I’ve heard a lot about ‘District 9,’ from amazing to overrated. ‘District 9’ is a project that came out of the defunct ‘Halo’ film that was supposed to be produced by Peter Jackson, and directed by Neill Blomkamp. Based on Blomkamp’s sci-fi short, Alive in Joburg, ‘District 9’ is a very original, extremely entertaining sci-fi film.
‘District 9’ itself is a reference to District 6, formerly a ‘whites only’ district in Cape Town, South Africa. In this film ‘District 9’ is a district in Johannesburg, South Africa that was created to house a large population of alien refugees, whose spaceship came to a stop just above the city.
The area has become a slum, where the aliens live in poverty, malnourished, and without a leader. The film opens in a psuedo-documentary style, and we are introduced to Wilkus van der Merwe (Sharlto Copley), a field operative for Multinational United (MNU), a private company whose interests are security for District 9, and weapons research.
Because the conditions in District 9 have worsened, Wilkus is in charge of “legally” moving the aliens to a new repurposed area, 200 km from Johannesburg. The aliens are segregated, and referred to by characters in the film as ‘Prawns,’ which is a derogatory term referring to the aliens.
I’d like to go more into detail about the plot, but saying anymore then this would seriously ruin the experience of ‘District 9.’ If the above sounds like something you find remotely interesting, read no more, go see it.
The film is definitely one of the most original science fiction films I’ve seen in a long time. It merges very real and relatable situations, but instead of a human race in ruins, it is a race from another planet. The characters don’t seem to know very much about the “prawns,” but they don’t care, they exploit them, and study them to learn more about their technology (specifically, their alien weapons).
Sharlto Copley is spectacular, his character starts out to be this weak, sort of comical bookworm whose out there in the slum trying to be a tough guy. But what his character goes through, we watch his character evolve to something much more. He did an excellent job, and I hope he’s an actor we get to see more often due to this film.
For his first feature, Neill Blomkamp made a film that rivals even the highest budget films of the summer, and he made it for $30 million. The effects were done by Peter Jackson’s WETA Digital, and they are spectacular. ‘District 9,’ is a film with a lot of heart, a lot of great action, great performances, and great story.
I hope this film paves the way for more intelligent action and science fiction films. Do yourself a favor, go check out District 9!