Knee-jerk review: "District 9"

1. Believe the hype.
2. It's very satisfying to see the Hollywood establishment collectively freak out when a movie with no stars and a relatively small budget opens at number one with a $37 million gross. "Does not computer." But a strong story can trump any presumed liability. Most importantly, a great concept executed well makes it easier for the marketing departments to get the word out.
3. There is a big twist halfway through. If you can, see the movie without learning what it is. We had an idea of it and the moment wasn't as strong as it could have been had we gone in blind.
4. The TV spots sold hard the social satire element of the movie - alien xenophobia equals human racism. But the film is much more than that.
5. Since it involves Peter Jackson, you should expect a fair amount of blood-and-guts action. People don't just get shot. They're blown to bits.
6. The bad guys are, to us, a little bit over-the-top. They practically twirl mustaches. But maybe that's okay.
7. It is surely no accident that the bad guys' company - a Blackwater-styled outfit named MNU - shares the same initials as the UN. They even drive the same white armored vehicles.
8. The ending is ambiguous and rather heartbreaking. Just the way we like it.
9. One of the best movies of the year.

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