One million extra-terrestrials stranded over Johannesburg, South Africa. Trapped in a huge space ship, they‚??re starving. Unattractive, they look like 7 feet tall beetles crossed with lobsters. What would we do? Confine them to a crime-ridden shantytown slum on the edge of the city (‚??District 9‚?Ě), provide minimum services, forbid human entrance, and let the ‚??prawns‚?Ě ‚?? slang for our unwanted guests ‚?? fend for themselves. Twenty years later, the government hires MNU ‚?? Multinational United ‚?? to ‚??relocate‚?Ě 1.8 million prawns 200 kilometers away in what will likely be a concentration camp. Out of sight, out of mind.
Enter Wikus van de Merwe (Sharlto Copley), clueless MNU bureaucrat, who is to direct the relocation. He will report to his new father-in-law Koobus Venter (David James), managing director of MNU-South Africa. The operation goes badly from the beginning. Prawns refuse to sign the I-27 eviction form. MNU‚??s private military uses excessive force. An unknown alien virus infects Wikus. MNU scientists and Nigerian gangsters take special interest in Wikus. So does prawn Christopher Johnson (voice of Jason Cope).
‚??District 9‚?Ě is gritty, compelling sci-fi action with a serious political subtext. Neill Blomkamp directed and wrote the smart script with Terri Tatchell. Much of the story plays like a documentary, with real-time news clips and talking heads. From time to time, filmmakers drop the documentary frame and let the story unfold without commentary. As a sci-fi alien action flick, the story works. Watch for a cowboy shootout ending. Yes, there are plot holes. Discuss them on the way home. But the film is also a political tract. The film‚??s title uses the language of apartheid, pointing to South Africa‚??s history of enforced racial separation. There are references to ethnic cleansing, concentration camps, medical experimentation and other horrors. Discuss these on the way home, too.
‚??District 9‚?Ě is definitely adult fare. Deservedly rated R for pervasive bloody violence and language, it runs 111 minutes. Best alien flick since 1979‚??s ‚??Alien.‚?Ě
Gritty science fiction,
See ‚??District 9,‚?Ě
Best alien flick