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“District 9” Wins Due To Intense Action & Thought-Provoking Story

"District 9"There is a formula that filmmakers must follow when they make an alien movie. First, you have to decide if the aliens are going to be good or evil. Second, you have to decide which humans are going to help the aliens and which ones are going to try and harm them. Third, you have to decide what the aliens end game is. You know, whether they want to help the human race, enslave us, eat us, or just try to kill us all. There are other ingredients, but those are a few that you always find in sci-fi.

Due to using new ingredients, “District 9” tastes completely different. I’m not ruining the movie for you by saying that even after seeing the flick, you will not be sure why the aliens decided to plant their mothership above Johannesberg. You won’t know whether these aliens do want to harm us or just say hello.

The movie begins as a faux-documentary. We learn that the alien’s ship showed up over Johannesburg in 1982. A private military/science group called Multi-National United (MNU) enters the ship to learn that some two million aliens inside are malnourished and in need of help. The MNU builds an alien refugee camp, called District 9, outside the city in an effort to save the alien lives. Just as most human camps of this kind do, the alien camp becomes a slum and succumbs to crime. South African thugs move in and basically extort the aliens and the MNU is forced to police the aliens for illegal weapons and such. Not only do the aliens have to deal with their shack homes, lack of food, and bad humans, the general public has come up with a slang name for them, dubbing them “prawns” due to their shrimp-like faces.

The “documentary” follows Wikus Van De Merwe (Sharlto Copley), who is in charge of the MNU effort to move the aliens from District 9 to the more concentration like District 10 camp. During the move, we meet an alien named Christopher, who, along with his young son, is collecting some sort of liquid from numerous pieces of broken alien technology. While searching Christopher’s shack in the slum, Wikus finds this liquid and accidentally ingests some of it. It doesn’t take too long to see what is happening to Wikus, after he gets a black nose bleed and starts to painfully and grotesquely lose his finger nails. This also gets the attention of the MNU, who we learn has been secretly conducting tests on the aliens in an effort to, you guessed it, utilize their alien weaponry.

To give any more up would ruin the surprises and thrills, which are fast and furious. Trust me, this is one intense movie. The documentary-style film stops about midway through the movie and the intensity gets amped up even further. First time feature-length director Neill Blomkamp manages to make every single moment of the movie filled with suspense and a fear that something terrible is about to happen.

Since this film was produced by Peter Jackson, one would expect some great effects and “District 9” has some of the best I’ve seen in quite some time. The aliens are unbelievably lifelike. Every single one of them was CGI, but the detail is so amazing that you would believe they are actual practical effects. The action sequences are fantastic in the sense that you can always see what is happening and nothing looks fake, which is a big hang up for me these days.

The action is fantastic and will keep you glued to your seat, but the story is also quite clever. As I said earlier, you don’t know what the alien’s plan really is. However, you do know that the alien Christopher and his son are intent on getting to their mothership in an effort to contact their home planet. Their father-son relationship and the bond that eventually forms with Wikus is really what makes the movie go. You won’t find out how or why they end up working together from me, but it is well worth the price of admission to find out for yourself.

The Holy Grail“District 9” is truly a groundbreaking sci-fi movie. It has everything you would want in an action movie, including some thoughtful political commentary on humanity and our nature to fear what we don’t understand. If you can handle some extremely gory action (I am not kidding either, it’s nasty), this is well worth checking out.

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