I saw and enjoyed District 9 on Sunday evening and have been struggling ever since to decide exactly what I really think about it. Now I think I’ve decided that what it really shows is how hollow and crappy so many of our summer blockbusters have become.
One is tempted to complain that the political and social commentary offered by the film is a bit tired and not really all that insightful. But then you fall back on the question of why, exactly, I was expecting a movie that starts with aliens and ends with a big shootout to offer really novel social and political commentary. And I guess it’s because these days when you start watching a high concept movie that’s not utterly witless and boring you think you must have stumbled into an incredibly ambitious art house project. But maybe someone just wanted to make a well-done action/suspense movie about aliens. It’s not unheard of, after all. We’ve got Alien. We’ve got Aliens. Why shouldn’t we have District 9, a fun a summer movie that happens to involve a story that’s actually interesting, actors who have some chops, and characters who are sketched out with a bit of depth? How about a screenplay that understands how to avoid clunky exposition? Wouldn’t that be nice?
And, yeah, turns out it is nice! Very nice. I actually want to go see the sequel.