Lex Petros: August 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009

District 9

Warning! May contain spoilers
(click on the movie poster to go to the official website)

"Technically brilliant and emotionally wrenching" says Rotten Tomatoes. I couldn't agree more. I had not been up-to-date with the ravings or critiques on the latest movies and District 9 was left on the sidelines until the day I stepped into the theater. The first ten minutes of the movie evoked a nostalgic feeling from the 80s' when "V", the sci-fi series on celestial television was playing on TV3, a story which saw the arrival of multiple flying saucers, hovering menacingly over the major cities of the world, vessels to an invading species of reptilian aliens, bent on depleting earth's resources which spelled the end of humanity. Incidentally, V will be reincarnated in a 2010 release.

The plot is simple. A 'mother ship' appeared over the skies of Johannesburg, South Africa in the early 80s. We discovered hordes of malnourished arthropod-like bi pedals which were soon after relocated to a facility known as District 9. As the years went buy, the D9 became an alien slum and the city was deluged by aliens, much like how the US perceived Mexicans at some point. As the story unfolded, you'd soon find out that at least some of these "Prawns", derogatorily referred to by humans longed for home and searched the slums to obtain a mysterious fluid capable of powering the command module which disassociated with the mother ship shortly after its arrival 20 years ago in an ambitious attempt to get home. These efforts pervaded the efforts to "relocate" the alien infestation to D10, a so-called better site for these creatures, spurned by human outcry and intolerance. The interplay between human tolerance for aliens and preservation of alien rights are clearly perceived in this movie.

My fellow blogger, Nick Leshi in his blog posting 'Top 5 Examples of Alien Bigotry' aptly surmised some of movie/TV history of alien marginalisation and the altruistic nature of humans when confronted with members of a different species.

At the heart of the movie are 2 individuals, a MNU (Mutinational United, a military contractor) field operative, Wikus Van De Merve and a compassionate and home-longing alien fondly referred to as Christopher Johnson. Wikus was tasked to serve eviction notices on 1.8 million Prawns and soon found himself a centre of attention after he was exposed to the "fluid" talked about earlier, at which point his biology begun to merge with the alien DNA. When he was discovered, he no longer was part of "us" anymore and found himself a fugitive. Apart from the fact he was becoming "alien", the MNU discovered he was capable of discharging the aliens' weaponry which were apparently bio genetically linked to the Prawns. Wikus soon became a target for vivisection and lost his right to life as a human.

Soon, it was apparent for Wikus to seek refuge in D9, the last place anyone would look for him. He forged an alliance with Christopher Johnson, whose only desire was to get the command module to reattach with the mother ship so that he could take his youngling home.

Between the storyline, there were a few good scenes. Although this film is rated R, do expect some gore and blood-splattering. I was in stitches, much to my darling's displeasure. Couldn't expect less since I conned her into watching this when she wanted a chick flick. I like the part when the MNU were incinerating a hive of baby aliens still in their cocoons, popping away like popcorn in the oven. A sadistic but hilarious way of depicting the lack of human regard for alien life.

The skirmishes at the end of the movie was just awesome. It's really fun to see them turn the slum into a warzone!

This movie caught me off guard totally. Directed by Neil Blomkamp and produced by Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings trilogy). This movie will make you think again about how you think you'd perceive alien presence.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Stupid Rainy Day

Of my 7 years at Jalan Raja Chulan, I must say that this is the first
for me. I've never seen this street flooded.
Happened this evening after a short
but torrential rain of biblical proportions.
I went out after work just to pick up
a couple of shirts and what do you know...
I got stuck in the stupid rain...

As usual, nothing in this city works...


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Congrats Kenny & Jeannie!

Captain Kenny Gordvyn Mariapragasam has finally decided to give up galloping around the cosmos and settle down with the woman in his life. About time to, I think.

The caricature (pic above) of the groom-to-be by his office colleagues only reminded me of how we all are 'required' to take the "next step" in this finite life.

Kenny and Jeannie are getting hitched!

August 14th. 9.45am. Registrar of Marriages, Maju Junction Mall.

As luck would have it I will be on Court detail on board the USS Justice. Duty calls!

I would be much obliged to grace this ocassion and bear witness to the long awaited conjugation. You two met long ago. Along your voyages, circumstances left you both apart but God obviously decided to have you both crossing each other's path again and just like Captain William Riker and Counselor Deanna Troi, you two have sought to travel life's journey together into the final frontier!
"May the wind be in your backs"...

Labels: , ,

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Yo Joe!!

Warning! May contain spoilers!
(Click on the montage to go to the official movie site)

Finally! After all the disappointing purported summer blockbuster releases and the follow throughs (with the exception of Star Trek 2009 naturally) a movie adaptation which deserves two-thumbs up! G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra hit the silver screen. At least a special premier it did. I think it's due to be released on the 6th of August.

G.I. Joe is an acronym for "Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity"

The motivation for going for the movie is the nostalgia of reliving one of my favourite cartoon shows way back in the 80's. "Yo Joe!", the battle cry we are so fond of hearing and emulating. We all wanted to be Duke at one point. For me, I had always thought Snake Eyes was the coolest character in the series. I supposed it was reflective of myself way back then. I never said much...Snake Eyes didn't say anything.

For the uninitiated, G.I. Joe is fictional co-ed special joint task force comprising of the elite from all over the world, using highly classified and sophisticated, hi-tech military equipment and tactics. The man in the center seat is General Clayton 'Hawk' Albernathy (Dennis Quad). G.I. Joe does the job when every one else can't.
As General Hawk puts it,
"Technically, we don't exist. We answer to no one. And when all else fails, we don't".
I've always maintained a liking for Joe since grade school. Of course, back then, all we ever did was play soldiers with our cheap, plastic guns. But we understood the quintessential battle of good over evil as a universal acceptance.

The other side of Joe is Cobra, a highly organized criminal organisation which sole purpose is world domination. As corny as this sounds, the reminiscent theme of ages never fails to captivate me. I've always enjoyed special forces vs. criminal mind dichotomies. My favourite villain would be Destro, the Commander's 2nd in command. I won't divulge the backdrop of these characters since the movie's out. Basically, this movie paves the way for a sequel or a series of sequels, as the movie title suggests!

I did like the think the ninja characters (Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow) was incorporated seamlessly...else the characters would look corny. There is history behind these two as the movie unfolded....and then, there's the Baroness...I though her character brought back the "women are sexy in glasses" image....of course, I'm sure those in-build HUDs Incorporated lenses were hardly meant to be a fashion accessory...

Not surprisingly, CGI and special effects are the common tools for dramatic story- telling, but I still enjoyed the Joe and Cobra vehicles which is not too far off from the ones in the old cartoon series. Take the Night Raven (pictured above) for example. Wouldn't stealth aircraft aficionados think that its cool!! Almost dead ringer for the SR-71 blackbird at the heights of the Cold War.

The action, the drama and the suspense comes in less obtuse doses, unlike Transformers 2. I love a gradual build up rather than firing all and sundry at the audience. It feels a lot like the time I watched Independence Day back in 1996. There is a sense of victory and good-feel at the end of the movie. Though having the undertones of US of A propaganda, the movie does leave the audience (speaking of myself) a good 1 1/2 hour's worth of good old action-packed entertainment.

My personal rating: 8/10