Friday, August 14, 2009

District 9

District 9 is pretty awesome. I'm about as girly as you can get, so I was nervous about the aliens. This film has great special effects and is actually really interesting.

Producer PeterJackson (director of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy) was originally supposed to have 29-year-old Director Neill Blomkamp work on a film based on the Halo video games. When that fell through, he hired him to make a full-length film on based on Alive in Joburg, a short film Blomkamp had worked on.

Aliens have settled in Johannesburg, South Africa after their mothership has hovered above the city due to technical difficulties. The aliens, or "prawns" as humans call them, have settled in District 9, which essentially became a slum. They are unable to leave because of something that fell out of the ship making it inoperable. Crime and corruption is rampant due to the Nigerians.

The film is shot alternating between documentary-type interviews among scientists and scholars and real-time action shots. Wikus van der Merwe (Sharlto Copley, who reminded me of a South African Colin Farrell) has just been promoted in the private company Multi-National United (MNU) to help move the aliens to a new location out of the slums. It turns out that he's married to the boss's daughter, and the boss is a big sleezeball.

The aliens have advanced weaponry that can only be activated by them through their DNA, so MNU is trying to find out how to get access to these weapons. Poor Wikus is oblivious to this fact. He encounters an alien named Christopher who has a tube of black liquid that has taken him and his son 20 years on Earth to gather. He confiscates the liquid and some of it sprays on his face. It eventually starts to turn him into an alien. MNU wants to get his organs so that they can have them to harvest the power to access the alien weaponry. Wikus escapes and is on the run for his life.

It seems to me that the film was symbolic of something - intolerance, hatred, greed, the Apartheid? Blomkamp said in an interview with The Globe and Mail, "What it is meant to be is a whole bunch of topics that had an effect on me when I was living there. Topics I became more interested in once I left." Well, either way it's intriguing and the special effects are fantastic.

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