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486 of 568 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Film of 2009
Note: For those who have not seen the film, there are no "spoilers" in the review. The plot details I list have little to do with the focus of the story aside from providing exposition.

"District 9" is one of those rare gems that immediately immerses you in its world. Beginning in medias res with stark images of a massive spacecraft hovering over Johannesburg,...
Published on August 21, 2009 by Leif Sheppard

versus
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Starts out quirky but gets better
District 9 is an exciting, though provoking film. It is delivered in the low tech environment of a typical South African city and ghetto town of our current time. The movie starts out a little quirky but picks up focus and direction well, and really gets going around 30% in.

HOWEVER, beware, that this is most definitely NOT an exploration of aliens, of humans...
Published on April 6, 2010 by Robert Johnston


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486 of 568 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Film of 2009, August 21, 2009
By 
Note: For those who have not seen the film, there are no "spoilers" in the review. The plot details I list have little to do with the focus of the story aside from providing exposition.

"District 9" is one of those rare gems that immediately immerses you in its world. Beginning in medias res with stark images of a massive spacecraft hovering over Johannesburg, the audience quickly discovers it's been there for over thirty years by the time our story picks up. For months after the craft appeared the Earth waited for a response. When none came, the decision was made to send special teams to board the vessel and finally get some answers. What they got, instead, were more questions.

The aliens inside were malnourished, unhealthy and their intelligence appeared to be below that of most humans. Labeled "prawns" due to their appearance, the aliens were removed from the ship and placed into a temporary encampment known as District 9, which has rapidly deteriorated into an outright slum. Enter Wikus van der Merwe, a seemingly naive yet likeable fellow employed with Multinational United (M.N.U.), the pseudo-U.N. organization tasked with handling the prawns. He's just received a promotion and is ordered to relocate the prawns to a newer camp set up in an area more isolated from humanity.

While the scope of "District 9" seems initially epic, the film wisely follows a very focused tale centered on Wikus and a prawn known as Christopher. As the story unfolds, the development of these characters is outstanding - particularly for an action-oriented film. A lesser film would've transformed Wikus into a more compassionate person as the events transpired, perhaps even culiminating into some sort of freedom fighter for the prawns. With this film, however, we're finally presented with a very real, very flawed character.

Even at his best, Wikus is a wholly self-serving individual and stands as a damning indictment of humanity as a whole. His most selfless act in the film is tempered by the fact that it's still in his best interests to do so. Christopher is, ironically, the most human character here and is unquestionably the most deserving of sympathy. Yet it's interesting to note how many still think Wikus is the true victim of it all. Watch how cunningly manipulative Wikus is when he's attempting to evict the prawns. His demeanor is slick and polished. He uses bribes, lies, and outright threats against them - not to mention the intimidating image of armed soldiers and armored vehicles surrounding the prawns.

The documentary format in which the film is shot is a phenomenal aspect and one which is very original and innovative. Technically this technique has been used before, but it's typically in something like a Christopher Guest comedy and nothing substantially riveting aside from humor. Some have critiqued this film for dropping the documentary style mid-way through and becoming a more action-oriented film. However, had they paid closer attention, the reason for this is quite evident. It's made clear at the beginning of the film that the persons providing the commentary have no idea what happened to Wikus, or indeed what really happened in District 9. M.N.U. predictably covered it all up and only the audience is privy to what really occured. Their commentary mid-way through the film would've been precisely what it is at the end - mere conjecture and thus useless to the audience.

Further, some have felt the film draws large plot elements from a myriad of other films such as Enemy Mine, Robocop, or Alien Nation. This can hardly be a criticism, because "District 9" incorporates elements from these films in only the broadest sense possible. It's akin to declaring that American History X is influenced by To Kill a Mockingbird or Hart's War is influenced by The Great Escape. While there may be a modicum of truth to this, the respective narratives are much too wildly divergent to be categorized in this manner. I can agree, however, that it seems very unlikely (even for a science fiction film) that the fuel/fluid could perform both the uses it does in the film. Still, this plot device provides an excellent catalyst for what transpires and is entirely forgiveable.

I've read some critics believe the themes are a bit on the nose, and while I definitely concur that occasionally a subtle route is best, "District 9" is so thematically rich and the narrative is complex enough that this rings as a hollow criticism. "District 9" is, on the surface, an action film. Yet this film has more to say about human nature than any film in years. If this weren't so, how else could a film about alien creatures on Earth feel so real?

