District 9 (2009)
Directed by Neill Blomkamp
Produced by Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham
Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
Based on 2006 short film Alive in Joburg by Neill Blomkamp
Starring: Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope, David James, Vanessa Haywood, Mandla Gaduka, Kenneth Nkosi, Eugene Khumbanyiwa, Louis Minnaar, William Allen Young
Budget $30M Box Office $210.8M
IMDb 7.9/10 Rotten Tomatoes 90% Metacritic 81/100
Welcome to the world of chaos where the movie Outbreak mashes up with MIB. And it all happens right here, on Earth, in District 9, a small area in Johannesburg that houses aliens called “prawns”. These are definitely not the regular type of aliens we are usually presented with on screen in typical alien films (E.T. excluded) and it is clear that there is discord between the aliens and the people of Earth, but like I said, not fully in the typical way you would expect.
This film is so strangely and uniquely put together, some parts presented as interviews in a documentary, other sections are like home video research footage. Then there are the parts where it is filmed like any regular movie. Truly a very effective cinematic combination. Some would say this is a found footage film but, it goes way beyond that to me. And I don’t tend to like found footage films.
So, now these aliens, let’s talk about them for a minute. They are really where the story begins and ends. Aliens come to Earth seeking refuge from their own planet. There is some disagreement as to whether they should be allowed here so, the government sections of an area of the land in Johannesburg and corrals the aliens there, naming it District 9. When that proves to be a no-go solution, the aliens residing there are “evicted” from District 9 by the government that put them there to begin with and are moved to an even more cramped and desperate living area.
One of the people serving and executing these “evictions” is a man named Wikus van de Merwe. Wikus is traveling through District 9 serving eviction notices, getting the aliens to sign in agreement to the new living terms and bus them out. He has a camera crew and military support following him through the process.
While he believes he is right in what he is doing by serving these evictions to these alien refugees from outer space, he does NOT agree with the tactics, treatment and experiments being brought upon this alien community by the science and military personnel.
During one particular eviction they happen upon a cannister filled with a black liquid. Wikus confiscates the cannister, seals it in a plastic bag and keeps it to take to the lab for analysis. However, he is exposed to something incredibly toxic at a cellular level. Soon, he is not just a witness to the horrors he protests, but also a participant…and a victim.
Time is quickly running out and Wikus’s options are becoming more and more limited as he begins to experience the fusion of his DNA with that of the alien’s DNA, creating the first successfully “infected” human being.
You’re gonna have to watch to find out anything more. I don’t want to spoil anything.
My opinion of this film was that it was damn good. I could barely take my eyes off the screen and when I did, I missed something. Thank you, technology, for DVR. This movie had nonstop interest and action from the very first scene. Plus, there was an enormous amount of intensity throughout the whole film. I was literally on the edge of my seat with my hands over my mouth through over half the film.
The beauty of this little gem is not only the genius direction of Peter Jackson but also the incredibly awesome gory kill and splatter scenes. Not to mention that the CGI work is pretty freaking good.
Then you have the characters, which I must admit, are played just about as human as you can get. The disdain for those unlike themselves, the segregation of different types, the hate and maltreatment and abuse in such societal structures, all perfectly projected on screen for all to see. Not to view in a romantic awe of gunfire and explosions but more to be viewed as an alternative mirror image of ourselves and the problems we create.
All of that put together creates a frightening and intense emotional rollercoaster that you surely won’t want to miss.
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