Starring Sharlto Copley
Directed by Neil Blomkamp
Rated R for bloody violence and pervasive language
Appropriate for ages 15+
Twenty years ago in Johannesburg, South Africa, a giant space ship parked itself above the city. After several months of not knowing why it was there, humans decided to cut their way in to see what was inside. What they found were a million malnourished alien drones without any form of central leadership. Without a home to go to, the government took it upon themselves to set up a refugee camp for the aliens directly below the ship. But over the last twenty years, their numbers have vastly increased, and so have the tensions with the human population. When Wikus Van De Merwe (Copley) is charged with peacefully evicting the massive population of dangerous aliens, he comes across a secret that will have a deep effect on both the human and alien races.
Original film making is so hard to find and this is truly one of the most original films in years. The movie looks like an incredibly expensive studio film, but in reality, it is a $30 million pseudo-independent pic, produced by none other than Peter Jackson. Regardless, the effects are truly eye-popping, with a world that actually looks like humans and insect-like aliens co-exist together. So just for the aesthetics alone, this is a stunning picture.
But the film is so much more than effects. The script toys with social issues like apartheid and morality, and then switches into full action modes seamlessly. What could have been a preachy sci-fi film only hits days after you’ve had time to reflect. After all, it’s hard to dwell on racism and social injustices too long when you are being so thoroughly entertained.
As for the acting, I find it hard to believe that this is Copley’s first feature film as he is remarkable throughout. I can’t imagine a A-lister that could have turned in a better performance in this role.
Likewise, this is writer/director Neil Blomkamp’s first feature as well, and he performs like a seasoned veteran. Hollywood could have butchered a movie like this had they gotten their hands on it, and we are truly fortunate as an audience to see his vision come to life here, untainted by outside hands.
My strongest desire is that this movie makes a killing at the box office. I hope that if films like District 9 and The Hangover succeed, that a strong message would be sent to the powers that be that there is an audience that wants smart, original material and will pay good money to see it. A