I finally got the chance to catch District 9 which was released on 14 August. I wasn’t too sure about it since I had little info on the movie other than seeing some of the odd posters in weird locations. This movie is directed by Neill Blomkamp. The screen play is also by him and Terri Tachell and runs about 114 min. I came in blind expecting another weird alien/human interaction film. I came out with a different opinion on life.
The movie is about alien immigrants in Africa, Johannesburg to be exact, who landed about 20 years ago and live in the slums. They are a nuisance to the city and the authorities and are stuck here on earth since they are missing the control module to the mothership they arrived in. The film is a remake of "Alive in Joburg" that came out in 2005 by the same director. The main character Wikus (Sharlto Copley) is our nerdy, overworked, married to the boss’s daughter, stuck between a rock and hard place, MNU officer. He is in charge of having the Prawns (the hard-shell aliens) evicted from the slums to the new Govt. “Facility”, a concentration camp, far outside of the city.
In the process of getting these notices signed, Wikus is exposed to some alien black liquid that starts making him sick. His nails and teeth start falling out. He starts transforming into a Prawn and is now on the run from his boss/father-in-law, the Ceo of MNU. He ends up running into Christopher Johnson and his child, an alien working on getting off the planet. Wikus is working on getting his old human life back and in order to do that they need more black liquid which he earlier confiscated and sent to the lab. His wife doesn’t want anything to do with him and is on the run from MNU. He goes to the Slum lord for weapons. The slum lord wants to eat his arm in a ritual to get Wikus’s power since the alien technology only works with alien DNA. Wikus ends up killing some of the Slumlords men and the slum lord vows to get him. Wikus and Christopher raid the MNU building for the liquid. They are chased by the MNU army and back into the slums. Wikus ends up hitting Christopher over the head once he finds out that it will take 3 yrs to fix him. They capture Chris. Wikus tries to fly the control ship to the mother ship in the sky but He gets knocked out by rockets. Wikus then gets captured by the MNU and in the process of being taken out, the Slum boss attacks the MNU truck and pull Wikus out. Meanwhile, the prawn child is working on starting up the mothership from the ship that never made it. Wikus is about to get his arm cut off when the mech machine in the slumlord's camp turns on and starts killing the henchmen. It opens up, he jumps in and starts running, leaving Christopher behind. Right before they are about to kill Christopher, Wikus comes back and saves him, blasting the shit out of everything in sight. The MNU pulls out a large gun and shoots the Mech. He still keeps going and tells Christopher that he and his child have to make it and that he will hold off the MNU. In the melee, the Mech suit is damaged but Wikus has killed almost all the soldiers except for the sergeant. The sergeant sees an opening in the Mech suit, shoots Wikus in the back, and the suit spits him out. Lying there, the sergeant is about to shoot him but The prawns still in the slums come out and tear the sergeant apart. Christopher and child get pulled up via tractor beam to the ship and he leaves vowing to return in 3 yrs. It skips to the last part of the documentary where his wife and family are interviewed. No one ever sees Wikus again. In the final footage you see a prawn making a flower out of metal, which his wife in the documentary is holding.
I was a little nervous when I started the movie, saw that it was done in a documentary style and many times film makers just can’t get it right. I just can’t handle the jiggling camera and end up walking out i.e. Cloverfield. I was surprised at how well it was handled in this film. The film makers only did it part of the time. The rest of the movie was very well filmed in on the slums of “Joburg”. I also enjoy the lead actor Sharlto Copley's acting, he doesn’t have much acting history. I think he did a great job and I hope there is a 2nd film with him in it. All the creatures are CGI and were pretty well handled. Some of the wider shots were a little grainy, but not an issue. I much appreciated the fact that Wikus got some balls when he rode the Armored Mech.
Slum lord boss in a wheelchair, yes they are handy capable, but he was not that intimidating. He looked like Wyclef that fell in the tub.
The ugly truth. Movie is based on apartheid, segregation that happened in South Africa from the early 50's to about the mid 90’s. These slums are real slums in Johannesburg. The people that actually lived there were moved to better government facilities just as in the film. In reality a lot of them didn’t leave, like in the movie. The shacks and animal carcasses were already there. The only shack that had to be added was the one where Christopher lived. It is a sci-fi movie, but it shows you how things are for people in those parts of the world.
I was very entertained by this movie and at the same time kind of bothered that people actually lived like that. Aside from the aliens and the alien technology, this was not far off from the truth. I give this a TOV 5 of 5. I hope it educates and entertains others too.