Two movies came out in 2009 — both within a few months of each other. One was Transformers 2 (June), the other was District 9 (August).
Both made good money. Both had a sort of robot / alien theme. D9 was rated R, T2 was PG-13.
It’s a debate for the ages. Complex. Perhaps passionate to some.
Here’s my short take on it:
D9 succeeded because it was about PEOPLE. T2 was about “giant f*cking robots!”
Clearly, some people want to see “giant f*cking robots!” and — hey — more power to them.
Movies are about people. About how people change. About how people deal with adversity. How people overcome obstacles. If you saw T2, ask yourself THOSE questions about THOSE human characters.
Your answers, unless you’re really delusional, is “well, NONE of those questions can be answered because, well, T2 is about giant f*cking robots, that’s why!”
D9 is about humanity. Even when all of the cool stuff is going on, it’s about humanity. One quote sums up D9:
Wikus Van De Merwe “… was an honest man and he didn’t deserve any of what happened to him…”
Just. Like. That.
One more thing: the Prawns. The reason they work (and the robots of T2 DO NOT) is that, they too, have humanity. They walk on two legs. Live in slums. Have kids. Fight back against oppression. All human traits. By making the prawns relatable, they became eligible for our sympathy.
What sort of human traits did the “giant f*cking robots” have and — more importantly — did you care about them?
Watch D9 and you’ll find yourself both feeling sorry for and cheering Christoper Johnson’s and Wikus Van De Merwe’s journey. Did you do that for anything in T2, human or otherwise?
M A R K