Yadda of course at 11:25AM I was in the theater waiting for an 11:50AM matinee of this flick. I got my favorite seat. First row of the second tier with no seats in front of me. Only a handrail (aka foot-rail). As the theater started to fill up I had concerns someone was going to sit next to me so I put up the hoodie up of my sweatshirt (yeah sweatshirt. although it's hot outside sometimes that theater gets a/c freezing so I bring a sweatshirt. sort of an old man move I admit-- but whatever, freeze away freezyboy!) I also took the strings of the hoodie and stuffed them in my mouth. Chewed on the ends all crazy style. A look that is just 'touched' enough with weirdo to deter someone from sitting with me. Nobody wanted to sit next to a unibombery dude chewing on hoodie strings. In crocs no less. The look worked. People stayed away.
District 9 was the final summer movie I was totally psyched for (although I'm totally up for Inglorious Basterds I get the feeling that flick is probably half-bullshit ever since I saw Hitler himself in the trailer. Seemed slightly desperate but who knows. I prefer my Hitler left out of my nazi movies unless my nazi movie is about Hitler, krau-peesh? But I'll still be there first day guaranteed.)
Anyway, when this flick started up I was practically bouncing in my seat. I was locked eyed and loaded for some overdue hardball evil-V alien lurkers. But within a few minutes my bouncing slowed and eventually stopped altogether. I sat still. Swirls of concern swam around my head like I was wearing a fishbowl helmet. I was stunned to hear what my brain was screaming at me 'Oh no... oh...no no... This is awful!!' The heavy handed political news clips were junky. Plus, (cough) the aliens are crazy for cat food? Straight from the can? Really? And the initial mission was to get each individual alien to actually sign a legal document? Seriously?! And once they tapped out on the shaky cam documentary style and switched to standard movie style it was a straight up wonky transition that didn't work. (not spoilers)
I was definitely bummed out. The human/alien interaction seemed 100% wacked and unrealistic. The aliens had annoying dialogue problems and were too reactive on a slummy human level. The communication back and forth was like a bad Ferengi conversation. I shifted gears in my head to make technical adjustments to my expectations. I lowered the bar, clicked off some switches-- and grew worried that this was gonna be an absolute wipeout.
But after 15 minutes, I found myself starting to bounce in my seat again. The movie was fighting back. Insisted on acceptance. I realized I had fully absorbed the wayward logic of the setup-- and starting digging the situation as it played. And instead of racing around in my head with a butterfly net looking to snag issues-- I simply let stuff flutter around. Then things got interesting. And weird. And it started getting exciting. The action kicked ass. And at times my bounce fully recovered back to full excitement. Sometimes I even did a jaunty side to side bounce bop on a particularly red goo-ed moment. (Sometimes I admit I'd kept bouncing just to stay distracted enough to not pick at this thing.)
On the lighter side, I didn't really care about the 'political' statement. I didn't read into what this movie said about the human condition. I didn't try and analyze what would really happen if this was a real situation. Simply because this movie isn't all that deep. It's dopey-- disguised as smart. Fine with me though. Because the real puh-pow weaponry came out at just the right time. And the main chase got going before the thing drifted sideways and crashed into a dock. From start to finish this movie was in a constant state of saving itself. It stuck to its guns and refused to lose. Above everything else I appreciated that this flick was ballsy (both story and action) and often bumped up on being friggin loony toons. And as I walked home in a daze, piecing together my judgment over this thing-- there was one outstanding thought that I couldn't deny-- I'd never seen anything like it.
Three Good Things About this Movie
- Those. Guns. Rocked.
- The lead guy who is onscreen like 80% of the time never got tired.
- It's funny enough to almost qualify as a comedy. (not that it always was trying to be funny)
Three Bad Things About this Movie
- Logic problems weighted down the wings.
- The marketing campaign was sort of misleading...
- When push came to shove I would have preferred this in America.
All in all, this movie did come through and pulled out of a very bumpy takeoff. Sure, the aliens never really made it past 'fake looking' for me. Sure, I wondered what kept the big ship in the air. Sure, I could have done without the little kid alien. Sure, it lacked in bad guys to hate on a deeper level. Sure, I wondered about the Nigerians in general. And yeah, this flick practically begged for a sequel at a near pathetic level. But I hope that sequel does come. Because through sheer force of will-- this flick earned its keep.