Tuesday, August 18, 2009
The Hurt Locker vs. District 9
Is there something wrong with NYC film audiences?
I like seeing movies in New York. I do. It gives me an instant gage of how the whole country feels about an issue. Because if you see a movie in New York, you are seeing a movie in your living room - albeit on a ginormous screen surrounded by strangers who just happen to stop by for a visit - but it's still your living room. This means, you are allowed to answer the phone, talk to the characters, lounge over the seats and when you're feeling extra hyper, run up and down the aisles.
This is also the reason why I hate seeing films in the city...but I digress.
Lately there's been a shift and I want to know if this is happening across the country.
THE HURT LOCKER
I call to mind two films - The Hurt Locker and District 9. Both of these films are rough and tumble. Both are fantastic. Both are not for the weary. Both are filled with testosterone. And, both are about war. However, and this is a big one - one involves aliens, and one is based in reality. I would like you to guess which film gained the bigger "KILL 'EM NOW!" response from the audience of the upper west side of Manhattan?
Which audience screamed louder? When the South African's aimed their AK-47s at the "prawns" or when Staff Sergeant James and Sergeant Sanborn aimed their guns at Iraqi's. Don't worry, I can wait.
Nope. The audience in Manhattan felt very sympathetic to our extra-terrestrial visitors, even they were threatening to murder our own species. The audience wanted them to be understood, to be helped and ultimately to be left alone. The Iraqis? They had to die, and die now. I honestly didn't know how to react when I was watching The Hurt Locker. This film is a tremendous film. It throws you down into the action and doesn't let go of your throat for two hours. And on many levels, it made me think.
I love action films. I love horror, suspense, and basically anything that involves a giant bug and a man wheeling a gun in which to destroy said bug. But I can tell the difference. There is a huge difference between Jason Statham kicking a drug dealer's ass and watching a massacre in Ghandi. But I was left with the question, can other New Yorkers? or have our sensitivities just shifted to the more alien? are we as a people frustrated with all of mankind? I for one, wouldn't mind living on a planet that's more peaceful than our own. Because lately, sitting in the audience of the AMC on 68th Street, this big green planet is starting to freak me out.