It’s nice to visit an old friend again. I’ve been telling people to watch “District 9” for years now, ever since I watched it with my uncle at the ripe old age of 14 or so. It was nice to pick it up again and finally visit what I’ve been telling people is one of my all time favourite science fiction films. I’ve watched a lot more since then, and I can now recognise that “District 9” isn’t as great as I perhaps made it out to be, but for the most part the intriguing plot and the lack of concrete information we receive about the ‘prawns’ keeps the film engaging until we reach the film’s slightly weaker final act. In essence, I still feel there is a lot to like about Neil Blomkamp’s “District 9”, despite it’s diminishing returns upon my second viewing.
In my review for “Speed” I wrote about how not all movies need to have deep characters and spectacular artistic direction to be great. “Speed” is the perfect example of a dumb movie which is just superbly done, and masterfully embraces what it is. It has no pretense of being more grand than it is, which paradoxically makes it far greater. “Starship Troopers” has fallen into the trap, it’s a dumb movie that tries to be smart and then stumbles over its own dumb limitations. Did you notice my subtle repetition? Felt quite forced didn’t it, sort of like the satire “Starship Troopers” attempts to sandwich between its own buns of stupidity. Hopefully my opinion has been hammered home sufficiently by now.
There are some arguments about what exactly a sequel should be. Some will tell you that it’s to be the same as the first movie but with improvements made all around (because we know how often that happens) and some will say that the point is to change the formula and create something new out of previous concepts. I tend to not care as long as I get another film that is worth watching and doesn’t just reuse the formula until it’s boring. Franchises have done this time and time again and I’m sick of it. “Aliens” takes what Ridley Scott did with “Alien” and does almost exactly what it says on the tin, makes the enemy plural.
Often films try to mimic what is a part of all great films, and that is the idea of the messages within, be they moral or immoral. “Planet of the Apes” is an example of a film that strives for greatness but falls just short despite the occasional scrape with said greatness that never amounts to anything beyond that. I will say that just because a film isn’t great that does not mean that it is not worth watching, or even that it’s not of genuine quality. “Planet of the Apes” is a good science fiction film that will just leave you wishing it had done a little bit more than it did, because there are the makings of a real classic here.