Wednesday, August 19, 2009

District 9 Movie Review

A rather unique concept to an outlived story line.

Note: Spoilers throughout this review.

District 9 is a sci-fi, thriller that’s directed by Neill Blomkamp and executive produced by renowned film director, Peter Jackson. The movie is based on the 2005 science-fiction short film, “Alive in Joberg,” which Blomkamp had directed.

District 9 was released on August 14, 2009 and did well in the box office, grossing $37 million in the U.S.

The beginning of the film explains how the government/humans showed empathy to the aliens that are unable to go back to their home planet. Since being “stuck” on earth for some 20 years, soon afterwards the aliens take advantage of the kindness shown to them. They are seen as an annoyance to humans and are then treated as outcasts.

In order to control the disruptive aliens, the government of South Africa moves them into make-shift homes in the slummy, outskirts of the city of Johannesburg. The aliens are seen as weak and part of the low totem pole of society that shady characters mistreat and take advantage of.

At first the movie comes off like a documentary, which gives the impression of a Cloverfield- like film. However, towards the middle of the movie, the format changes into a typical cinematic film.

What makes this movie’s concept unique is that past films that are based on aliens evading the earth, show these powerful creatures as being a great threat to the planet and it’s the humans’ job to stop them from destroying mankind. But District 9 is different. It shows segregation from an ethical and moral standpoint, though it’s about aliens. This notion in an alien film is bizarre when you think about it. Empathy for the aliens, or “prawns,” is only reached when the main character, Wikus van der Merwe played by Sharlto Copley, who’s a field operative of the Multi-National United (MNU), a private, “security enforcement” company that handles research in space-age technology and specializes in alien weapon-use, is assigned to relocate the 1.8 million aliens into a more appalling location that’s further away from the city.

Due to an unsuspecting incident, Merwe begins to face the same treatment as the “prawns.” These events allow him to better understand the aliens and develop a friendship with one of them. Towards the end of the film, viewers will find themselves rooting for the aliens and seeing the humans as the monstrous, villains.

The film’s ending is actually pretty sad and comes off as if it’s incomplete. But gives the impression of maybe a District 10 could be in the works.

Though being a good film, I disagree with critics that have labeled District 9 as being one of the best films of the year.

Despite District 9 having its fair share of gory scenes throughout the film, it contains more drama than suspenseful-action. The film is rated R and contains bloody violence and pervasive language.

Reviewer's Rating: 7 out of 10

Written by: Bridget Campos

Originally posted on August 17, 2009

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