I went a very long time without watching District 9. I was lucky enough to not be spoiled by the film’s plot during that time. When I finally watched the film, I was genuinely surprised at the direction the film went. I am a bit saddened that I saw Avatar before District 9 because both films have a lot of the same plot points. I do think District 9 was stronger than Avatar, but I believe if I had watched District 9 before Avatar, I would have enjoyed it even more.
District 9 is an adaptation of the short film Alive In Joburg. The feature film is in a documentary style and set in 2010. The film opens with humans talking about how an alien ship suddenly appeared over Johannesburg, South Africa back in 1982. The alien ship just sat idle for an extended period of time until the humans sent a team to investigate. They found the aliens in a weak state. The humans removed all the aliens from the ship and brought them down to the city below. The aliens were suppose to live among the humans in Johannesburg, but very quickly, racial conflicts arose. The aliens were forced into a government controlled camp called District 9. The documentary style continues with the human interviewees talking how the aliens are now going to be removed from District 9 and forced into a new camp. An under prepared human, played by Sharlto Copley, was put in charge of the team that would move the aliens.
After a few scenes of the team trying to force the aliens to move, something goes wrong unexpectedly. This is when the film has a dramatic shift in its story and its tone. Before, the film was a documentary with talking heads and now it becomes a hand held action drama with Sharlto Copley character trying to fix the mistake he made. I did enjoy the direction the film went, but it was unexpected, and not what I assumed the film would be about. I believe I would have enjoyed the film even more if it were all in the documentary style and a story that would have fit that style.
This film is far from the normal action packed alien Sci-fi movie. The main theme of District 9 was xenophobia. The entire film was a metaphor for the Aparthid in South Africa. I would put District 9 in the middle of my list of favorite films out of the 10 Best Picture Nominees Of 2009. The production of the film had a very low budget but still managed to produce amazing visuals. I am, once again, saddened that Avatar’s revolutionary visuals and technique overshadows District 9, especially since District 9 used a fraction of the budget that Avatar did.
District 9 was directed by Neill Blomkamp and produced by Peter Jackson. The two were originally teaming up to create a Halo movie, but they created District 9 instead. I am very happy this deeper and more thoughtful film was created instead of a weaker, geared towards frat boys, video game movie.
Avatar is a film that only a few people might have heard of. It has gone under the radar for far too long. Everyone must know that Avatar is easily the greatest film of all time, if not greatest thing of all time.
In all seriousness, James Cameron’s Avatar is just another mediocre blockbuster movie that is now the highest grossing film of all time.
The story of Avatar deals with humans invading the planet Pandora for its resources but the native humanoid alien race, The Na’vi, are unhappy with the humans. The humans created a handful Na’vis that they can control with their minds and inhabit the body of with the help of machines. One human in his Na’vi avatar body goes rouge and gets involved with the native Na’vi culture. He struggles with being a human in a Na’vi body as the struggles between the humans and the native Na’vi worsen.
The story conflict of Avatar is simple, Man VS Animal. You may try to find a more complex conflict of it being Man, with the motivation of Greed and with the help of Machines VS Animal, with the motivation of Faith and with the help of Nature. However, Avatar’s basic story helped it become so successful. It is so generic that the story could be a metaphor for many different real world conflicts from the past and present and from round the world. This is appealing and relatable to many people and cultures around the world.
I did enjoy Avatar and had more fun during the viewing of it than many of the other 10 best picture nominees of 2009. But that is the problem with Avatar, it was just a movie experience that was made for you to have fun while watching it. Once the last frame of Avatar is shown, the experience is finished and you do not think about the movie itself again. You might think about the amazing visuals, but not about the story or the characters or about the film as a whole. All the other best picture nominees are long lasting deep films and have made me think about the story and characters weeks later. Many of them were depressing with characters struggling through real world situations. Since the others nominees were depressing, that is the only reason why I can say I had more fun viewing Avatar but it did not make me think or care about the film like the other depressing films did. The only thing Avatar has going for itself is the visual 3D roller coaster ride for your eyes. The visuals might be amazing, but that does not make a good movie. The music was just as bad as the visuals were good. The story and characters were undeveloped and there was too much Papyrus.
Avatar is a movie made to be a movie. It will be nothing more than just a movie. It is an experience meant to be had in theaters with 3D glasses on, like I did with my friend Michelle Fischer. I would recommend anyone to experience Avatar this way, but I could not recommend Avatar as a simple home viewing. Because of that, Avatar fails at being something more and is just a simple short term experience.