Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

The 11

with 3 comments

Reverse Shot’s 11 Offenses of 2009. (500) Days of Summer and District 9 both make appearances. Via Dan H.

Even if we buy this conceit (derived from The Outer Limits’ episode “The Architects of Fear”), Blomkamp’s usage of brutal, menacing Nigerian gang bangers as secondary villains—gun-runners who antagonize both the country’s “Prawn” population and bumbling Afrikaner pencil pusher turned alien mutant Wikus van der Mewe (Sharto Copley)—suggests he’s not above the propagation of stereotypes. And it would be easier to take Wikus’s symbolically loaded transformation into the Other (which begins when he’s accidentally sprayed by some bug fluid during a ghetto raid) seriously if it wasn’t ultimately a pretense for his being able to operate the aliens’ biochemical weaponry—a development that allows District 9 to abandon its thin veneer of social commentary (and erratically deployed faux-documentary textures) to become the live-action Halo shoot-em-up its creator wanted to make all along.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 8, 2010 at 10:55 am

3 Responses

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  1. Link’s broken.

    Christ, I Need A Drink

    January 8, 2010 at 5:52 pm

  2. Oops, fixed!

    gerrycanavan

    January 8, 2010 at 6:44 pm

  3. I may be wrong (only seen it once), but although it has its problems, I do think District 9 deserves more credit than it gets in this backlash-inflected rant. Sure, Wikus’s transformation/mutation makes him able to fire big guns, but it’s more than a bit reductive to state that it’s *only* a pretense for the one plot element that plugs the film into the action genre and thereby broadens its appeal tenfold. The final image of Wikus stuck in the slum eating dog food with the rest of the disenfranchised is pretty potent stuff. AVATAR seems to me by far the worse offender.

    Dan

    January 9, 2010 at 6:47 am


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