Thursday, December 24, 2009

REVIEW: District 9

District 9 

– R –

Released August 14, 2009

If you do not know what this movie is about, please refer to Wikipedia.  The detail in this description is better then anything I could come up with in a short period of time.

Yes, this movie is rated R, and it is justly so because of the language and gore.  Because of those two facts, many people would truly hate watching this movie.

I loved it!  It was compelling from the start as it was filmed as a documentary.
Set in Johannesburg, South Africa, the film looks back on when the alien ship first arrived on earth in 1982.  Hovering above the city for 3 months without any contact, humans decide to investigate and go up to the ship, but they find an alien race (somewhat looking like what I imagine the Buggers [Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card to look like), who have an insect quality.  Although throughout the entirety of the movie they look less "alien" and more human as we follow the interaction with Wikus (the main antagonist of the aliens, played by Sharlto Copley) who reveals that they are more human then most of the humans they connect with.  
District 9 is the section of land sanctioned for the aliens to live on.  Each of them live in shacks and are forced to live in squalor.  The racism in the film is thick, much like the way the movie was advertised with posters like this.  

As stated before, the film takes on a documentary feel at the beginning where Wikus, Sharlto Copley's character, is in charge of moving all the "non-humans" to a new area called Distict 10, over 20+ years after the arrival of the alien ship.  His job is to retrieve the signatures of the aliens, stating that there will be no resistance.  As the documentary goes on, Wikus is given away as a traitor.
Meanwhile, one of the aliens has been collecting a liquid from their technology for over 20 years.  The collected liquid is contained in a canister the size of two Red Bulls cans long.  So as Wikus searches through all of the homes of the aliens, he finds this canister, disrupts it somehow and becomes infected.  It takes a few hours for him to get the effects, but he begins to change into one of the aliens.  
Now, I have left out a key component of the story.  The aliens weapons are only operational biologically.  Though very powerful, humans cannot use the technology.  So when the government finds out what is happening to Wikus, he is tested and enlisted to be the main experiment.........meaning they are going to dissect him to find out how it works.  Luckily Wikus escapes, only to become a fugitive and find refuge in the part of town he was trying to clean out for his country.  
Wikus ends up helping one of the aliens return to his ship, because Wikus is promised to receive the antidote for his sickness.  But he learns that the alien must first return to his home planet to retrieve the technology and bring reinforcements to transport is kind home.  
So Wikus must wait....... for years to become human again.  

Not only do I love the SciFi element, but the story is very compelling, and yet predictive in parts.  There is a ton of action, yet equal drama to keep you on the edge of your seat.  Beware of the vulgarity and crudeness of language, especially the term "prawn" that is used for the insect aliens.  

The CG element is beautiful.  I love watching movies that look real!  It looked like part of our world history.  I only wish I could meet an alien and see into their soulful eyes.  This element alone shows that the CG element was tastefully done and there should be an award for those who did the animation.  

The moral is obvious, but worthy of bringing up.  Prejudice and racism happens in every country, between many races.  Unless you walk a mile in another's shoes, no matter who they are (alien or not, or even someone of your own family) you have no right to judge them.  
This is one of the main reasons I watch movies.  All of the effects make it entertaining, but the lesson I take from it will live longer than anything else.

I really hope a sequel is made.  There are so many things left unsaid, but sometimes that is the best way to end things.

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