The polarizing opinions and wildly diverse interpretations of this film are precisely what writer/director Neill Blomkamp was aiming for. It's been labeled as both a brilliant allegory of apartheid and of the Iraqi war, it's been accused of somehow being a 'racist' film, while others simply see it as violently offensive rubbish. Many watch "District 9" and cannot see the forest for the trees, they simply cannot see past the gore and violence to the core of the film. Further, they want the film to provide answers and solutions, when the truth they're unable to face is that there are no viable solutions.

These spirited debates, in a sense, mirror the ones in the film concerning the handling and treatment of the prawns. Ultimately, whether you like or dislike this film, it'll almost certainly have you talking about it for days afterwards. This can be credited to the fact that, once the smoke clears, there is a very real beating heart at the center of "District 9" (provided you're able to look beneath the surface). In the end, these are the true marks of a lasting, important film.

* The text hereafter refers to the features included on the 2-Disc DVD of "District 9". As this assumes you've already seen this film, fair warning, there are spoilers below. The disc has two menu screens, one in an M.N.U. design and one in a prawn design, the difference between the two being entirely cosmetic. It's a nice touch to a fantastic home video release. The first disc contains three special features: a fine selection of deleted scenes, a making-of featurette, and a commentary track with director Neill Blomkamp. There are roughly twenty-three minutes of deleted scenes that shed a little more light on Blomkamp's vision. Almost all are little more than a minute each and a few have incomplete special effects (much like the ones from the recent "Star Trek" release). A handful are uninteresting filler, but the best ones range from a scientist explaining the reproductive habits of the prawns to one which depicts Wikus forcefully stealing the vehicle he drove to the M.N.U. headquarters. While I enjoyed the scenes immensely, I feel it was a wise decision not to offer an "extended" version of the film. The pacing of "District 9" is lighting quick without feeling rushed, something that the addition of these scenes would've ruined entirely.

Next is a thirty-four minute making-of featurette which offers a generalized overview of how the film was conceived, shot, and edited. I'm not typically interested in this sort of thing, but a film like "District 9" is anything but typical itself, so I found this highly entertaining. It's precisely what one expects from a feature of this sort - plenty of interviews with the cast & crew along with some great behind the scenes footage. Watch for an amusing scene where Sharlto attempts to eat his lunch using his alien hand. Rounding out the first disc is a commentary track which is also excellent, well-stocked with Blomkamp's wealth of tales and comments about the genesis of the film. If he at times spends a bit too much time describing rather personal details, they still only serve to provide deeper insight into the film, especially considering Blomkamp was such an integral part of the film's creation. There are plenty of details covered here that aren't mentioned in the other features, though some of it could be considered a bit extraneous. (All of the above is also included on the single disc version.)

The second disc contains four featurettes which in toto run approximately forty-five minutes. These are focused on a specific aspect of the film's production, as opposed to the more generalized feature on the first disc. The first is called "Metamorphosis" and highlights how the makeup crew gradually transformed Sharlto Copley's character from human to alien (if you liked seeing how the "Benjamin Button" crew transformed Brad Pitt, you'll love this one too). The second is "Conception and Design" which details the inspirations and ideas that led to the creation of the film. It's interesting to watch Blomkamp acknowledge previous sci-fi films that served as templates for the themes he wanted to flesh out with his own film, while simultaneously illustrating how brilliantly original the mechanics of "District 9" are. The piece begins with some great photos and information on how Weta Workshop created the unique alien weaponry. The third is "Alien Generation" which delves into the special effects work. This primarily focuses on the mechanics of creating the aliens and making them interact seamlessly with the human characters. The fourth is "Innovation" which details Blomkamp's approach to directing the actors in the film, along with how he felt improvisation was the key to making the film feel more organic. All of these features have tons of interviews and comments from the cast & crew (including Blomkamp & Copley).

