Just after my Birthday, I went out with Thunder E to see District 9. Afterwards, he stopped for dinner, and I joined him – while waiting for his food I made 2 calls. To both people I said "I just watched my first Academy award film of the year."
I cannot believe I forgot saying that; that I had forgotten feeling.
After re-watching the film, I remember why. It is an alien/action film, yes – but it is more, it is a drama that builds to the action, not like Transformers (for example) where the drama is a by-product of, and moments filling between the action and violence. It is less like Die Hard, where the is violence, and you know more is coming, and in between there is a witty line to cut the silence; the action and violence (and what spectacular violence it is!) almost feels justified, that the panic and very survival of the protagonist lies on a "its him or its me" principle for survival
Just to be synoptic (without giving away too much of the plot line), in 1982, an alien space craft started hovering over South Africa, and has not moved since then. The aliens aboard were brought into an area just outside of Johannesburg named "District 9" where it is simply an impoverished shanty town, a haven for the crime and corrupt (and the Nigerians – Sorry Thunder E, Just had to toss that in there!) where no police or humans dare go. The issues begin when the government decides to move all the inhabitants to District 10 240 kilometers away.
To weight this film as an academy nominated best adapted screenplay, I must first ask why? Yes, the screenplay is nomination worthy – it is creative, twists and turns, develops characters at a pace that draws you in – But this is adapted off a 10 min short by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell, who happen to be director/writers on this as well. Could it not be considered for best ORIGINAL instead? As far as best picture, I had a feeling 6 months ago I would see it here – though I was not assuming there would be 10 nominations. Regardless, this is a an academy quality film. Will it win? I doubt it will for best picture – But best Adaptive – it has a good shot.