District 9 (2009)


You are not welcome here.

Currently, ranked at #26 of the Top 250 of All of Time on IMDb is District 9. It is the brainchild from writer/director Neill Blomkamp who expanded his short film, Alive in Joburg into this current incarnation. After the disappointing announcement that the Halo movie was scrapped five months into production left Blomkamp and producer Peter Jackson into creating something great out of the broken pieces.

Over twenty years ago, an alien mother ship descended over Johannesburg. The officials were concerned about the public’s reaction to the aliens. After discovering the sickly aliens trapped on the ship, the government set up a township for the aliens called District 9. It is a heavily fortified compounded where the alien could live without much interaction with the human race.

Tensions between the aliens and the citizens come to a head when some of the aliens are restless and want to go home, but they have no resources to get back on their home planet. A company called Multi-National United (MNU) named a Michael Scott type guy,  Wikus Van De Merwe (Sharlto Copley) to head up the removal of the aliens to relocate them to another settlement outside of Johannesburg.

A camera crew comes with him to seek how his method works to try to get the aliens to cooperate with the removal processes. The first thirty minutes of the film was shot in a documentary style. During one of the evictions, he stumbles on a vile of alien bio-genetic material. He accidentally sprays it on himself as slowly his DNA is infused to the new genetic material of the alien. He becomes public enemy number one when the very company that he works for want to harvest him.

The movie deals the fun up a notch when the guy realizes that the world that he knew would never be the same. He teams up with an alien, Christopher Johnson to help himself out to clear his name also help the aliens find their way back to their home world.

There are obviously strong parallels towards Apartheid that crippled South Africa during the eighties, the interment camps during the height of WWII and the Jim Crow/segregation time when separate was equal. There is also a connection to swine flu panic is happening recently when he exposed to the alien material.

This movie is not the typical run of mill sci-fi alien action movie. This takes a pointed look at people’s reaction to things that they seem different. How they want to make it go away or destroy it. There is no clear-cut good guy/bad guy template here. The lines blur almost instantly. This ballsy move makes you appreciate the film even more for its originality.

This film should be a huge wake up call from Hollywood studios. You don’t need to throw $100 millions dollars to a movie that would turn out to be a piece of elephant shit like X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Terminator Salvation, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen or G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. This movie was made for a mere $30 million. The CGI looks a hell of a lot better than these “blockbuster.” The people from Jackson’s company WETA should be applauded for creating realistic creatures that lived and breathe. Learn something from this, Hollywood executives. Maybe you need to go back to the basics of filmmaking.

The atmosphere was fantastic. The performance from Sharlto Copley who has his feature film debut was great. The action sequences were solid. This movie is not for the squeamish. There are some blood, gore and vomit.

Judgment: Run, don’t walk to watch this movie.

Rating: ****1/2

Here is the Academy Award nominated short, “Alive in Joberg.”

About Branden

Branden: I am just your average movie nut that reviews films. Gives his take on pop culture and Hollywood happenings. Dreams to have his own thriving website and make a living doing what he is passionate about.

Posted on August 18, 2009, in 2009, Academy Award Nominee, Action, Crime, Drama, Running Feature, Sci Fi, Thriller, Top 250 of All Time on IMDB and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I really think that the marvel of the filmmaking (at its core) has been lost amongst the love it/hate it reaction that D9 has received. I keep reminding myself (and maybe others) that this was made for a mere (in these days) $30 million. It sounds ridiculous, but I think that’s perhaps the best thing about it and is remarkable. I thought much the same way about the smaller in scope and budget Moon, made for $5 mil. All of the other crap aside, that’s what impresses me the most about D9; as you say, watch and learn, filmmakers of Hollywood.

  1. Pingback: LAMBScores: District 9 | Horror Movies Blog

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