It has been a crazy couple of weeks and writing has not come easily so I just threw together these short reviews of GI Joe, Julie and Julia, Away we Go, and Aliens in the Attic as well as a complete review on District 9.
Aliens in the Attic
After an hour of dimwitted dialogue, the alien planet the antagonists hail from becomes a viable option to escape the mind-numbing effects of this movie.
Away We Go
A surprisingly mature look at love, relationships, successes and changes in life with poignant acting that leaves the audience completely satisfied.
Julie and Julia
A sort of sweet movie, that is sort of entertaining with a sort of interesting cast about sort of interesting people.
GI Joe – Rise of the Cobra
When some super weapon is stolen from a battalion of American army soldiers by a woman in 3 inch wedges attached to a low cut, skin tight, patent leather one piece jumper, the GI Joes are assigned to get it back. Nearly every character has a flashback, some have multiple flashbacks. Yeah, that’s pretty much it – that’s the whole thing. GI Joe? More like GI Joke.
When aliens come to earth and are unable to leave again, they are forced into a slum in Johannesburg, South Africa, in an area called District 9. Amazing visuals allow District 9 to capture the audience’s attention in an inescapable trap. The shallowness of the plot may be the only tool given to the audience to get out.
Aliens land on earth, malnourished, and their mothership in shambles. They are herded into a tin hut community while humans try to figure out what to do with them. After twenty years of tension between the aliens and the humans, the government gives full authority to MNU, a multi national corporation, to evict the aliens to a tent community two hundred kilometers away. They put a sniveling, weakling, corporate bureaucrat, Wikus Van De Merwe (Sharlto Copley), in charge of the move. Due to international law, MNU must notify the aliens of their eviction and Wikus is sent into the field to do the notifications. While out in the field, Wikus gets new insight into the needs and plight of the aliens, even though he struggles not to submit to his feelings.
The aliens in District 9 are computer generated into live action scenes. The team of alien animators do an extraordinary job of making the aliens seem as tangible and realistic as the human players on screen. The lighting of the prawns (a slang term for the aliens) in many of the scenes give texture so real, it is as if they could reach out and you could feel their exoskeleton roughly rub against your skin.
District 9 is shot in a mix of documentary and live action styles, blended seamlessly together. The documentary is about Wikus and how he is betrayed. This documentary gives perspective to the story of the aliens, and invests the audience in both sides of the story. At first it seems a bit piecemeal, but by the end, the reason for the mixed style offers the audience something to take away.
Even given the emotional investment by the viewers, the story is little more than a two hour long chase scene with explosions and firefights. There is an emotional component, but it reaches as deep into the audience as body lotion. Every time it seems there could be a question of morality, or a moment of emotive genius, it is blown up, shot or runs away. The take away at the end of the movie I mentioned earlier is as valuable as what you’d probably get as a wedding favor at a redneck wedding.
A thinking person would find District 9 wanting more and frustrated with the half-given plot. A person who just wants to watch things blow up, see things go boom and escape their lives for a couple of hours will have a great time at District 9.