Sunday, August 30, 2009

8-30-09: District 9; Bodies Revealed

It was a slightly rainy and cool weekend, but a good one nonetheless. The lady and I hung out and ended up seeing two very interesting things.

The first was District 9, the science fiction film produced by Peter Jackson and directed by Neill Blomkamp. I went in with pretty high expectations after watching the review on The Totally Rad Show last week, and was not disappointed. Without giving the plot away, it's about an alien (extra-terrestrial) population living in a slum area outside of Johannesburg, South Africa. The story begins 20 years after the alien shipped stopped over the city, seemingly haven broken down.

The central character is Wikus Van De Werwe, an agent for a private corporation that is leading a re-location program for the quite large (1.5 million) "prawn-like" alien population, currently located in District 9. While going around the slum serving eviction notices, Wikus comes across some alien technology, and the rest of the film focuses on his story.

The most interesting part of the film was that you really don't like the "good guy" for most of the film. He comes across as a real ass at first, then looks the hero, then looks part villain, then sort of a hero again. The other, and most striking, aspect is the style in which it is shot. It starts off as pretty much a documentary. It shows interviews from Wikus' family and friends after the story has ended. You begin to wonder what this ass did to make these people feel the way they do. I thought it was a great way to begin. But, by the end, it's an action flick with a heart of gold, and you're stuck wondering... when did they make the transition? It was completely seamless, and wonderful. I really enjoyed the experience, as did the lady.

The other thing we saw was the Bodies Revealed exhibit, currently at Foxwoods Resort and Casino in relatively nearby Ledyard, CT. The ~ 90 minute drive was well worth it. The exhibit is basically a tour of the human body. It takes you through the various bodily systems, showing you actual human bodies. But it's not gross. The bodies are preserved through, from what I have heard, a process involving a silicon-based polymer, which is applied in a vacuum on a cellular level. Whatever they did, it was fucking neat. There were some semi-disturbing parts, which were noted beforehand for the weary, but overall it was a fascinating and wonderful exhibit. If you ever get the chance to see it, don't miss out.

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