District 9

You are not welcome here.

A million or so alien being’s huge mothership suddenly appear out of nowhere twenty years ago and just hover over a city like Johannesburg, and you were tasked to move them 240 kilometers away from their current settlement, how would you do it? Sounds easy?

How about when you are  just routinely checking out alien tech and just after a few hours you find out that your turning into one of them, losing one finger nail after the other, losing you skin bit by bit. Now what would you do?

Director Neill Blomkamp shares his vision of a world inhabited by Prawn-like creatures and a society who does not want them. An intelligent science fiction disguised as an action film, Wikus Van De Merwe, played by first-time actor Sharlto Copley, was tasked with moving 1.8 million ‘non-humans’ into a new settlement area brought by pressure from local residents. Appointed to be the head of this project, Copley played the character with unequaled brilliance. His character flaws made his character very human and very believable. He portrays his character with such depth that you would really think that he is a real person. What surprised me about him is that he has never acted before and all is lines were ad-libbed!

The plot was surprisingly delivered in a documentary style. My first thoughts were, “Why would they make a sci-fi/action movie with this style? It doesn’t seem fitting.” However as the story rolled out, I quickly understood that the character were brought to life in a different light as if you were really there. What I wasn’t comfortable about this movie was the pacing and the too many annoying interviews at the start of the film. The story was unfolding in a ‘ho-hum rate’ during the first half of the film, however it managed to pick up the time when I was about to ditch it. What I learned? Just be patient and the director might surprise you. (and he did!)

Stunning effects, alien weaponry and unexpected alien emotions were tha strong points of the film. All the aliens featured all throughout the film were CGI, except for the ones in the lab, and boy, would you forget that they were only animated! The world they created is extremely real and the level of realism was pushed to the limits. The alien mothership hovering towering skyscrapers, and the aliens scampering in the background were nice touches in the film.

History always had dark records of oppression, violence and corruption regarding interactions of a much larger social group to the OTHERS and it’s no different in this movie. This film presents real life hurdles the real world faces in this modern age. What’s the solution? That is yet to be seen, but for the meantime, District 9 shows us what we rarely address, what we do not act upon and how we react to social groups other than ours.

I applaude Director Neill Blomkamp, Producer Peter Jackson and Sharlto Copley‘s efforts for sharing such a mind-blowing and very unforgettable experience to humans like us. And if the ‘non-humans’ were real, I bet they would trade all their alien tech just to see this film.

For the record, I’ll gladly trade a hundred cans of cat food for a kick-ass humanoid robot.

Check out the official District 9 website here.

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