Saturday, August 29, 2009

Some Additional Thoughts on District 9

I've been a little on the fence about the movie District 9, but nonetheless went to see it a second time earlier this week. The first time I'd seen it to make sure that it was fine for Aidan and Brennan, the second time with them. Yes, people and aliens blow up, language is used, but we make a habit of talking about what we watch and the decisions that are made; those boys are learning to use their critical faculties when watching movies or TV, which is damned important.

Some friends have expressed concern or even dismay about the film. Tobias Buckell had an interesting response that I used later to talk with the boys, and Nigerian-American author Nnedi Okorafor responded to a lot of problems she identified with the movie, especially the treatment of the Nigerians, which as you might be able to imagine was a subject somewhat close to her.

My take? Simply put, District 9 is not the astonishing and complex take on apartheid that many reviewers say it is, ("Jo'burg," Lisa? You've spent so much time there you can call it that?) and coming from a middle class white Canadian background, I can't very well speak to much of the background that leads to complaints from elsewhere about the director being a racist. But based on some concerns I've read (often in comment threads, and not necessarily in the two links I supply above) I can point out some of the things I did see:

All that said, I still enjoyed the film, although it isn't the highlight of the movie year. Not even the highlight of the SF movie year, which at the moment is Moon, with Avatar still to come.

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I saw it a couple days ago, and found it to be a much noisier version of the MOON story, far less prettily told. Then again, I am still hoping to grow up to be a true curmudgeon.
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