This science fiction movie offers something unique and it is the ultimate strength of the movie. It is a bit confusing and difficult to be digested in the beginning. However, the movie keeps moving forward, stamps its authority, and the bizarre things can be accepted as real things.
There is a huge alien mothership that, without any apparent reason, hovering overhead Johannesburg, in South Africa. After three months without any successful contacts, the government decides to enter the mothership. They find alien inside the ship alright, a million of them in fact. They are starving and living in a very sad condition because it seems that the ship has malfunctioned. The aliens have four limbs, walk on two feet, but their outward appearance is like the crossover of a bug and shellfish creature. Hence, they are nicknamed prawns.
The aliens are welcomed in the beginning. It is the first contact after all. The movie jumps directly to 20 years and the condition turns worse. There are lots of tensions between human and the prawns. In fact, the prawns are located in a prison like slump called District 9 under tight securities.
Here comes our main character Wikus van de Merwe, who is played brilliantly by Sharlto Copley. Wikus is a staff of MNU, the corporation responsible to manage District 9. One day, he is appointed to become the head of operation to relocate 1.8 millions of prawns to a new location hundreds of kilometers from the city of Johannesburg to ease the alien hatred condition there.
Unluckily, Wikus accidently exposes himself to a strange liquid from an alien canister. Soon, his body slowly transforms to become the prawns. MNU sees the condition as an opportunity to disintegrate his body and use it to operate alien weaponry. Wikus manages to escape and he allies himself with a prawn and his son to find the cure for his transforming body. As a pay off, Wikus helps them to escape to the mothership.
The concept of the movie is unique. It is difficult to interpret its meaning. It might indicate that we, human beings, are racists and we cannot accept others who appear differently. It also exposes that the government uses any means necessary to get what they want and twist the reality from the public. It shows that we have actually become barbaric inside although we look righteous from the outward.
The acting is brilliant, especially from Copley as Wikus. The cinematography is very good. Sometimes they switch from the news setting, to handheld, and to widescreen. It mixes perfectly and makes a unique experience for the audience. The special effects are sufficient as well, although as I said before, I think it’s difficult to make bad effects with current technology.
The biggest problem for me is the story itself. There are many sequences that are questionable. It seems that they are just being put there to make the story flow even though sometimes they are just so unusual. It also has loose ending and it might make you ask what the real purpose of the movie is. This is, I think, a love- or hate-it movie, depending on your preferences. For action lovers, you can expect to see some shooting matches intensified by alien weaponry and some blood is of course splattered generously along the way as well.
For more info on District 9, you can visit:
- Distric 9 official movie site
- IMDB - District 9 (2009)
"An (malfunctioned) alien mothership hovering over Johannesburg (for 20 years).