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District 9

A 2009 science fiction / action film directed by Neill Blomkamp.

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Great action movie; but did not deserve a Best Picture nomination

  • Mar 13, 2010
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Movies about aliens on earth have been popular going back to the black & white days, so it is really hard to come up with something new and original. There have been several that were noteworthy. Maybe the first was the original War of the Worlds, followed by The Day the Earth Stood Still, in which we encounter the god-like aliens who come not to destroy, enslave or uplift mankind, but to discipline us. Spielberg released the next two milestones. Close Encounters of the Third Kind was probably the first movie to really explore how individuals, communities, and governments would react to the appearance of UFO's. E.T. personalized the encounter and put a friendly, if not humanoid face on the otherwordly visitors. Both movies also featured the most memorable soundtracks of alien movies. After this, special effects and CGI become widespread and Hollywood is annually producing at least one expensive, though not always profitable, movie about aliens landing on earth. Examples include Independence Day, Starship Troopers, X-files, Starman, Predator, Superman (remember, he is from Krypton), etc.. However, after E.T., none of them has ever earned a major nomination from the Acadamy Awards until District 9.

Produced as an indie film, and set in South Africa of all places, District 9 is probably the best alien invasion movie this decade. All the norms of alien films are turned upside down; the aliens are technologically advanced, but not advanced enough to keep themselves out a slum. And instead of having smooth skins with nice uni-color suits; they look like prawns. And they love catfood. And instead of coming to Earth as visitors, conquerors or predators, they got stuck here, either lost or as refugees. This is the backstory of District 9. The main plot is about a bureaucrat who is accidentally exposed to some sort of biowarfare agent, and begins to transform into an alien. As this occurs, he is hunted down by humans who want his body for various reasons.

This movie is superficially a sci-fi action flick, but it also has scenes of tragedy, comedy, suspense, and drama. In short, it is a complete movie that explores the human condition in many aspects. I however did not think it deserved a best picture nomination from the Acadamy Awards as there were too many plot holes in it. Many of these are highlighted in other reviews for this movie, so I will list the most visible ones. First of, why isn't the area below the spaceship evacuated? Second, the aliens clearly own superior technology in terms of military hardware. Why don't they use this hardware to free themselves from their slum? Third, how did Wikus and his alien friend, Christopher, manage to escape District 9 and navigate to the MNU corporate headquarters without anyone noticing them? Fourth, why did Wikus not see a doctor after being exposed to the black liquid. He knows he is sick, especially after his fingernails start coming of.

So overall a good movie, but not a great one. But as an indie movie, it was probably the best indie movie of 2009. For its low budget, the special effects, cinematography, set design, costume design, basically everything technical, is spot on and up to par with any big budget Hollywood flick. This is telling, and highlights how expensive big name actors and actresses are, and how their salaries tend to comprise the biggest chunk of big movie costs. Worth the watch, and buying this DVD.

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More District 9 reviews
review by . April 22, 2011
Okay, I'm a pretty big sci-fi geek. I watch numerous sci-fi shows and I'm a big fan of most sci-fi films. I enjoy watching science fiction be used as a platform that explores deep personal truths about the human condition. Every good sci-fi movie reveals something deep about ourselves, but amongst the good ones, there are terrible sci-fi movies that never should have seen the light of day. I'm normally an easy reviewer and I'll even give a bad sci-fi film some credit every once in …
review by . December 24, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
District 9 is one of those movies that I bought on DVD (though I soon upgraded to blu-ray) on a whim and wasn't burned by a bad movie. This was one of those times that I wish I watched the movie in theaters, and that when the hype behind a hit movie is largely justified.      STORY      In 1982, a giant alien ship grinds to a halt above Johannesburg, South Africa. The aliens are referred to negatively as “Prawns” for their scavenger-like personalities, …
review by . August 14, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
   Co-produced by Peter Jackson, the acclaimed director of the “Lord of the Rings” and directed by Neil Blomkamp; ‘DISTRICT 9” screams “Cult Classic”. Blomkamp has adapted his short film called “Alive in Joberg” and has crafted a film loosely inspired by the events of District 6 in South Africa. “District 9” collects some familiar pieces of history, science fiction elements, and some cool action in a tale which is mainly a retelling …
review by . August 26, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Alien mothership...
   The idea of using science fiction and horror stories as a way of discussing taboo or controversial social, political, and religious themes is nothing new. Since the birth of the horror genre, which came into being after the popularity of 18th century gothic romance took off, and since science fiction was first acknowledged as a genre unto itself in the late 19th century, the two have often dealt with issues that were considered to be of the utmost social importance while disguising …
Quick Tip by . June 01, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Despite the movie's less-than-subtle messages about humanity, I found this to be a strong film because of the fact that the characters have decent levels of depth to them, which is one of the main deciding factors for why I like District 9.  In particular, I found Wikus's change in character, physically and in terms of personality, the most interesting.  The cool action scenes and visual aesthetics to the Prawn technology are also helping factors with this.      …
review by . April 09, 2011
  District 9 begins when a very large star ship lands in South Africa during 1982. These are aliens called "the prawns" and are initially welcomed by the human race. Now, twenty-eight years after this, the aliens are stuck and mistreated in a beat up, worthless camp called District 9. The Multi-National United, otherwise known as MNU, cares very little for the alien race, but has strong interest in their advanced weapons. An MNU field operative, Wikus Van De Merwe (Sharlto Copley) …
Quick Tip by . September 07, 2011
I've seen this movie multiple times now, and still haven't managed to review it yet. It's a brilliant look at racism, segregation, and seeing these topics from the other side.
review by . June 07, 2010
The movie started off slow and directed like it was a documentary.  A mothership of aliens comes to Earth and stays hovered over  South Africa.  A military orginazation (NMU) sends a team of helicopters and moves the aliens to live in District 9, a hovel fillled area.  The aliens are called "prawns" and like to eat catfood.  The aliens also bring very advanced weapons that NMU is very interested in.  Unfortunately only the aliens can fire them because the …
review by . December 30, 2009
One of the greatest science fiction films of all time...
I've seen Sci-Fi films that try and fail miserable to get that emotional reaction from audience by telling a recycled story and a dried up plot. But I'm finally happy to report that there is such a Si-Fi film, and this film is called "District 9."          District 9 tells the story of a lone man, who is infected by an alien biotechnology and him and him alone becomes the only hope for the salvation of the aliens. It's a powerful film that resonates with Science …
review by . May 23, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
'District 9' is one of those movies that blindsided me - I had heard a little about it before seeing it, but few specifics. I was excited and hopeful, usually signs that I'm about to be disappointed. Not only did the film not disappoint, it went well beyond any expectations I had of it.    In terms of story, it's a film where very little is as it initially seems. You are presented with a deceptively simple scenario - a large alien craft has sort of broken down over Johannesburg, …
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Newton Ooi ()
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Hi everyone, so here is the rundown of me. I like reading and writing, nonfiction for both. I love movies, especially original ones. I like nonfiction music, eating out, and basketball. I love to travel, … more
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About this movie


A provocative science fiction drama,District 9 boasts an original story that gets a little lost in blow-'em-up mayhem. Set in Johannesburg, South Africa, District 9 begins 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 ...

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Director: Neill Blomkamp
Genre: Action, Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Release Date: August 14, 2009
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell
DVD Release Date: December 22, 2009
Runtime: 112 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures
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