The Blu-Ray version includes all of the above as well as the ubiquitous digital copy and an exclusive feature called "Joburg from Above: Satellite and Schematics of the World of District 9". This is a unique feature which allows the user to explore sensitive locales on both the alien and M.N.U. sides with an interactive map. Also included are a couple of newish features popping up on all new Blu-Rays: the "CineChat" feature, which allows users to chat with friends while watching movies; and "MovieIQ" which provides a large database of technical information about the film. For those who are interested in this sort of thing, there's also a demo for a video game called "God of War III" for the Playstation 3 which includes a making-of clip once the demo is completed. I don't own a PS3 so I can't comment on the quality of this feature. A final note: the one feature that many hoped would be included is absent on all versions, which is the original "Alive in Joburg" short that inspired the film. However, the short can easily be located and viewed online.
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47 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good, July 31, 2010
This review is from: District 9 [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
At first, the plot and characters in this movie seem quite bizarre, but it eventually becomes apparent that the movie is clearly and faithfully illustrating a theme which is natural to the human condition. That theme revolves around what happens when a minority group lives in the midst of a majority group, with the division into different and opposing groups being established based on their differences in ancestry, appearance, language, diet, and other cultural traits.

In such a situation, the majority group may grow to detest the minority group and unjustly blame them for many of their own troubles, and they may even be tempted to exterminate the minority group (ie, genocide), but their instincts will usually tell them that that's going too far. Instead, the minority group will usually be allowed to continue to exist, but they'll be geographically cordoned off and their rights will be limited, so that they suffer deprived circumstances, including epithets, physical abuse, poverty, exploitation, and crime.

Again, the movie illustrates this (important) theme well, and in a way that there's no question about who the minority group is and the ways in which they're being mistreated. I found the movie gripping, and I suspect that I'll remember it for a long time.

If I have to come up with a negative criticism of the movie, I would say that perhaps some of the violence is over the top, and I wonder if it was necessary to include Nigerians among the really bad guys (given that their reputation is already bad enough).

Nevertheless, I do recommend this movie. It's much better than I expected, and it does its job well enough to warrant a full 5 stars.
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141 of 182 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbound!, August 28, 2009
Just watched the movie at the opening night and I am spellbound! Firstly, I am living in Johannesburg and was absolutely amazed at many a subtle hints and glances at history this movie gave. There were too many moments that only living in Johannesburg will make one truly understand what the director was hinting at, and all done and put together brilliantly in a way I haven't seen done much before. Secondly, I simply loved the way Neil (btw never heard of him before) didn't conform to the traditional and all too cliched Hollywood sci-fi recipe, and wasn't scared of breaking lots of Hollywood cinema 'laws'. Alien ships always land somewhere in the US, aliens are always here to kill us with no reason, we always are the experts in solving any issues in the end - none of these were followed. I read some reviews of the film being too racist, xenophobic, sexist etc. which were issues that I believe the director was actually trying to highlight to us, rather than capitalise on them. And these are real issues well and alive in many countries outside of South Africa, not sure why people pretend to see past and overlook them as if life is all perfect. In conclusion, a very thought-provoking movie for me that combines great elements of sci-fi action and storytelling - and maybe the message is, sometimes to be human again we have to think like and become alien.
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111 of 147 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The absolute best movie of the summer, October 20, 2009
District 9 is something that perhaps no one saw coming, and ends up being the absolute best movie of the summer hands down. Produced by Peter Jackson and helmed by Neill Blomkamp (the director Jackson hand picked for the shelved Halo movie), District 9 depicts an alien race that came to Earth on an emergency basis a couple decades before hand, and have since become refugees in a violent slum in Johannesburg. Bureaucrat Wikus (Sharlto Copley) is charged with serving eviction notices to the alien "prawns", and through a mishap, ends up undergoing a horrifying transformation that makes him a wanted man by everyone. As he and a prawn dubbed Christopher Johnson become unlikely allies, things begin to really kick into high gear. Beginning as part mockumentary and part satire on apartheid, District 9 takes its time to become a bloody full-blown action/sci-fi opus that stays with you long after the credits are done rolling. What also helps make District 9 so good is that you truly never know what is going to happen next. The sheer unpredictability of the film helps make it so magnetic, and newcomer Copley manages to be hateable, likable, and sympathetic all at the same time as his character continues to develop and change (literally) as the film goes on. All in all, District 9 is an incredible science fiction film that features equal parts action and heart, and in a bloated summer full of empty blockbusters like Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, G.I. Joe, and the like; it is indeed refreshing to see something like this on the big screen. Do yourself a favor, don't miss out on District 9.
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42 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars intelligent viewers only I guess, January 5, 2010
By 
DocSmithers (los altos, ca USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: District 9 [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Going by the disparity in reviews, it seems that this is either a love or hate it type of movie for people. One thing that I have noticed, however, is that the people that trashed District 9 can't seem to spell or form coherent sentences very well.

