Friday, August 14, 2009

District 9

Directed by Neill Blomkamp

Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell

Starring Sharlto Copley

Over the years, it seems Hollywood has its creativity, and most of the films we see made are sequels, or remakes of older classics. Just look at this summer; Wolverine, Star Trek, Terminator, and Transformers 2. With the exception of Star Trek (which was till now my favorite action blockbuster this summer), the rest of these films were either so-so or complete abominations. But sometimes, a few creative minds get together and make a completely new, original intellectual property. This is where District 9 comes in. And is, by far, the best, and most fun movie this summer.
Producer, Peter Jackson (who really needs no introduction, but for a few of you out there who don't know him, Lord of the Rings) oversees newby feature film director Neill Blomkamp. Neill's work prior to this project mostly consisted of some of the best advertisement commercials out there. Originally the crew was to make the Halo movie, but because of doubts of Blomkamps skill in directing, the project was pushed aside and they made District 9 instead. After seeing this film, there is no doubt in my mind that Blomkamp can perfectly execute a Halo, so please Hollywood execs, greenlight it.
Now, lets move on to why District 9 is so great. First is the backstory; twenty years ago an alien ship makes its way to Earth, hovering above Johannesburg, South Africa. For unknown reasons the ship cannot leave, so the aliens (also known as prawns, a nickname given to them by the people of Earth) are stranded on our planet. After many months of riots and violence between the two species, the prawns were relocated in District 9, which eventually turns into a slum with poor living conditions. I don't want to say too much about it, I'm all for people to go in and learn it for themselves.
Second is how the story is told. The first twenty minutes of the film is presented like a documentary. With interveiws from people of the city and the organization MNU ( Multi-National United), a company who has control over the aliens for science and weaponry study. Gradually the film moves out of its documentary style and moves into a narrative story.
Like in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Jackson hired WETA Workshop for special effects. And they are spectacular. Not only were they able to enhance the action sequences and make them absoutly thrilling. But they were able to make characters, fully fleshed out from CG, that you simpathise for and actually care about.
Summer blockbusters have a reputation for being big and dumb. Something you just go into, not expecting to find any substance to it, but just to gawk at. District 9, however, seems to have some very interesting underlying social commentary. One in particular is segregation, how because a people may be differant, or we don't understand them, we seperate them from ourselves, instead of trying to reach out. Or how these prawns were probably at one time a peaceful race, but because of the living conditions they were forced into, turned them dangerous and untrustworthy towards humans. It's just something to think about, which is a nice change from a big bugdet film like this.
So yes, District 9 is a must see. I can't think of one scene where I wasn't completely engrossed in the film. It's smart, fun, interesting, and I forgot to mention very violent. This isn't one to take the kids to. Make sure you experiance this while its still in theaters. It's a film that join along side other sci-fi classics in the years to come.

5 out of 5 stars


  1. A very good film. The only thing I would add is that while it is original, it does pay homage to the great B-movie alien / giant insects / communists attacking earth movies of the 50's such as 'Them' and 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers'. I also saw hints of the Wolfman in the lead characters performance. and the style of Blair Witch throughout. The neat thing this film does is to take the old worn out aliens / earthlings story line and shake it up so that it is new and interesting. Go see this film, as it could possibly be as influential as Blair Witch or the Matrix. And it's such good fun.

  2. Amen. Nearly perfect from start to finish.