1 hour, 52 minutes
R Restricted. Under 17 Requires Accompanying Adult.
for bloody violence and pervasive language.
Deleted scenes; Director's commentary; The alien agenda: filmmaker's log-three-part documentary; Metamorphosis: the transformation of wikus; Innovation: acting and improvisation; Conception and design: creating the world of District 9; Alien generation: visual effects.
|This exciting sci-fi thriller is set in Johannesburg, South Africa, where 20 years earlier a spaceship appeared above the city and mysteriously stopped. Humans "rescued" the starving alien creatures inside it and rounded them up in an area called District 9, which quickly became a slum where Nigerian gangsters prey off the aliens that they call prawns. But the time comes when it is necessary to relocate District 9 further from the city, They pick a government agency/weapons manufacturer MNU, a private company uninterested in the aliens' welfare, but who will receive tremendous profits if they can make the aliens' awesome weaponry work. The put a bureaucratic character named Wikus Van De Merwe (Sharlto Copley) in charge of the operation. Wikus is a guy who married the boss's daughter and has spent the rest of his life happily pushing pencils.
As he serves eviction notices to the prawns who live in the assorted shacks in District 9, Wikus takes delight in firebombing their eggs and wielding his authority like a particularly obnoxious weapon. But when he comes upon a mysterious substance cooked up by Christopher Johnson, one of the aliens, Wikus almost immediately begins a transformation into the world's first human-alien hybrid. After the government initially tries to slice him up for research and weapons development, Wikus escapes and takes refuge with the aliens.
What follows is a fairly traditional search-and-rescue story, as Wikus and Christopher team up to recover the substance that transformed Wikus to begin with, First time Director Neill Blomkamp uses faux-documentary footage, news reports and security cameras combined with traditional photography to create its own kind of realism, giving the viewer the distinct feeling they are on the lam right next to Wikus. His handheld style is effective and never jerky; you always know where you are in the scene, which is especially critical since all the alien creatures look essentially the same.
The CGI aliens are a true marvel, as Christopher and his little son seem to be as real as any of the actual people. It's a pity that as we get to know them we don't learn even more about them. Why did they come here? Just how smart are they? What's their plan for getting back? That part is rather unclear. But Distrrict 9 is quite impressive not just as a debut feature, but as a new example of how to use original sci-fi as a mirror to our own world, and without blockbuster budgets and space battles. Producer Peter Jackson ("Lord of the Rings") has made something truly, remarkably original.