Saturday, August 15, 2009
District 9 ****
This is the scifi picture, you've been waiting for. It's the Schindler's List of the genre.
The movie starts documentary style. The aliens have landed of all places, in Johannesburg. Their craft sputtered around for years, and stopped. The inhabitants are malnourished. They came leaderless, and without intentions of war or new technology. The creatures were stranded, without fuel for their craft.
They were housed in a closed shanty town establishment called District 9. It was overcrowded and militarized, turned into a slum. Mass protests hit South Africa, because the creatures who are contemptuosly called "prawns," are accused of taking up social service benefits, that belong to humans. There are signs everywhere, humans only. They have an insatiable appetite for cat food. Nigerians start a cat food scam.
A private company called MNU (Multi-National United) is contracted to relocate the aliens from District 9 to a new camp outside the city limits. Of course, MNU is secretly interested in figuring out a way to use the sophisticated alien weaponry, which apparently can only be activated using alien DNA.
Sharlto Copley plays Wikus van der Merwe, an MNU operative, assigned to lead the eviction of the prawns. He is a back slapper type, who during an eviction, accidently spills a cylinder of alien material on his skin, causing his slow transformation to a prawn. His value is he has both human and alien DNA, and could be exploited by MNU, for their goal of the weaponry. Sharlto is a young DeNiro quality actor.
Director/writer Neil Blomkamp grew up in South Africa. The story is based on District Six, Cape Town is the name of a former inner-city residential area in Cape Town, South Africa. It is best known for the forced removal of over 60,000 of its inhabitants during the 1970s by the apartheid regime — a historical basis for the MNU's eviction and relocation of the "prawns".