It’s almost too much to watch District 9 and Avatar in the same week! They’re both the big sci fi movies that stick in your brain for days or weeks afterward.

Where Avatar is the huge, overwhelmingly engrossing visual experience, District 9 is much more about the concept and acting. Don’t get me wrong – the visuals were great – but they were subtle enough not to distract and draw attention away from the story itself. I don’t think it would have been more compelling visually in the theater than it was at home on the DVD player. Both movies dealt with the idea of a humanity that finds itself in a position to exploit the aliens, rather than just fight for their survival (like most alien encounter movies), and both took a pretty dim view on what humans would do, but while there were a lot of similarities, Avatar felt mythic and simplified and heroic, and District 9 felt gritty and human and real. It’s like the difference between watching Star Wars and, say, Heat.

Kim isn’t too excited to watch it, since the aliens look sort of like cockroaches, but I’m working on talking her into it.