Monday, August 17, 2009

District Awesome

One of my all-time favorite science fiction movies (aside from Star Wars) is Aliens 3. I know, probably not a popular choice with you die hard sf fans. But the dark tone, bizarre prison characters, and the overall general feeling of the film really appeal to me. It came out in like 93? Anyway, -I went to see District 9 this weekend. (第九区 (di4 jiu3 qu1) in Chinese.)
Hands down the best original science fiction movie I've seen in years. Usually "science fiction" films are some kind of sf-horror hybrid which suck. This year's Star Trek was awesome, but based on an old series so not counted as "original."

The movie takes you to a near-future South Africa in which aliens are a part of society, although an unwelcome part. They are relegated into ghettos and treated like crap, and without giving anything away - THEY ALL DIE!!! Just kidding. It deals with prejudice and racism and other bias issues and it does it in a way that is really clever and not in your face, but it is pretty obvious: the good guys are compassionate and the bad guys are the bigoted monsters. It is obvious, that is, unless of course you are a complete idiot.

Which brings me to the point of this missive! As I was walking out of the theater, a guy in front of me was wearing a t-shirt that said: "No Mas," (no more in Spanish) and had a graphic of a circle-slash through the Mexican flag. It was funny because in the movie there are signs like that all over but they say "humans only." I had a strong urge to tell the guy to go see the movie again and think about it fer-gods-sake. I didn't, but I was sort of dumbfounded that a person would bother to go see a really good movie but have the message completely lost on them. Not that I see movies for their "message" necessarily, but in this case the irony was exquisite. Oh well.

So, here is my latest sketch! It is for a drawing contest with the theme: Time-switched battles. I drew the pencils, then scanned it and printed it out in really light blue. THen I inked over it, and finally colored it in with colored pencils. So much fun! Her face is a little weird, but overall I like it.

There, I posted in August. Phew!


Susan Moger said...

She is one fierce damsel! Love the CCCP and blimp, robot knight, etc. etc. Glad you posted in August. District 9 is still on my mind often. I want to see it again. But the interesting evolution of feelings about the aliens is all in the first viewing.

Tom Gordon said...

Wow Ben, that's awesome! Whatever advice they've been giving you at Penciljack is clearly working. This also reminds me I need to get out and post sketches on art forums again, for some badly-needed ego crushin-- er, constructive criticism.

BTW, if you're considering learning variable-line inking, order one of these sweet Pigma Brush pens. They're cheaper than a sable, and infinitely less messy. Lately I've been trying to replicate Coop's process with them, without much success -- there's clearly a repetitive "wax on, wax off" element to handling a brush. (Or maybe it's the muscle memory that's being trained, dunno.)

I know "District 9" was a spin on apartheid policies, but even so, I have trouble believing humans would be so dumb as consign the prawns to such an existence -- especially when there's clear evidence (giant hovering ship, particle weapons) that their spacefaring civilization is far more technologically advanced than ours. The ex-slave labor scenario in "Alien Nation" was more plausible, but then it also probably wouldn't have allowed for awesome mecha suit battles, and the spectacle of humans exploding like overly microwaved potatoes...

Ben Moger-Williams said...

THanks Tom!
I did get a hold of a Pigma brush and I like it. Still getting a handle on the proper variations in line weight and all that, but it sure is fun to play with it all!