District 9 is one of the most thought provoking movies that I have seen in years. I'm not sure what the American viewing public has degenerated into these days, but some of the comments here sadden me. This movie examines the human condition in a very unique way. Yes, it is very graphic and can be disturbing. There is no nudity or sex however. There is no pandering to audiences. It is powerful and pulls no punches. I have heard comparisons to Blade Runner, another favorite to many sci-fi fans. If that type of a movie is your cup of tea, District 9 will blow you away. It succeeds on so many levels, please give it a chance. Despite being an action based movie, District 9 is for intelligent viewers, not Michael Bay movie lovers. District 9 is a strong 4/4 star movie.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Loving the District 9 Blu-ray, January 12, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: District 9 [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I see a lot of reviews that comment on the movie District 9 itself. However I believe that the reviews should be talking about the Blu-ray disc itself and not the content of the movie. I have a 32" TV and the blu-ray quality looks great on it. There is no grain and the movie looks like what it's suppose to look like: High-Definition.

The humans look sharp and the color is well defined on the edges. The prawns (the aliens in the movies) stand out because of the higher detail that the Bluray Disc ensues.
I can't comment on the audio because I had to listen through my crappy TV speakers but it's suppose to default to lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix.
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24 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overbearing at times, but still pretty good., November 30, 2009
This review is from: District 9 (Single-Disc Edition) (DVD)
District 9 (Neil Blomkamp, 2009)

There is heavy-handed, and then there is District 9, a movie that goes so far over that line it's not even funny. Worse, the second half of the movie devolves into the most predictable buddy-cop flick you've ever seen, despite the fact that neither of the buddies involved is a cop. So given all this, why on Earth did I love this movie as much as I did? Part of it, of course, is the phenomenal effects work (the same reason I get so much enjoyment out of the even stupider Alien vs. Predator), but there's something more to it, and that something is Sharlto Copley, a South African actor making his feature film debut, and who manages to outshine everyone else in this cast.

Quick synopsis: aliens came to earth twenty years ago, choosing to land in South Africa, of all places. The government immediately set them up in a section of the city that rapidly became a slum, District 9. The human natives of Johannesburg are restless, and the government has come up with a solution to pacify them: move the aliens, derogatorily known as "prawns", to District 10, two hundred fifty kilometers north of the city, and thus two hundred fifty kilometers farther away from humans. Wikus van de Merwe (Copley), a bungling but likable bureaucrat who happens to the the son-in-law of the director of the company that runs alien affairs, is put in charge of serving eviction notices. Things rapidly get out of hand, due not only to the inherent racism on both sides, but because there really are some things going on in District 9 that the humans should probably have been wary of. At the core of those things is Christopher (no actor; the aliens are entirely CGI), an alien who just wants to repair their spaceship and go back to their home planet. Wikus and Christopher start off in a weird kind of colorless antipathy, but after a horrible accident causes Wikus to be shunned by the human population and smeared in the media, Wikus and Christopher find a need to work together to get what each is looking for.

What really makes it work, despite the transparency of everything, is Blomkamp and Tatchell's layers of understanding of innate racism. Underneath the painfully obvious exterior and the reactions of the outright racists is the sort of everyday prejudice rampant in the world today, and often not considered as prejudice. More to the point, the screenwriters don't try to pull their punches at the end and offer some sort of facile new-age "can't we all just get along?" mumbo-jumbo. (Come on, you know that would have happened in America.) Copley is able to pull off everything asked of him, both in this regard and in the wider role of reluctant action hero, and that's a pretty amazing thing for a first-time actor. He brings a fine sense of nuance to the role that really allows us to empathize with Wikus, as much as that empathy might make us feel uncomfortable at times.

And the effects! Forget the explosions and big aerial shots of Johannesburg and all that sort of thing and just look at the aliens. Who aren't really there. There's no guy in a rubber suit being augmented by CGI applications here and there; everything you see is CGI. That's an absolute boatload of work, and messing up any single frame could have done the illusion in. Doesn't happen. This is masterful work, certainly the equal of anything done by the top animation studios found in America or Japan, and it's magical. That alone is reason enough to see the movie. (Oh, yeah, and a lot of things blow up.)

