Thursday, 10 September 2009

Quazkark Farklebrot

Back in July I banged on about District 9 like it was going to be the film that ended war, cured cancer and revoked Shia LaBeouf’s Equity card. Well, it isn’t quite all that, but it is very very good and you should see it as soon as you’ve read this, even if you’re a brain surgeon and you’re in the middle of operating on a patient. Although why you’re on the internet while fixing someone’s head jelly is a mystery. You should be struck off!

Anyway, this is how I described the plot in July and it hasn’t changed since then so I may as well just quote myself: “District 9 is a documentary-style sci-fi drama about aliens living in South Africa and being treated like slaves and third-class citizens by the people, the government and the multi-national corporation using the aliens’ technology for their own nefarious purposes, mwahaha. It’s basically an allegory about human rights and discrimination, but with massive spaceships.” There’s obviously more to it than that but I don’t want to be Johnny Spoilerfeatures so I won’t blab the rest.

Things that were great:

• There are no stars, just talent. Which means the film stands on its performances and writing, which fortunately are excellent.

• The special effects are seamless. All the aliens are CGI but they don’t scream “Look at me, I’m an expensive effect!” They’re just there, interacting with everything else in what I assume to be a realistic fashion if I knew what aliens living in a slum and wearing pink bras actually looks like.

• The central alien is called Christopher Johnson. He doesn’t look like a Christopher Johnson, he looks like a Quazkark Farklebrot, but the fact that he’s called Christopher Johnson is brilliant.

Things that were not so great:

• It starts off as a mock-documentary but then swerves into “conventional” movie story-telling mode, then keeps changing its mind and swinging back and forth between the two styles, which was a bit distracting to be honest. Must try harder. Cloverfield did it better.

• It goes on a bit and gets a bit silly. But then it’s got aliens in pink bras so I’m not sure if “a bit silly” is a valid criticism.

Anyway District 9 is better than Mesrine: Killer Instinct but not as good as Star Trek, so it slithers in at Number 3 in this year’s Top 5 Films as decreed by The Incredible Suit.

If you’ve watched the trailers a bazillion times but aren’t about to rush out of the door to see the film because you’ve got your hand inside someone’s noggin, you may want to watch director Neill Blomkamp’s short film Alive In Joburg, on which District 9 is based. It’s not as good, obviously, but what do you expect? You guys are so demanding sometimes.

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