I can’t remember the last movie I saw in the theater. I think it was 27 Dresses with Sarah and the girls. That or it was Enchanted with Holly and her daughter and friends. So I was particularly keen when my friend Mette suggested we go catch a movie last night. District 9 opened in theaters here last night and was one of the better choices in the line-up.
No matter that we had just had a quick bite, we got popcorn & candy and coca cola. How could we not? In Asia (and this may be the case now in the States too) you can choose between caramel popcorn and salty. There is no oily butter to squirt all over the place, though. The ticketing process is pretty up-to-speed here too, where you choose your seats as you buy your tickets. I like this feature tremendously.
I really liked District 9. I liked the way it was filmed, I liked the concept and I liked that I’m thinking about it the next day, still. It’s good when a movie sticks with you. Granted, I’m not so fond of freaky movies like I am Legend. While I love Will Smith and thought he was amazing in that movie, I still have nightmares occasionally about those mutants. Freaky!
I liked that I sympathized with the aliens in the movie – that was the story’s intention. But I also have been thinking about the fact that we attach so many human qualities to aliens in films, it’s a little bothersome to me. I found a comment from the director:
“Unfortunately, they had to be human-esque because our psychology doesn’t allow us to really empathize with something unless it has a face and an anthropomorphic shape. Like if you see something that’s four-legged, you think it’s a dog; that’s just how we’re wired… If you make a film about an alien force, which is the oppressor or aggressor, and you don’t want to empathize with them, you can go to town. So creatively that’s what I wanted to do but story-wise, I just couldn’t.”
But I disagree. Why do their weapons have to be guns? Why, when they are angry, do they have to beat their fist on a wall? Why do they even have to eat food? (Admittedly, the cat food idea was amusing.) Why can’t they speak by just putting the words in our heads or get angry by turning purple or something? Why would our bullets kill them? Why wouldn’t their weapons be simply a noise which pierces our ears or a look which leaves us blind, or a touch which burns the skin? Why do they need weapons to kill us at all?
I don’t mind so much the aliens looking a bit like humans, two legs, two arms, eyeballs, whatever. But I do think that we can be more creative than to attach human behavior and human-esque technology to them. So this is part of what I have been thinking about since last evening. I’m not missing the point of the story or the themes or message…got it. But I’m left with a lot of questions about those damn aliens!!!
Anyway – it’s a good flick, well filmed and if you haven’t seen it, treat yourself! I forgot to mention that movies here are only 80,000VND. That’s just $4.50! Sweet! I may just have to go more often!