It's really easy to trick a movie critic into liking a movie. First, use a lot of subtitles. Stuff always seems better with subtitles. Second, use a cast of "unknowns" for authenticity. Also, make sure it's set in a foreign country, preferably a weird foreign country. Work cheap - an expensive movie is a bad movie. And finally, if you're gonna do any of that icky high concept stuff, like with aliens, make sure to make it a social commentary of some kind. But be really over the top about it, or they won't get it.
District 9 did all of these things, and shockingly, the critics adore it. It seems like they are not reviewing the movie they sit and watch so much as the story of how the movie got made.
Did you hear? This thing was directed by nobody we ever heard of! Peter Jackson plucked him from obscurity, and whatever he touches turns to gold except King Kong. It's his first movie! Can you believe it? And he got all of this on film with sound and editing and stuff. And he cast his buddy as the lead! And he's never acted before! So he did good for never acting before, right? That's pretty amazing. What a story we can tell you about this. We've found a new genius that we can destroy after his next movie sucks.
Oh, but it only cost $30 million dollars to make. Does that somehow add entertainment value? I don't give a crap how much a film costs when I'm watching it, hell, I hope it costs $500 million dollars. Make it as expensive as possible. Just be good. There shouldn't be extra credit cause you got more bang for the buck.
Listen, District 9 is a fine movie. It's perfectly okay. But it will not blow your mind. It is definitely not the best movie of the summer. The entire alien story line made no sense. If their weapons are so awesome, how come they are our bitches? And don't get me started on the magical alien fuel. Point is, it's not a bad movie, it's just not the game changer we have been led to believe.
The fact is that if this thing was directed by Steven Spielberg and starred Russell Crowe and cost $200 million dollars it would be a huge disappointment. It would've gotten 2 and a half stars out of 4. But it wasn't directed by Spielberg and didn't star Crowe, so it was good for the people who made it. It was good for them.
How about we judge the movies by how good they actually are? Let's not handicap the professionals, the people with track records. Just cause it's some dudes first time out doesn't mean I'm gonna like it any better. It's a movie. I don't enjoy his fucking journey getting it made. No, I have to suffer through his best pal trying to act as the lead for 2 hours. And thanks but no thanks, I'd rather have Russell Crowe up there.