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District 9: An Alien Film Worth Watching

Posted on 14 August 2009 by Tim

Ever since I heard about District 9, from a preview during another film, I have been very excited to see it. I thought it looked great and the concept (and location) was unique. After I launched Talk with Tim in July, I got to thinking…I should talk to someone about the film. Luckily, I received a response! As some of you may have seen, I interviewed Nathalie Boltt about her role in District 9. She plays a sociologist named Sarah Livingstone and you’ll see her quite a bit in the film. Read my interview with Nathalie for more.

Anyway, I made it a point to make it to the opening of the film – 12:01 AM at Regal Cascade 16 in Vancouver, WA. I arrived early to the theater, bought my ticket, munched on some free popcorn and kicked back in the nearly sold-out audience to enjoy the show.

“We’re at the breaking point. People are living in fear.” – Sarah Livingstone (Nathalie Boltt)

District 9

The film starts out documentary style, introducing the main character Wikus Van De Merwe (Sharlto Copley) who comes off as a dipstick. Although you kind of like him ’cause he says some funny stuff, he treats the alien race – dubbed prawns – like crap, so you don’t like him too much.

The story is moving along nicely at this point but after Wikus accidentally sprays himself with an unknown alien substance. That’s when it gets crazy and the action picks up big time!

There are a couple scenes where I squirmed a bit (and I wasn’t alone) seeing and imagining the position Wikus is in. Seriously, doctors and scientists are creepy. If watching stuff blow up is your thing, there’s plenty of that in District 9! The action sequences are gnarly.

District 9 Movie Poster A couple of the prawns play a big role in the film and I ended up liking them quite a bit. The father-son dynamic was unique and made the alien “Christopher” seem more likable. Most of the prawns are portrayed as kind of dumb and aggressive. But still, I felt a bit sorry for them. Like the feeling you get when you leave the humane society…all those sad, lonely animals acting crazy because they’re caged up even though deep down you know that, under different circumstances, most of them are nice.

Not surprisingly, I quickly came to despise MNU, or Multi-National United, the for-profit outfit in charge of this cluster. Like all corporations, MNU is simply motivated by the money regardless of the moral or ethical cost. The segregation of the alien race is meant to evoke parallels to apartheid but it also reminded me of our horrible treatment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

The Verdict: Guilty of Goodness

District 9 is a visual treat built on a strong story with deep roots. I like that it’s set in a new location. It’s not the typical New York City flick where the Statue of Liberty gets destroyed or San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge collapsing.

So far this year, this is the best movie I’ve seen in the theater. The special effects were excellent, I didn’t notice any parts where I thought, “Oh, that’s clearly CGI.” Everything looked believable. All the actors did a great job, especially Sharlto who really sold me on his character’s struggle. Neill Blomkamp’s film is way ahead of Harry Potter, Ice Age and even The International, which was surprisingly good. Other movies may have been hyped way more (think G.I. Joe), but none have delivered like District 9.

What did you think of the film? Tell me in the comments below.

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Actress Nathalie Boltt Talks About Her Role in District 9

Posted on 13 August 2009 by Tim

District 9 will be released this Friday, August 14th, 2009.

View the official trailer which features Nathalie Boltt at the bottom of this page.

About District 9

IMDB’s summary says, “An extraterrestrial race forced to live in slum-like conditions on Earth suddenly find a kindred spirit in a government agent that is exposed to their biotechnology.”

District 9 was written and directed by Neill Blomkamp and produced by Peter Jackson.

…riding on the thickest buzz this side of “The Swarm.” Happily, it’s one of those rare movies that lives up to the hype. It’s an action film with a brain, a sci-fi thriller with poignancy, a social-political satire packed with pow. [More]

Nathalie Boltt Discusses Her Role in District 9

Tell us about your character and her motivation.

Nathalie-Boltt-Dark Sarah Livingstone is a sociologist commenting on what happened to ‘Wikus’ and the District 9 situation. She tries to be as straight and honest as she can and deliver the facts. From a sociological point of view, this is of course a very unique situation so very interesting to her. But from a personal perspective, her sympathies lie with Wikus and the Aliens. She feels they were wronged and is saddened by it all. She is not intimidated by MNU and has no problem speaking out about their unethical motives and their mistreatment of the aliens or the way they mercilessly used, abused and abandoned Wikus.

What interactions does your character have with Sharlto Copley and Jason Cope’s characters?

Sarah Livingstone will have watched their story via all the news footage and media frenzy surrounding the clash of MNU and the aliens. She is fascinated from a sociological point of view as to what it means for a human to be shunned by its own race – to be on the run from all other humans, forced to find refuge in the last place any human should have to go – District 9. She will have studied and researched their story. When we see her being interviewed in the film, she is giving her professional input on the situation, explaining how this tragic interracial story came about. She has no direct contact with Sharlto or Jason’s characters.

How does working on a sci-fi movie compare to working on films in other genres?

You do your best and try to bring truth to the character you are playing, while helping to realise the director’s vision. It’s the same really. But great to see the end result – being involved in something fun and wonderfully creative – that attracts such a different audience and will potentially have a cult following. nathalie boltt

How was it working with Neill Blomkamp and Peter Jackson?

I only worked with Neill, who was very clear and direct on what he wanted. He was respectful, professional and friendly. We had a lot in common from growing up in bad old Johannesburg. My first impression was that he is young, which he is! He’s clearly a talented and driven person who’s achieved a lot in a short time and obviously he was in the best hands – Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and a large support of great people with incredible vision. Winning combo!

Read My Review of District 9 Here

What was your favorite part about working on District 9?

The efficiency! I worked for no more than four hours. I went in met Neill, delivered my lines, improvised with him for an hour, shook his hand and went home. And ended up with a ton of screen time. It’s the only movie I’ve worked on where I didn’t wait around for even a minute. Of course my other favourite part is the fact that it’s turned out to be a great success.

Who is Nathalie Boltt

Actress Nathalie Boltt is from South Africa which explains why most Americans haven’t heard of her. However, you may recognize her from the sci-fi movie Doomsday. Some of her other work includes Route 30 and The Poseidon Adventure. Visit NathalieBoltt.com for more.

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