Film Junk Podcast Episode #231: District 9

podcast231

0:00 – Intro
2:30 – Headlines: Robert Downey Jr. as Lestat, Godzilla Reboot, Bryan Singer to Direct BSG Reboot, Wall-E Wins Hugo Award, Death Race Prequel, Warner Brothers to do LEGO Movie, Frank Darabont to Direct The Walking Dead for AMC, Spielberg to Take Over Halo?, Ebert Defends Armond White then Retracts It
37:00 – Review: District 9
1:21:25 – Trailer Trash: Gentlemen Broncos, Legion, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
1:33:12 – Other Stuff We Watched: V: The Original Mini-Series, Starman, Play Time, Rip: A Remix Manifesto, Shanghai Kiss, Tokyo!, Alien Nation, Nursery University, The Pee-wee Herman Show, Shark Tank
2:11:50 – Junk Mail: Mirror Neurons, Suspension of Disbelief, Special Music Podcast, Poutine Village, Best Werner Herzog Films, The Smashing Machine, Experimental Films
2:38:05 – This Week’s DVD Releases
2:39:25 – Outro

Note: Our additional spoiler discussion of District 9 is now available here.

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  • Falsk

    1.) Phasing Reed out is preposterous. Shut up.
    2.) I saw “Shanghai Kiss” at the movie rental place for $4 yesterday. TWO COPIES.
    3.) I actually found myself somewhat agreeing with Reed’s review of “District 9″ since I seem to be one of the outsiders that wasn’t drooling/raving ecstatic with the film (it happens.)
    4.) A separate spoiler review podcast? Really? Am I the only one that thinks that’s just a smidge silly? If you haven’t seen the film, skip that part of the podcast. Or am I the only one that does that?

    Oooh well. Everyone’s really fired up this week, huh?

  • Dave, the Film Junk guys actually had a little conversation about why the majority of Prawns seemed like idiots with only CJ and his son representative of “smart” aliens. (Maybe we should have a spoiler comment section.) I think the discussion is in the bonus podcast. Again, these questions aren’t meant so much as criticism, but rather curiosity. Not to sound defensive or maybe I am, but what kinds of questions should I be asking?

    rus in chicago, I just wanted to address your statement that my statements about my “bad” Star Trek review are an excuse to cover a mistake I made. I was just trying to say that I knew at the time that people would jump on me for not really talking about the movie. But I have a problem reviewing movies that don’t inspire me. I knew that I couldn’t elaborate on some of the things that I could have said that people would “attack” me on. For example, and this goes with District 9, if I say that I didn’t like how the action was filmed, people would expect me to justify this. What can I say? That I thought the editing was too quick? That the camera placement was wrong? Obviously, it worked for other people, so why bother saying stuff that people will guffaw at?

    Actually, I never thought about my “bad” “bad” (the double quoted “bad”s is not a typo) Star Trek review reflecting badly on Film Junk as a serious site for film criticism. For this, I sincerely apologize to Sean, Jay, and Greg. If sending out an international press release with my apology would make a difference, I would. :-)

  • Let me try to explain what I was getting at. In a science fiction story where you introduce science elements, you should make sure that the ramifications are apparent and consistent with what is described in your story.

    Point to one example in District 9 of scientific inconsistency. Please remember, District 9 is set in an alternate universe and not the one we live in, so standard physics and scientific conventions that we know will not apply, and thus can’t be used.

    This means Reed, District 9 would have to lay out a principle, then blatantly break that principle. Find me one example of that in the movie. Because I can think of countless examples of the film reinforcing the scientific principles that it created.

    but “good” science fiction shouldn’t introduce ray guns and just use them in order to show things blowing up really good.

    What like Ender’s Game?

    Having read one interview with Neil Blomkamp, he doesn’t seem to be too concerned with scientific consistency in movies anyway.

    You are misinterpreting what he is saying, and then using it as the basis for why you don’t like the film. The film is consistent in the universe that District 9 exists in, but that universe is not consistent with ours. George Lucas has used a similar logic to describe how the ships in the Star Wars Universe can fly in space the way they do, by stating “Space in the Star Wars universe has oxygen.”

    To me Star Wars, Flash Gordon, Alien aren’t science fiction films, they are either drama, action or horror in a futuristic setting.

    Star Wars is set in the past. Suck on that, Iceland!

  • For example, and this goes with District 9, if I say that I didn’t like how the action was filmed, people would expect me to justify this. What can I say? That I thought the editing was too quick? That the camera placement was wrong? Obviously, it worked for other people, so why bother saying stuff that people will guffaw at?

