Saturday, February 12, 2011

District 9: what is an "alien"?

When I first watched District 9 I was baffled by the bazaar nature of the film and confused for the first part because the director dropped us into the middle of the action without any exposition. It was an atypical opening to a movie, which was unexpected; however, I realized that this was a necessary aspect to the plot of the movie, and I think actually strengthened it. Without the documentary type opening with intense action, it would have been the typical alien, sci fi movie that questions our sense of reality, yet we can predict the ending.
In this case, the movie actually had a more meaningful plot that focused on the metaphor of a "alien". I thought it as interesting that District 9 discussed the idea of an "alien" in a foreign place and how humans treat them differently. This correlates well to the present day "aliens" or illegal immigrants in the US and the conflicts arising from the similar problem in Rwanda, for example. I think it is more interesting that the movie depicts the "aliens" as an actual alien form with futuristic characteristics. It was a way to indirectly deliver a message about human rights while taking on the cover of a sci fi movie. It was, in some ways, a movie that portrayed futuristic bigotry while making the viewer think about the impact of these very real current events that are happening around the world. Initially, I did not like that the director chose to criticize the faults of humans in somewhat of a degrading way; however, the impact of the message was actually stronger than that of the abundant documentaries seen on the news. It takes a new perspective on the issues at hand, which captures our attention, makes us think, and yet has a "happy ending."

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