District 9

Quite a few months late but I finally got to watch District 9, the much talked about, praised and discussed film by director Neill Blomkamp and producer Peter Jackson. For those who have not seen it, it’s very realistic shot; a lot of the movie is like a news documentary with some news footage & interviews thrown in. With themes of xenophobia, racism, segregation of sections of society, District 9 is inspired by events that took place in District Six, Cape Town during the apartheid era.

As you may know, a large mother ship approached earth and is stuck hovering over Johannesburgh after a peice of vital equipment drops onto our planet. The arthropod-like aliens are given refuge on Earth and are forced into slum like area called District 9. Humans have racist attitudes towards the aliens and derogatorily refer to them as ‘prawns’.  Sharlto Copely does a fine job as Wikus van der Merve, an MNU employee who is promoted to lead the movement of the aliens to a new area, district 10.

As the movie unfolds, Wikus is exposed to a dark liquid that the aliens use to power their ship. It is also has an adverse effect when some is spilled onto Wikus – it mutates his DNA into that of the ‘prawns’. He is soon treated as a lab experiment, as the MNU scientists discover that Wikus can now operate the alien weapons, which previously no human could do. When they decide to cut him open, Wikus escapes and as a fugitive finds shelter in District 9 and with ‘George’ and his son.

George & Wikus break into MNU and get the liquid fuel. After a tremendous stand off with the soldiers, Wikus let’s George & his son escape into the spaceship. George promises to come back in 3 years and help a mutating Wikus get back to be human again. Soon Wikus’s mutation is complete and he resembles the aliens completely. He makes metal flowers as gifts to his wife who hasn’t set eyes on him since the first signs of mutation. The illegal experiments on the aliens is brought to light and they are successfully moved to District 10.

Will the aliens return? Will they attack? Will George keep his promise and help Wikus? Unanswered questions that this wonderfully acted but dull at times film poses at the end. 8 outta 10.

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