Thursday, August 20, 2009

"District 9" isn't just a surprisingly thoughtful sci-fi stand-out in a season characterized by big, dumb studio tent-pole movies; it's a revelation.

Just $30 million? Really? How?
"There's a bunch of contributing factors," Blomkamp explained.

First was using the cinema verité quality that propels the movie's fake documentary framing device to his advantage. "Because of my background, I know what I can get away with. If we had done R&D [research and development], it would have been $50 million right there. But we set out to work with digital creatures, lighting and compositing environments that are conducive to something photo real. My stuff tends to be CG in very harsh light, like sunlight. Harsh shadows. It feels real. Sometimes it's easier to make stuff look photo real in that environment," he said.

SHOOT: Go Blom.
clipped from
The movie arrives as a kingmaking debut for its writer-director Neill Blomkamp, who won't turn 30 until next month and who up until its release had no feature film experience, save for a scuttled attempt to adapt the video game Halo to the screen. But "District 9's" wow factor -- quantifiable, among other ways, by its 88% "freshness" rating at -- can be attributed to something other than Blomkamp's pedigree. And it isn't the fact that the movie was executive produced by Oscar-winning writer-director Peter Jackson of the "Lord of the Rings" franchise. His oversight on the project helped ensure that the highly original "District 9" would connect with its crucial fan boy audience at a time when every other successful multiplex offering seems to be based on a toy or comic book character.
"District 9" is that it cost only $30 million to produce. That's peanuts in Hollywood, especially when compared to the price of, say, the advertising blitz for "Transformers
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