District 9

I saw District 9 the other day, and it was…..odd.  More below the fold if you don’t mind reading some spoilers.

First things first: I basically liked the movie.  It didn’t rock my world or anything, and contra some critics, I didn’t think it made me grapple with deep and profound issues.  Still, it had a cool premise, decent execution, fast pacing, and yes, I’d definitely see the sequel.

But there was something so striking about the plot that it gnawed at me the entire time I was watching.  We’re told that a gigantic alien starship came to rest above Joburg 20 years ago, and ever since then a million aliens have been living in a nearby camp.  The aliens understand English and we understand their twittering clicks, so language is apparently not an issue.

And yet, the events of the movie make it clear that in all that time, we’ve learned virtually nothing about them.  What’s more, nobody seems to have even tried.  A bunch of aliens arrive in a 1000-acre FTL starship that breaks down over South Africa and….apparently it’s all a big yawn.  We just stick ’em in a camp, create a bumbling bureaucracy called MNU to keep order and send in cans of cat food, and then forget about them.

WTF?  This wouldn’t matter so much except that the entire plot relies on the fact that we know virtually nothing about the aliens.  Maybe I’m being a little anal about this, but this apparent lack of interest (aside from the evil genetic research group, of course) was so wildly unlikely that it really made it hard to suspend disbelief.  Screwing with the laws of physics is fine.  Screwing with basic aspects of human nature is not so fine.

That said, I’d still pay to see Christopher return and kick a little human ass.  That would be fun.


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