You are not welcome here.

District  9 Movie Review

Nowadays, the concept of migration to another place or another country is not an unsual scenario for us. Finding a better place, a better life for ourselves always seem a good idea, but fitting into the ‘greener fields’ might be harder than making the decision to move. When a new group of people move into a different neighborhood, surely certain adjustments or even complications will surface.  What more if that group is not of this planet?

Most of the science fiction movies we’ve seen feature a more futuristic facade of aliens, flying cars, robots,  droids and touchscreens all over. And as time goes, it’s not difficult imagining that these things will come to be. But District 9 paints a portrait of what it would be like if the science-fiction becomes suddenly injected in present times.

In 1982, a large alien spaceship stops above Johannesburg, South Africa. Reports suggest that the ship became stranded after a command module separated from the ship and dropped to Earth, nowhere to be found. An exploratory team discovers a group of one million unhealthy and leaderless members of an arthropod-like extraterrestrial species who are given asylum on Earth. Some of these aliens engage in criminal and destructive activities, which lead to demands from the human population for more control. As a result, the aliens – derogatorily referred to as “prawns” – are confined to a government camp inside Johannesburg, called District 9. The camp is secured and, even with a massive police presence, soon turns into a slum. In the first decade of the 21st century, Multinational United (MNU), a private military corporation, is placed in charge of policing and relocating the now 1.8 million aliens to District 10, a new camp 240 kilometres northwest of Johannesburg.*

I didnt get a chance to watch District 9 when it first came out to theaters, but I was compelled to watch it because of the rave reviews I heard and there was a fair amount of public anticipation prior to its release. But when it finally came out, a number (actually all) of the people I knew who saw it said that it wasnt good. A waste of money. But I was still eager to see it, I still felt that I had to find out for myself if it was good or not. A few months later I downloaded it on torrent and as I watched this film, I somehow had the understanding of why ‘they’ said it wasnt good. The story was simple. The production setting was messy and it wasnt what you’d expect from a science -fiction flick that involved aliens coming to earth. District 9 explores the idea of how our current society and government would react if the aliens turn out to be immigrants rather than invaders. First of all, the creatures were hideous. They looked like oversized prawns, that’s why in the film they were dubbed as such and their stature were pretty much leveled down to homeless people on the street. I loved how Neill Blomkamp (the writer and director) made the alien technology exclusive to alien DNA. This is perhaps what I really liked in this film because if the aliens come here to live with us and in order for us (humans) to allow them to do so, we would have to get something in return. Parts of the movie were shot in a documentary kind of presentation and it narrates that the company assigned (MNU) to organizing the aliens immediately studied the alien weaponry. Much like saying, if certain people gathered significant technological advancement in the field of war, then those people can rule the world. This is why the United Nations strictly prohibits the possession of biological weapons everywhere. And as I’ve said previously, the alien weapons here are exclusive to alien DNA. But here comes our hero, Wikus, an MNU administrator tasked of the relocation program accidentally becomes injected with alien DNA. He becomes now a human who can operate alien technology. He becomes the focal point of the movie. I would have to commend the acting Sharlto Copley (Wikus) did. All the pressure and misfortune bestowed on the character is clearly seen on his performance. The computer graphics used were on a mediocre level. The setting of the movie was very thrashed so I think they didnt focus much on the reality of their CGI, as it wouldnt be much noticeable. But you’d know that the CGI elements were really pasted onto the film.

I think the best quality of the movie lies on the plot and the social issues it raises. The theme of how greedy and abusive authorities can be, how our society persecutes the things that are different and things we dont understand. This is a science-fiction movie that doesn’t appear like fiction and I like it. I think we should view this movie (as is all things) as what it is and not for what it’s not. For me, the movie achieved what it wants to be right on the spot and that’s always a good thing. And I think we should expect more good things for Mr. Blomkamp. So with that being said, I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

*Paragraph taken from Wikipedia


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