So, yes, it does have flaws, and it's certainly not the second coming of Star Wars that so many have proclaimed it to be, but is it enjoyable and worth seeing? Without doubt. *** ˝
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars District 9, December 9, 2009
After The Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong, Peter Jackson was handed the keys to a Halo movie. But work starting on The Lovely Bones (due out December 11, 2009) and the possibility of The Hobbit in his future, Peter Jackson opted to produce and wanted to pass directorial duties to an unknown South African director named Neill Blomkamp. With an unknown director known only for his short films, commercials, and special effects work and a reported $150 million budget for Halo the producers and studio balked at the idea of Blomkamp directing. After Halo fell through, Jackson offered Blomkamp a $30 million budget to direct the film of his choice. The result, a feature length version of Blomkamp's first short film Alive In Joburg called District 9.

District 9 starts as a documentary. Thirty years ago an alien ship came to a halt over Johannesburg, South Africa. After emptying the ship of it's inhabitants, the government segregates the aliens from the humans into a dirty third world camp called, you guessed it, District 9. The aliens who looks like a cross between insects and crustaceans and are referred to as prawns are forced to live in squalor and filth in rickety shacks and have to dig through trash for food or trade their advanced weaponry to Nigerian gangs for cans of cat food (their preferred food). Unfortunately, everything in District 9 isn't as it should be as the humans want them moved even further away from society, so a plan goes into effect to move the prawns even further from society into District 10. A group of officials from a government contracted firm called Multi-National United (MNU), led by Wikus Van De Merwe (newcomer Sharlto Copley) is sent into District 9 to give the prawns eviction notices stating that they have 24 hours to vacate District 9. During the course of their project, though, Wikus accidentally has some mysterious liquid sprayed in his face which has some devastating effects.

District 9 could quite possibly be the best movie I've seen all summer, my only regret is that it didn't come out sooner. It starts out as social commentary dealing with apartheid, the humans take great pleasure in treating the prawns as less than human, shuffling them around, berating them, and even burning down shacks that contain their eggs. It's this sociopolitical relevance that really causes this movie to rise above it's sci-fi peers. On top of that, the movie is shot with a real documentary feel, this adds to the gritty reality of the movie. You believe this is happening because it feels like a documentary you'd watch on the History channel.

On top of that, the acting is superb as well. A special shout out must be given to Sharlto Copley who has no acting experience and had no previous acting experience and had no intention to be an actor prior to Blomkamp's short film, Alive In Joburg. His character Wikus is seen in nearly every scene of the movie and you really feel for him despite his early despicable acts in the movie. You always feel for him and you always root for him, and while that can be attributed to great writing, it takes a great actor to really pull that range off.

The real winner in this movie, and what really blew my mind, though, are the special effects. I don't normally mention budgets when reviewing a movie, but here I think it's important. To give you an idea if you were to look at the other action movies to come out this summer you would see that X-Men Origins: Wolverine cost approximately $160 million to make, Terminator Salvation cost about the same, and Transformers 2 cost about $200 million. On the other side of the spectrum, if you look at comedies, Funny People cost $75 million, and last years Zack and Miri Make a Porno cost $25 million. Hell, back in 1991, Terminator 2 was originally budgeted at $77 million but went way over budget. The point: this movie had as many special effects as, say Wolverine, and cost less than a third of that to make and looks 10x better. Remember, all of the prawns, except the dead ones laying out on tables, were shot completely with digital effects and they all look photo-real. This movie easily looks like a $150 million plus movie.

All in all, I'm really hoping this movie starts a new trend among studios: more original movies. I highly recommend you check it out in theaters, but before you decide to take your kids remember that this movie does earn it's R rating. It has way more than it's fair share of cursing, and exploding bodies (that alien technology will get ya every time). If you have a chance to go alone, or don't mind your kids seeing gore and hearing multiple f-bombs, I suggest you see it now and not just wait for this movie to hit DVD.

5/5
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not your typical alien movie, January 21, 2010
This review is from: District 9 [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
*****WARNING: KEY PLOT POINTS REVEALED IN THIS REVIEW*************************

The great thing about the thoroughly original and entertaining sci-fi film District 9 is the way that it takes our preconceived notions of what "alien" films are and completely turns them upside down. This is no mere story about humans fighting it out with a vicious race of creatures bent on world domintation. No, District 9 is something different.

The movie focuses on a violent slum in Johannesburg, South Africa populated by aliens who arrived on earth 30 years ago. In order to contain any diseases they migh be carrying, the government rounded the aliens up and forced them to live in an internment camp in order to keep them isolated from the citizens of the city. Over time the camp has grown into a ramshackle community full of crime and poverty.

