Archive for the ‘Science Fiction’ Category

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District 9: Political and Pure Awesomeness

August 17, 2009

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When I saw the trailer for District 9 I was immediately taken by the concept of a Peter Jackson-produced tale in which aliens and humans coexist.  Even more surprising was the fact that a major sci-fi flick would take place not in America but rather the birthplace of civilization.  Pretty freaking cool, indeed.  Lest I give away too much of the film (which is hard because I’m so juiced about what I witnessed in the frenzied theatre full of Trekkies no doubt) let it be known that this is a movie about apartheid, bigotry, and intolerance under the guise of marvelous visual effects and creepy characters.   And as my friend Dan just put it so eloquently, apparently an alien film is the only way the people can talk about racism comfortably.  Thanks Dan.  By the way, check out his blog on sports, hip hop, and beards- yes, as in facial hair at www.fearthebeard.org.

So here we are in a peculiar time in political history where aliens land in South Africa not to take over the world but just because by some strange happenstance they arrive without rhyme or reason.  After being forced into District 9, a ghetto where drug abuse, prostitution, gun-running, and violence inevitably abound; the government-controlled powers that be decide to move the aliens (derogatorily referred to as Prawns) even further away from the city into another slum…not without first exploiting their weaponry of course.  Nice.  Picked to head the relocation is Wikus Van De Merwe (Sharlto Copely) who as the film progresses, transforms from a prejudiced government lackey into a tolerant and sympathetic advocate.

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District 9 is engrossing, clever, and peppered with humor- whereas cat food of all things is like crack to the Prawns.  In the August 14th edition of Entertainment Weekly D9’s director, Neil Blomkamp, a South African gent, observes “it was not (his) intention to make a film about apartheid” but rather to portray the realism of something that could possibly happen.  It is difficult however not to draw parallels between an imaginary film and the political hot topics of today.  People fear what they do not understand and will rush to town hall meetings to scream about socialism if given the chance and camera time.  I’m just saying.  Obama is not saying anything he didn’t say during his campaign, but I digress…

So for it’s political relevance and propensity to spark debates about the bastardization of a culture of any sort District 9 gets tres Siggys.  Go see it and confront that ubiquitous elephant in the room patiently awaiting a discussion.

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