Check it Out!

WordPress finally got techno-moron-friendly enough that I figured out how to change my theme!

Also, is there any way to get rid of that featureless orange man over there on the right? It sort of looks as if he’s on the toilet in public on my blog.

District 9 (Probably spoilers)

We saw this last night. I was withholding expectations because people kept saying, “I’ve never seen an alien movie like it!”  It still blew my mind.

There are the obvious parallels to Apartheid in South Africa, pogroms and ghettos in Europe. There are themes of xenophobia and ignorance and intolerance. But the coolest thing about this movie is how it subverts and screws with the concept of  ‘other’.

First of all, the man introduced as the protagonist isn’t anything to admire. We’re used to heroes as our protags, or at least plucky outsiders who prove that they can be more than we ever though. In District 9, the main character is a waffling, cowardly paper pusher. We don’t cheer for him. We wouldn’t even want him for a friend.  I was torn between sympathy and disgust for him throughout the movie. Hard to get behind someone who evokes both of those at the same time.

But that’s the funny thing. He’s a real person. His reactions to circumstances are what probably ninety percent of people would do,  given his situation. He’s a normal guy. Loves his wife.  Copes as best he can with limited understanding of what’s going on around him. Still, we don’t want to be that guy, don’t want to think that our actions would be the same as his.

The antagonist is a multinational corporation, and the quasi-military force it throws around. Easy to hate. Pretty stock, there. Lots of heavy-handed stuff about power, secrecy, corruption, and thugs who love to kill. All of them human.

The character with the most admirable traits is in fact, an alien. He shows compassion, valor, intelligence, and even humour. He’s the one we want to be friends with. He’s the one we want to be like. And he has tentacles on his face!

Ultimately, this is a film about humanity, and the fact that our language and ideas about being human, and what that means, are very different from what being a homo sapien really entails.

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