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A provocative science fiction drama,District 9boasts an original story that gets a little lost in blow-'em-up mayhem. Set in Johannesburg, South Africa,District 9begins as a mock documentary about the imminent eviction of extraterrestrials from a pathetic shantytown (called District 9). The creatures, it turns out, have been on Earth for years, having arrived sickly and starving. Initially received by humans with compassion and care, the aliens are now mired in blighted conditions typical of long-term refugee camps unwanted by a hostile, host society. With the creatures' care contracted out to a for-profit corporation, the shantytown has become a violent slum. The aliens sift through massive piles of junk while their minders secretly research weapons technology that arrived on the visitors' spacecraft.

Against this backdrop is a more personal story about a bureaucrat named Wikus (Sharlto Copley) who is accidentally exposed to a DNA-altering substance. As he begins metamorphosing into one of the creatures, Wikus goes on the run from scientists who want to harvest his evolving, new parts and aliens who see him as a threat. When he pairs up with an extraterrestrial secretly planning an escape from Earth, however, what should be a fascinating relationship story becomes a series of firefights and explosions. Nuance is lost to numbing violence, and the more interesting potential of the film is obscured. Yet, for a while District 9 is a powerful movie with a unique tale to tell. Seamless special effects alone are worth seeing: the (often brutal) exchanges between alien and human are breathtaking. --Tom Keogh



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CastNathalie Boltt, David James, Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope, Sylvaine Strike
DirectorNeill Blomkamp
Genre:  Blu-ray, Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Screen WriterNeill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell
DVD Release Date:  December 22, 2009
Runtime:  112 minutes
Studio:  Sony Pictures
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review by . April 18, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Most sci-fi movies about first contact with aliens are optimistic about humanity, portraying the event either as a chance for peoples of different nations to make common cause against alien enemies (Independence Day [Blu-ray]) or a moment that inspires us to reach for the stars (Star Trek VIII: First Contact). While fun, most of these movies feel more like fantasy than a probable reality.    District 9, by contrast, takes a different approach. This movies is about a first contact …
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