It is into this slum that the film's main character, Wikus (a remarkable Sharlto Copley) enters to serve eviction notices to the inhabitants who the government plans to begin moving to a larger, less accommodating place of residence. Things take a turn for the worse when he comes into contact with an alien substance which causes him to begin transforming into an alien himself.

The bulk of the film follows Copley's character as he goes from an insensitive, spineless buerocrat to an alien sympathizer who ends up fighting against his own government which is trying to harvest his alien body parts in an attempt to operate the creatures' weapons. It is amazing to watch Copley as his character transforms from a cowardly self-opportunist to an angry, resourceful fugitive who does what he has to in order to survie and finally into a friend and ally of the misunderstood and mistreated aliens.

There are parallels drawn to apartheid, segregation and even the AIDS epidemic that put this film a cut above most other summer action flicks. In the end though, District 9 is at its heart, an adrenaline filled, edge of your seat thirll ride. The fact that it is also smart and surprising is just icing on the cake.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ALIEN ALLEGORY, December 21, 2009
Sometimes the best way to describe a situation is to come at it from the side. Rather than comment directly on what is happening, use an allegory to describe a situation and discuss it. Such is the case with DISTRICT 9.

Set in the not too distant future, the story is pieced together at first via news footage and interviews, later on depending on the standard filmed story. An alien spaceship hovers over South Africa, motionless in the air. A team is dispatched to enter the vessel and they discover a breed of alien that seems a cross between an insect and a crawfish.

Called prawns due to their bottom feeding nature of scavenging for food, the folks of Johannesburg treat the aliens with a combination of fear and resentment. The story continues as we learn of the aliens settling into an encampment of their own, a shanty town that houses both aliens and a group of Nigerian thugs who trade weapons and run their own crime ring out of District 9.

Enter Wikus Van De Merwe (Sharlto Copley), an employee of MNU (Multi National United). A Halliburton type group of weapons dealing/mercenary styled executives, they've employ both soldiers and Wikus types, office workers who believe in what their doing with no clue what goes on behind the scenes. Wikus is put in charge of a plan to relocate the "prawns" from the shanty town they're in to a new location built with huts for them all.

Going door to door to get their required signatures for the eviction notices, Wikus and his group face everything from attack to verbal confrontation with the "prawns". Unbeknownst to him, one alien is in the midst of formulating fuel to power a shuttlecraft to leave the planet. Wikus confiscates the fuel but accidentally is exposed to it. As the film progresses, Wikus personal DNA begins to alter and he starts to take on the aspects of the aliens, watching as first his hand changes into a claw and moving forward.

Of course MNU sees this as an opportunity since the weapons they confiscated from the aliens won't work when held by a human. It seems there is something in the genetic make up of the aliens that causes the weapons to work. Wikus becomes a guinea pig of sorts, used to make the weapons work and kept away from friends and family in a science outpost.

Fearing for his life, Wikus escapes and seeks out the alien he encountered with the vial of fuel for help. He discovers what it was that changed him but also the fact that the only fuel left, the only way for him to receive help, is to recapture the fuel container at the research station he was in.

Should the pair be successful, Wikus may be able to be changed back, the alien return to his home world with his young son and the "prawns" finally be treated as something other than outcasts. A battle between the mercenaries employed by MNU and Wikus in a souped up mechanical suit add some action to the tale as we wait to find out what the future holds for all involved.

The story about the mistreatment of those that are different from us is universal to every country in the world. Perhaps that accounts for the popularity of this film when it was released. As Wikus becomes one of them, he is exposed to their treatment and how they are perceived. By becoming one with them, he learns in the process and his outlook on his life and the world around him changes.

As with all great science fiction films, the story is the centerpiece but the surrounding portions add to the whole. The special effects are magnificent, offering us a look at an alien life form that looks as if it is right there, shot on camera without the use of effects. It makes the story all the more believable. And the performances by stars that are relatively unknown in the US make them seem real as well. While grounded in sci-fi, the film makes it seem as if it's taking place now.

Slow going at first, we are given a look at a world we think we known inhabited by creatures we do not. It takes a bit of time to learn about them as well as about ourselves. And in the end, the story we witness makes us think a little bit more about how we react to others. At least let's hope that those who see the film do.
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District 9 (Single-Disc Edition)
District 9 (Single-Disc Edition) by Neill Blomkamp (DVD - 2009)
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