It was good--and light years beyond the American sci-fi films debuting this summer--but it should have been better. The last quarter of the film, while impressively shot and edited, pandered to the Hollywood "make the fourth act a big bang" syndrome. Likewise, the prawn child had a Disneyesque feel. And the protagonist seemed almost a parody in some of the early scenes; you had a hrd time believing he would be put in charge of the eviction operation even though he was married the boss' daughter. There were also annoying inconsistencies and anomalies. Why hide the canister of oil in the shack where it could be found if you had a concealed underground bunker? And what exactly was that oil--species shifter and fuel all in one? We never got a good explanation. And if the aliens had all of these impressive weapons, why didn't they use them to protect themselves? There were a lot of loose ends like these. Nonetheless, the special effects were stunningly achieved for a $30 million budget, the film actually had some moral heft to it, the Joberg settings were novel and interesting, and the protagonist deepened as his suffering increased. Best sci-fi movie of the summer? Definitely, but that's not saying much. Hell, I'd rate it the best sci-fi of the year so far, but again, that's not saying much either. Entertaining? Yes. But does its reach exceed its grasp? Also true, sadly. I gave it a B-plus, but with a little more effort, this could have been a classic.
Your review absolutely hits the nail on the head. I found both District 9 and Moon to be among the most astonishing science fiction films I've seen in quite a while--and for both of them to be out in the same summer was quite a treat.
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