This is not a review of the film "District 9."
Although I did indeed see it on Thursday night as a precursor to an hour-and-a-half long intimate evening with Peter Jackson, I've been asked not to write a formal review of the film yet. So instead, what I'll offer up is a preview of the movie, some background on it, and a general reaction.
Neil Blomkamp was originally brought to Peter Jackson's attention by Mary Parent while she was working at Universal, and the idea was for Neil to direct "Halo" while Peter would produce it. Solid plan, until the co-financed film between Universal and Fox imploded, and suddenly Peter Jackson was left with a protoge but no movie for him to make.
Thankfully, Blomkamp's solution was to return to South Africa to make a small SF indie film based on some of his earlier short films. And the result is, in my opinion, an instant classic, a movie that had the same effect on me as the first time I saw Paul Verhoeven's "Robocop" in 1987.
Keep in mind... today, "Robocop" is respected and loved and acknowledged as one of the great SF films of the '80s. But before it came out, it looked like a joke. I was working at a theater at the time, and we made fun of that poster relentlessly. "PART MAN... PART MACHINE... ALL COP!" Oh, please. I went to a pre-release employee's screening just to make fun of the film... and then lost my mind. I ended up taking a good dozen people or so back to see it over the next few weeks, amazed by the film, and time after time, people flipped out for it.
[more after the jump]