Sunday, July 25, 2010

District 9

[Boy versus Bug]

New toy time. After a long period of decline, my computer died in a pflash, possibly brought on by a current surge. Dead dead dead.

Since I am a thorough-unto-neurotic shopper, it took a while to decide on a replacement. Finally I did. A seeming bargain from Costco, but a major example of laptop overkill, I got the second-snazziest model of the Hewlett-Packard line. It is an 18.4 inch screen monster with a lovely keyboard. I especially like its model number. It is more wonderful than the smaller screen DV-6 and DV-7 models. It is the DV-8.

I will post my musings on the analogy between shopping for laptops and shopping for clothes shortly but right now I am impressed with the device as a way to watch Netflix movies. It has 1080p lines of resolution, the same as an HD television, nice sound, and yada yada yada.

This afternoon (don't even bother to tell me that watching movies in the afternoon is a symptom of wasting one's life, I know it all too well) I watched 'District 9' on the shiny new box. It was great as a move experience and the movie itself was terrific for the first hour. Unfortunately the movie was two hours long.

I had greatly feared that the thing would be a pious screed about apartheid and race relations. Especially because it is set in South Africa. At least at first, it seemed not to be. Or to be, depending on how one took it.

But in the end it seemed perhaps like it was more about the Jews and less about the blacks and whites. The aliens are an ancient and advanced people brutalized into primitiveness by being forced into an oppressive and degrading ghetto. The underlying quest of the aliens and the human who comes to share their views, is to return to their distant homeland. The blacks and whites are able to function as peers because of their solidarity in the face of alien outsiders. Much as the bourgeoisie and proletariat reconciled in the face of the alien Jew.

Until it becomes a shoot-em-up adventure movie at the end, it was an outstanding movie that I found surprisingly compelling. Even as an adventure shoot-em-up toward the latter part of the movie it was well above average for that brainless genre.

This thing was nominated for a 'Best Picture' Academy Award nomination last year and I can see why. It is a fine piece of film - compelling story, good acting, thoughtful writing, fine art direction, reasonably good animations, and so on.

Even though I have been able for months now to get Netflix movies on my television and Roku box, there is something astonishing about getting movies directly off the internet onto my laptop. I could do that before, but they are far more impressive and persuasive on the new box than on the old IBM Thinkpad. Today at least I prefer movies on the laptop to movies on the television. It is a surfeit of toys. I may be semi-broke but I am still wallowing in lovely consumer goods.

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