What’s Up, District 9?

We went to catch both Up and District 9 some time ago. I loved both movies and despite the difference in tone, I believe they have some similarity, aside from the obvious fact that both use CG. More than that later.


[Official Up] [Up @ RT] [Up @ IMDB]


I think most people catch the gist of what Up is about from the colourful trailers. What they didn’t reveal was the back-story of Carl, who has probably become everyone’s favourite grumpy old man.


Story. Some animated features focus too much of the graphics. In Up, the CG is merely a tool to bring out the main star, the story.

Partly Cloud. Up was preceded by a short film in typical Pixar style. Make sure your theatre screens it!

Don’t like:

Squirrels. Everyone hates squirrels.


Russell is Pixar’s first Japanese/Asian-American character voiced by an Asian-American actor, Jordan Nagai.

The villain Charles Muntz is named after Charles Mintz, the Universal Pictures executive who in 1928 stole Walt Disney’s production rights to his highly-successful “Oswald the Lucky Rabbit” cartoon series. This led Walt Disney to create Mickey Mouse, who soon eclipsed Oswald in popularity.

District 9

[Official District 9] [District 9 @ RT] [District 9 @ IMDB]

district 9

There’s very little known about the film even through the trailers except that an alien craft stopped above Johannesburg, there’s gonna be aliens and explosions. So I shan’t spoil it too much for whoever hasn’t watched it. Note that the movie is rated M18 though, even though it seems the one airing here has been cut, so expect your fair share of gore and language.


Fresh format. As seen in the trailers, District 9 starts off like a documentary or news broadcast. It’s probably scare more people if aired on TV then War of the Worlds back then.

Right amount of CG. I read this comment on a forum thread and have to agree with it. My lecturer said “The best CG is when you can’t tell it’s CG,” and this stands true in District 9. All the aliens in the movie are pure CG and their interaction with the surrounding looks really believable. No offence to Cameron’s fans but in comparison, Avatar’s trailer looks like a CG tech demo.


Gibs. There are excessive scenes with gore! Who am I kidding? I like the gore.


Star Sharlto Copley had not acted before and had no intention of pursuing an acting career. He stumbled into the leading role as Neill Blomkamp placed him on-camera during the short film.

All the shacks in District 9 were actual shacks that exists in a section of Johannesburg which were to be evacuated and the residents moved to better government housing, paralleling the events in the film. Also paralleling, the residents had not actually been moved out before filming began. The only shack that was created solely for filming was Christopher Johnson’s shack.

Sharlto Copley ad-libbed all his lines.

So what’s the similarity in both movies that I mentioned? It’s the same thing that I find lacking in recent media and that is character development. In both movies, we follow the protagonist and watch how they evolve through the movie. Through their encounters and changes, we start to believe in them. I think it beats being introduced to a hero who just blazes through the entire movie and leave feeling empty after 90 minutes in the theatre.

Movies to look out for:

  1. Coraline
  2. 9

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