I just saw District 9 this morning in the theater. Prior to this weekend when a friend asked if I would go see it with him, I didn't know anything about it except that it was about aliens and Peter Jackson was involved in it. I actually wanted to see Inglorious Basterds instead, but I just went along. I understand it was somewhat low-budget, so there wasn't a very good advertising campaign.
Having no expectations for it, I was completely blown away. District 9 is definitely in my top 5 movies of 2009 so far. I would easily recommend this movie to anybody.
I won't recap what the story is about (just look it up if you don't already know) and will go straight into what I thought about the movie. First, the atmosphere in District 9 is amazing. From the first few minutes of the beginning to then end, I was completely sucked into the world of D9. It is set in Johanesburg, South Africa in the future, and there is a slum where the aliens live called District 9. All the scenes in the alien slum give the movie a kind of post-apocalyptic feel with a worn-out, trashy, dry land similar to that of Terminator Salvation or the game Fallout 3. I loved the setting and atmosphere of the movie.
Also notable about the movie is the camerawork. It has a shaky camera similar to that of Quarantine, Cloverfield, or the last two Bourne movies. I have heard complaints that this style of shooting can make some people feel sick or dizzy, but I think it adds a lot to the movie. The shaky camera is very noticable, but not overdone. Overall, it helps make you feel like you are actually in the movie.
As for the plot itself, I can't go into much detail without spoiling parts of the movie, so I will try to be very general. The first 20 minutes start off a bit slow, but it really gets much better as it goes on. I was afraid to blink during the last 30 minutes! I found the character development to be quite interesting. When the main character is introduced, I had a very hard time liking him, but as he gets "infected" and teams up with a prawn, he becomes much more likeable. As for the pacing of the movie, there is just the right amount of action. From the trailer, I didn't think there would be much action at all, but I was wrong. The action sequences aren't overkill like a certain movie directed by a certain someone named Michael Bay. I also found the special effects to be excellent. The alien ship that floats over the city look incredibely realistic, and the aliens look amazing as well. Many people were disappointed with the ending, but I found it to be a satisying conclusion to a phenomenal movie.
District 9 is a movie that I also think will benefit from multiple viewings. When it is released on blu-ray, I will without a doubt buy it on day-one. This is a movie that I am actually really curious to watch with the director commentary track, which I have only done for a few movies.
Bottom Line: 8/10