    Well if you articulate your opinions Reed Farrington won’t think you are an idiot. So, there’s that.

  • Dave

    “He claimed to be motivated to get back to the ship to stop his “people” from being used as medical experiments. Then he and his son go to the ship and it becomes this “I will be back in 3 years”?!”

    He didn’t want to come back to stop the experiments until after he learned about them in the second act. It was a shift in his motivation, which originally was solely to leave Earth and never come back. Honestly I’m not sure he gave a fuck about the rest of his kind *until* he learned what MNU was doing to them. As for coming back in 3 years, he made a promise to fix Wikus’ DNA but only after returning to his home system first. He says the line at the end of the film after Wikus’ sacrifices his safety so that CJ and his son can escape. CJ was reiterating his original promise to help Wikus for helping them. Regardless of how you feel about Wikus at the start of the film, you can’t deny that at the end he is completely different internally as well as externally.

  • Dave

    Also, Reed, I am not going to dictate to you what questions you should be asking about a film. I was just hoping you would move away from the goofy technobabble and more into the expansion of the movie’s universe. Blomkamp has repeatedly stated the goal of this movie is entertainment first, and part of the fun of this kind of film is filling in the blanks yourself through speculation. None of it means anything and serves no other purpose than geek fellowship, but there it is.

  • “and part of the fun of this kind of film is filling in the blanks yourself through speculation. None of it means anything and serves no other purpose than geek fellowship, but there it is.”

    quite right, people on these boards tend to jump all over people bring up issues with the film even after they have said they loved it when in reality most just want to geek out and enjoy the movie more by discussing it and ways it could be different.

  • Holy crap! Matt Gamble, in discussing what makes a “good” science fiction film, I wasn’t saying that I disliked District 9 because of scientific nitpicks. Read the last paragraph of my comment 48 again. Get off my back, you Prawn! :-)

    And I’m not using Blomkamp’s views as a reason to dislike his film. Blomkamp seems to be a reasonably intelligent guy, who I don’t necessarily agree with. He just made a film that seemed ordinary to me. And before this goes too far, if I’ve said that I disliked District 9, then I didn’t really mean it. I gave it 2.5 stars on the Film Junk podcast. Oh, god help me if people start accusing me of backtracking. (And no, I don’t believe in god. Today, anyway.)

    BTW, I read today that a Canadian visual effects company did the bulk of the visual effects for District 9. Apparently, WETA was too busy on Avatar. Everything is cheaper in Canada, even special effects. (Canada is the Third World of the Western nations.)

  • Reed, this is true, you really did like District 9. 2.5 stars is basically a 4 out of 4 in your world.

  • Reed – “I read today that a Canadian visual effects company did the bulk of the visual effects for District 9″ sounds like a new career path…just think of all the leftovers in the company frig. that are going to waste.

  • jaime

    Fuck this movie it was not that great! 1 out of 4.

  • D.Wayne

    If you check out the blog http://www.mnuspreadslies.com written by none other than our favorite alien, Christopher Johnson, then you will see a lot of details that you didn’t get in the movie. It may help shed some light on the alien’s situation in District 9.

  • To make up for any lack of clarity in my voiced opinions of “District 9″ on the podcast, here are my lists of likes and dislikes.

    Things I liked about “District 9″:
    – Initial premise of dealing with a large number of compliant, “despicable” aliens.
    – Visual effects.
    – Cinematography.
    – The ending of the film.

    Things I did not like about “District 9″:
    – The style in which it was shot, notably the hand-held camerawork.
    – Dialog was ordinary.
    – Story did not branch into interesting territory.

    The other elements of the movie like the music didn’t make an impact on me. So based on all of these limited judgments, this is why I do not have enthusiasm for “District 9.”

    One final thing. From the comments, I think I understand why I irk so many Film Junk podcast listeners. I’ve tried to improve, and I appreciate the guys accommodating me on the occasional podcast, but I have to concede that the Film Junk podcast is better off without me. Let the rejoicing begin. :-)

  • Lukas (from Poland)

    Hi,
    You were talking about “Legion” and I just want to mention Australian 2007 movie “Gabriel”. If you like low budget movies you would love this one ;) Director Shane Abbess described the budget as “the catering budget on a Hollywood film” The film was shot for $150,000!! But it looks quite good though –
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_Lp07USFr8&feature=related

    So If you want to see some Angels with guns you should check this movie ;)

  • Scott H.

    Hey Guys,

    District 9 was phenomenal. All I really wanted to say was that I wish you guys would have Reed on more frequently or every episode because he’s the perfect antithesis and the interaction and rapport is fun to listen to.

    Thanks.