this category).

But if the box office ends up high, it COULD happen. Right?

Joe Reid said...

I actually thought the big central twist wasn't given away in the marketing. At least not that I saw. And I wasn't making a particular effort to avoid getting spoiled. I very much liked it -- this is the kind of fun action movies we SHOULD be getting all summer.

Glendon said...

I pretty much agree with everything said, although I didn't think anything was wrong with the ending.

NATHANIEL R said...

OleNelson -- yes, for sure. I need to update my charts. It does seem like the Academy prefers more cgi-looking cgi but we'll see.

Jake Mooney said...

Arrgh! I can't "pump up the volume" on this office computer....

Do either of you talk about how incredible the lead actor was? The lead actor who isn't even an actor, whose name I can't recall?

Little things really made this for me. The anglicized name of the lead alien: Christopher Johnson, the assorted 80s sci-fi references (said Mr. Johnson's Thriller jacket being my fav.)

I loved it. It made that other sci-fi robo-action movie look quaint. I like the idea of the indy-blockbuster, that summer movie producers sometimes understand that "epic" isn't a genre choice, it's a statement of quality. And making a film beyond a certain length and for more than a certain million dollars does not automatically win you the term Epic.

The character arc of this movie's lead actor is epic. The whole thing, from mannerisms to psychology to the Kafkaesque transformation.

District 9: Jake Like Film Good.

verninino said...

For me it felt like it attached a lot of other films (Cloverfield, Black Hawk Down, Starship Troopers, Enemy Mine) without making an effort to smoothly integrating them. So it's less than the sum of it's parts.

The FX, however, we're spectacularly natural.

Watching it I thought the Wikus character of the first two acts was too much of a caricature and that his maudlin redemption in the third was too predictable. But Katey's contention that early on he's playing it up for the corporate camera's has softened me on this view. So thanks for that Katey.

When I got home I re-watched Children of Men (my favorite sci-fi of the past decade) and I think District 9 could have been at least as good if they had vested its main characters with better screenwriters. It felt like it was trying to make a moving social commentary with screwball action cut-outs. Bruce Willis as Hamlet.

Great vidcast, I'm getting hooked!

Now that Julia is in wide release (on DVD), please do one on that. Or are you reserving them for only theatrical releases?

Rick the Reader said...

Thoroughly enjoyed District 9. I thought it was even better than the reviews I'd read. I was really impressed with Sharlto Copley.

Katey said...

Jake, yes, we talk about Sharlto Copley-- I was a bigger fan than Nathaniel was, but we both agreed that his work in the last third of the film is pretty tremendous.

Daniel, for a second I thought you'd said you dozed off during the vodcast. I'm sorry you fell asleep during District 9, but glad we could hold your attention!

NATHANIEL R said...

next time we'll have to talk even louder. I feel like we're screaming already!

Seeing_I said...

No, it's not as good as they say. While it starts out with a crackerjack science fiction / social satire premise, it devolves halfway through (after Wikus escapes) into a standard action movie, complete with big-eyed alien child and a host of illogical leaps and unanswered questions.

Chris Na Taraja said...

Nat, Have you 2 thought about shopping your show around the cable channels. We really haven't had a good film critic show since Siskel and Ebert. And you 2 are so cute together

NATHANIEL R said...

chris -- you're sweet but our popularity is not such to inspire investors ;)

Sean Weatherby said...

D-9 definitely has a lot going for it -- character development, great acting a at least a few people, awesome alien weapons; it felt a bit preachy at times at different times though

dork said...

The film was a great disappointment.
I expected a lot but it only turned out to be an irritating camera-shaking videogame. The plot-line was ridiculous and had great holes.
The biggest crap in 2009!!!

It’s time writers should read more traditional literature to create strong storylines. Not silly, mindless violent cinematic video-games.

FilmGurl42 said...

It's about time I got excited about a modern film as I did for this one! I loved D-9. Still cannot believe it was made for $30mil!

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