August 5, 2009
The Aliens Within
I hadn’t really been following much news behind the Peter Jackson/Neill Blomkamp project District 9, but this is intriguing:
When its extraterrestrial passengers emerge, they are sequestered to a sprawling shantytown and shunned by even the lowest strata of human society. Amid an effort to relocate the creatures to a new camp, a corporate bureaucrat (played by Sharlto Copley) is infected with a virus that begins turning him into an alien, forcing him to confront his prejudices and his loyalties while he runs for his life.
If it all sounds like a science-fiction parable for South Africa’s segregationist history, Mr. Blomkamp, 29, says that is no accident. “The whole film exists because of that,” he said.
High time that alien invasion movies quit the trope where the global nature of the invasion boils down to B-reel of the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramids, the Great Wall of China, etc. When our visitors come, assuming they’re interested in people at all, they’re hitting Mexico City and Tokyo and Mumbai — the Lincoln Memorial will be low, low, low on the list.
In other Peter-Jackson-related news, I also really liked Henry Jenkins’s observation that among nerdly filmmakers, James Cameron is the ultimate geek (making movies because he loves creating and playing with the latest technologies) and Peter Jackson the ultimate fanboy (making movies because he loves all the movies and books he saw and read as a kid).