movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

LIMERICK REVIEW: There once were some alien Prawns,
who ultimately became our pawns.
Camps are no place to live;
Humans didn’t want to give.
Get these damn aliens off our lawns! [shakes fist]

HAIKU REVIEW: Alien contact
may not be quite as simple
as Star Trek makes it.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): Illegal alien influx leads to complications.

PEOPLE: The director and main actors are unknowns to us, which helped the refreshing feel of the movie. Actually, the main character is not even an actor, and has no plans to continue acting. He ad-libbed all his lines. This actually helped with the realism.

QUIRKS: Science Fiction. Aliens. Racism. Oppression. Rights. Revolution. Cat food.

Based on a short film by the same director: Alive In Joburg.

VISUALS: Modern special effects. More than acceptable. But for the most part, don’t expect a sci-fi feel. Expect a slum feel. Most of this movie takes place in the ghetto the aliens are forced to live in.

I hear this movie has a lot of shaky-cam, but since that doesn’t make me feel shaken, I didn’t notice. What I did notice is that a lot of the film — especially the beginning — is done in “documentary” style. Non-Comedic Mockumentary if you will — since it’s fiction and not “real”. I guess this is where the shaking comes in, but I’m so used to seeing reality out of my own two eyes — which lack gyroscopic stabilization — that a shaky cam, to me, looks more real than a steady cam. I don’t really find it to be more distracting; I find it to be more immersive, and less laid out on a silver platter.

MORALS: Mankind has a long way to go in terms of understanding how to coexist with others. We still fear what we do not understand, and want to destroy that which is different. We’ve even become scared to let each other carry around guns, despite the fact that most people do not die from guns. You think we’d let aliens that can rip us in two just walk around, granting them full rights? Hell, no! We’d put them in the ghetto, just like in this movie. They’d be treated like Jews in Nazi Germany, Palestinians in Gaza, Native Americans in reservations, or any other oppressed people. Dangerous. Sequestered. Needing licenses to participate in activities the normal populace doesn’t need licenses for.

If there are real aliens out there that have studied our culture, then they surely are intelligent enough to understand this simply by watching our media and fiction. And that’s why they wont show themselves. Hell, maybe they’re watching us right now. Maybe they have the cure to cancer and our energy crisis, but they wont give it to us because they know we’d be too xenophobically primitive to accept either their presence or their presents.

I’m disappointed in humanity in general, and this movie, while fiction, reaffirms this.

POLITICS: Those over at consider this movie to be New World Order propaganda. I think that’s a huge stretch, because I find the movie to very much be a negative commentary on our political state. To me, something crosses the line into propaganda when it is framed to make something look unrealistically good. I was on the aliens’ sides in this movie. This didn’t look like New World Order propaganda to me. It looked like a neutral viewpoint of the good and bad (mostly the bad). It sure as hell didn’t make those running the game look morally right; it made them look evil. If it’s propaganda, it’s failed propaganda to me.

Oh, and by the way — the shacks are real shacks that real people lived in. And the government forced them to move to new land. Just like the “Prawns” in the movie. Art imitates life.

BAD STUFF: The main character’s [highlight for spoilers] denial over his transformation. It seems there’s some over-used movie/TV show/cartoon trope that whenever anyone transforms, they sit there denying it for WAY too long. Fingernails falling out? Cliche! That’s really my only complaint about the film. But since the main character was kind of clueless in many ways to begin with, this passes muster a bit more than when it usually happens in other works. Still, it was a bit painful.

Also, the exploding bodies could have been a bit more realistic… However, they worked just fine.

CONCLUSION: The best sci-fi release of 2009? That was absolutely fantastic on many levels! Entertaining, engaging, politically relevant … The works.

RATINGS: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 9/10.

RECOMMENDATION: See it, see it, see it! The only way you would not enjoy this would be if you hated sci-fi AND politics. In which case: You suck! Go back to watching American Idol!

MOVIE QUOTE: “He was an honest man, and he didn’t deserve any of what happened to him.”

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Christie R loved it. Ian & Christian & Agent Lloyd really liked it. A bunch of other people mentioned how much they liked it too: Stacy M, Sean Prophet, Debbie M, Dad. Mike I (Rev. Archangel) liked it too. I think Mark I said something about this as well.

Mood: full
Music: KMFDM – Sex On The Flag