This weekend I saw the film District 9. It’s by far this summer’s most unexpected hit. While you could easily imagine Harry Potter and Transformers to draw big crowds, I’m not sure one could safely say the same of District 9.
I thought the movie was great. I liked the documentary style used to tell the story. While some can’t stomach the handheld nature of similar movies, it wasn’t noticeable at all to me at least in D9. For a movie which has aliens as the main hook or draw, D9 has an incredibly human story behind. I think that’s partly why it’s a good film, despite the aliens involved, anyone can be drawn into the human element of the story. Of course the aliens look great and there are some pretty cool effects splattered here and there.
If you’re from Vancouver, there’s quite a local connection to D9. Director Neill Blomkamp is a graduate of the Vancouver Film School and has lived in Vancouver for ten years. He moved here when his family relocated from South Africa when he was 18. It’s quite possible some of you have at least seen him downtown or around the city. With the success of this film, I believe he’ll probably move from Vancouver before long.
The other local connection is the visual effects house that produced the CGI aliens for the movie. Imagine Engine, located just a few blocks from Mountain Equipment Co-op was responsible for making the on-screen aliens look realistic throughout the film. Save for one scene, all the creatures were CGI.
If you liked D9, it’s interesting to note the film was based off a short that Blomkamp made just a few years ago. That short, entitled Alive in Joburg is what you see above. If look closely, you might even see a familiar face from D9.