DISTRICT 9 Hits The Mark

It feels like this summer is turning out to be the Summer of Movies. First off, I’ve been working on two movies of my own: the first is THE LOST IDOL OF AMUN-RA, a take-off on 1950’s sci-fi serials. I’m directing and acting in this one (well, I agreed to play a bit part: the powerful metal juggernaut known as “Robot”); the screenplay is being (mostly)written by David Lusk, with the main character (Russian Archaeologist, Professor Ecaterina Vodka) played by Judy Nicole Kirby. The second film is as-yet unnamed: a zombie movie set in a small southern town consumed by a decaying economy and brain-eating drug addiction. I’m writing and co-directing this one, with my brother Brad, and Eric Cekala is handling the cinematography. We’ve formed a production company to handle the zombie movie and a host of other projects that I’m really excited about. I’m most proud of the production company itself, and I’m working on a longer post that describes how this came to be and who is involved.

It’s also turning out to be a pretty decent year for film in general. Last week, my brother and I went to see Peter Jackson’s DISTRICT 9 tonight…and we were both blown away by the incredible special effects and the engaging plot.

DISTRICT 9 hits the mark as a great science fiction movie for several reasons–not the least of which is that it has a well-developed alien race, perjoritively called “Prawns” by their human “hosts” in barely-racially integrated J’Burg, South Africa, where the movie is set. The Prawns are an insect-like race that are found caged and dying in a huge spacecraft that floats motionlessly above the large African metropolis. They speak a language composed of mandible clicks and odd chittering sounds. The movie combines this fictional alien language with Afrikaans, English and a smattering of Nigerian. Jackson has had considerable experience with integrating complex fictional languages into his movies. The Lord of the Rings–Jackson’s opus–utilized J.R.R. Tolkien’s finely-crafted (but ersatz) Elvish.

Though a bit heavy-handed with some of the morality issues (setting the film in South Africa, for instance, feels as if it were done solely to make a point about racism, as was some of the dialog–added apparently just so NO ONE could miss this point), the movie was a great sci-fi film.

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