‘District 9’ is more then another sci-fi movie.

Produced by Oscar-winning director Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings trilogy) and directed by South African-born filmmaker Neill Blomkamp, District 9 is an action-filled and gratuitously bloody film that explores the inhumane ways aliens are treated if they were refugees on Earth.
Several years ago, a mysterious spaceship appeared out of nowhere over Johannesburg, South Africa. After the getting the nerve to board the spaceship, government officials discover a tremendous amount of malnourished and dying aliens. Not knowing what to do with the aliens, the government relocates the aliens to District 9, where the aliens live in poorly made shelters and slum-like conditions. A private company known as the Multi-National Unit (MNU) hires an officer worker named Wilkus Van De Merwe (Sharlto Copley) to become a field operative in where they are responsible with evicting the extraterrestrials from District 9. During this operation, Wilkus contracts an alien virus that begins to change his DNA and finds himself an outlaw to the world and hunted by the company he once worked for.
District 9 is one of the most original science fiction films ever made in a variety of ways. The CGI in the movie is tremendous, but does not stick out like eye candy compared to a certain Michael Bay film with robots. The aliens in the movie are give the names “Prawns” and the design of the creatures are made to look scary and have the build of a warrior. While they make look scary, the Prawns are like humans and they do get upset and emotional, especially when it comes to one of their kind being gunned down in District 9.
Aside from the CGI, the make-up effects used to slowly transform Wilkus over a period of 72 hours upon his contraction of an alien virus is outstanding. The metamorphosis of Wilkus is almost reminiscent of Jeff Goldblum’s character in The Fly, as Wilkus’ teeth are involuntarily falling out of his mouth and his fingernails are deteriorating from his fingers. District 9 also shows evidence of Jackson’s fingerprints on the film when it comes to the gore, violence, mayhem and the various ways that humans are dispatched that has not been seen since Jackson’s 1994 film, Braindead.
As Wilkus Van De Merwe, Sharlto Copley does not only go through a physical transformation, but he also goes through an emotional metamorphosis. As the film starts, Copley plays Wilkus as kind of sweet, but naïve nerd who is given a big responsibility. Copley plays the ‘everyman’ in the District 9, an ordinary man who life as change under extraordinary circumstances as he understands what kind of discrimination that the Sprawns face every day.
The story of District 9 is unlike any sci-fi film, by mirroring many problems that South Africa has faced over the years and placing it an alternate history where real aliens are real. It also reflects the real emotions of the citizens of Johannesburg with their contemptuousness toward the arrival of illegal aliens from neighboring countries. The movie also mirrors what happen with segregation in the United States as stores and restaurants can refuse service toward a Sprawn.
Director Neill Blomkemp and his cinematographer/long time friend Trent Opaloch has certainly found an interesting to tell his story by breaking the rules in its style of shooting and using three different point-of-views to tell the story. While the movie tells their story through traditional filmmaking, it is also told through mockumentary footage with a unit following Wilkus doing his job at District 9. Another different component that the story is told through is real and existing footage from the South African Broadcasting Corporation and other news agencies that is used as exposition for the audience.
District 9 is one of the most original sci-fi films of all time since “The Matrix” that mirrors existing problems in South Africa, tells their story through different cinematography components and uses great CGI to make their aliens come to life.
DISTRICT 9: 5/5 stars


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