In spite of its waning efforts toward fulfilling a challenging allegory about the treatment of immigrant aliens--in this case with interplanetary aliens--"District 9" settles into a gritty, spectacle filled, sci-fi movie that borrows liberally from films like "Robocop," "The Fly," "Alien Nation," and even "Cat People." In a smog-filled 2010, a couple of million alien refugees, derisively referred to as "prawns" for their resemblance to the tentacled crustaceans, have been stranded in Johannesburg, South Africa for the past 20-years, with their gigantic inoperable spaceship left permanently hovering in the sweltering sky. The aliens have been imprisoned inside an internment camp ghetto set up by a government military corporation called Multi-National United, where they live in dire poverty under constant harassment by a gang of vicious Nigerian thugs that sell them cans of cat food and slabs of meat. Interested primarily in capitalizing on the alien weaponry that humans are as yet unable to operate, MNU orchestrates a plan to relocate the aliens to District 10, and installs bureaucrat wonk Wikus Van De Merwe (Sharlto Copley) to obtain alien signatures for the illegal eviction while searching for their unique weapons. Not entirely inept at his job, Wikus finds a hidden tube of precious fluid that causes him to undergo a DNA metamorphosis.
Produced by Peter Jackson (the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy), and directed by hotshot upstart Neill Blomkamp, "District 9" is a politically charged sci-fi thriller that makes "Terminator Salvation" pale by comparison. If only the screenwriters (Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell) had invested more energy in developing the film's humanist themes and anti-corporate satire, rather than milking action sequences and an overly sappy subplot with Wikus' wife, the movie could have achieved the literary punch they seemed to be going after.
(Sony) Rated R. 112 mins. (B+) (Four Stars)
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I thought that Distric 9 was a well written movie. I think that it is a metaphor for how human beings react to things that are different than themselves.
Posted by: michael tuffelmire | Aug 15, 2009 11:41:43 PM
It's a well thought out movie. Probably the best since "Alien". There are a few mistakes but overall an enjoyable time. Well worth the admission cost. Quite similar to "Enemy Mine"
Posted by: Guppy | Aug 22, 2009 10:02:54 PM
It wasn't just "anti-corporate satire." Multi-National United (MNU) sounds (and its soldiers, vehicles and inept bureaucrats looked) too much like the UN to be a coincidence.
Posted by: schizuki | Aug 24, 2009 5:50:12 PM