REVIEWS: 2009 Movie Review Retrospective

This is a retrospective of the movies I saw in theaters this year.  I’ve arranged the movies in the order in which I would recommend them.  You might notice that the listing doesn’t match up exactly with the ratings I gave them originally, but that’s the point in a retrospective.

  1. Avatar
    Yes, I’m going to do it.  I’m going to put the last movie I saw at the top of the list.  But this movie changes so much about movies in general, that I can’t help but put it at the top.
  2. Star Trek
    JJ did the impossible and made a great Star Trek movie that manages to both reboot and continues the series in a worthy manner.
  3. District 9
    Surprisingly good, partly because the ad campaign gave nothing away and partly because it was heartwarming and action filled.
  4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
    I think this movie can finally stand alone as a good movie, not just a good Harry Potter movie.
  5. Up
    It’s Pixar.  It’s funny, heartwarming, doesn’t talk down to you or your kids, and looks amazing.
  6. Drag Me To Hell
    A good balance of funny and scary, with a satisfying ending.
  7. Zombieland
    While Zombieland wasn’t exactly what I wanted, it was still tons of fun.
  8. 2012
    The world is literally falling apart and they want us to care about individual people?
  9. The Twilight Saga: New Moon
    My least favorite book of the series turns into a dull movie.
  10. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
    A movie built on the cliché that bigger is better, which it definitely isn’t in this case.
  11. Terminator Salvation
    Skynet reveals their big plan and its a Terminator with free will?  All I know is that it could have been worse.  A lot worse.  It’s still pretty bad.
  12. The Hangover
    Funny, but highly inappropriate.  Can’t really recommend it.
  13. The Men Who Stare At Goats
    Advertised as a slap-stick comedy, its more of a dark comedy, and not very comedic at that.
  14. Watchmen
    So long, so boring, so weird.
  15. Hannah Montana: The Movie
    Yet another “movie” version of a TV show that manages to not be a game changer, even when that’s supposed to be the moral of the story!
  16. Year One
    Probably the worst movie I’ve ever seen.  Unfunny comedy, cringe-worth dialog, every scene dragged on and on.  First movie we literally talked out loud about walking out of.

REVIEW: District 9 (2009)

Humans Only.
Humans Only.

Summary: Aliens are on earth and have been here for 20 years, only because they can’t leave.  Their ship is non-functional, left hovering over Johannesburg, South Africa and they’ve been kept in a government camp ever since.  Most humans don’t like that they’re still here, while others try to take advantage of them and their technology.

Thoughts: That Summary was hard.  I usually try not to give more plot away than the average trailer for the movie in the entire review, but the trailers were scenes specially filmed for the trailers or random scenes from the movie that give you no sense of the plot, which is great.  I went in only with the knowledge I shared in the Summary and was able to watch this movie having no idea what was going to happen, which put me on the edge of my seat the whole time.

The movie is framed with a mock-documentary, including interviews, shots from security cameras, and camera crews following some of the characters around.  Slowly it drops the documentary-style while the real plot starts (showing “what really happened”).

The plot is fast paced, with plenty of action, suspense, and some drama.  The acting is very well done, and the fact that the cast is full of unknowns helps keep you in the movie.  The aliens look real, which is impressive since they are almost 100% computer generated.  They are designed with enough humanity that you feel for them even if you can’t understand what they’re saying (they are subtitled).  The backstory is told well enough in the documentary part that everyone has an idea of what’s going on, but there’s still plenty of questions to be answered.  Questions I’d love to see answered in a book or graphic novel, or even another movie.  It’s not that this movie begs for a sequel or ends in a cliffhanger, its interesting enough on its own.  However the movie makes you want to know more and see more and find out what else happens.  And that’s the sign of a well-written movie.

I can’t wait to see what else is done with it.

Overall: Well written idea, well executed in a unique way.