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Location: Braehead Odeon    Date: Saturday 5th September

District 9 is the darkhorse of this year  summer’s movies, an unkown director to many people but thanks to a fantasically written and directed movie which is entertaining and gripping step up Neil Blomkamp to the bigger picture.

District 9 starts of as a documentary/travelogue style with a number of people explaining how/or there version of how a an Alien mothership suddenly appeared over Johannesburg and stalled, not over Manhattan/NYC but Joburg. Thta happened 20 years previous and through the serious of interviews, excellent constructed news clips (built around real newsclips), interviews and of the travelogue of Wikus Van Der Merwe (Sharlto copley) a trainspotteresque son-in-law of MNU Boss. The Story follows Wikus into the walled off District 9 Ghetto as he’s hired  by the evil mega coperate MNU to relocate the 1.8 million ‘Prawns’ (the nickname given to the aliens due to their crustacean like appearance) by force with eviction notices and collecting signatures.

The Prawns new location is to be District 10 and during a search of one the prawns shacks he comes across some alien object and becomes affected and it just goes all down hill for Wikus, who now must turn for help from the aliens he is evicting and help from one alien and his son Christopher Johnson.

This an fantastic movie that has lived upto I would say 99% the perfect science fiction movie, that 1% is that feeling you know it isnt totally perfect but you dont know why. What makes this  a great movie was first off  all the script which touched on some sensentive subjects to South Africa  such as Racism, segregation and Apartheid. Bloomkamp delivered a gritty, grubby realist piece of moviemaking with a mixture of comedy from Copley who in the start of the movie delivers a David Brent from the office comedy performance (at times waiting for copley to belit out “Do you really Wanna See it?” and do a funny dance) molding into a second half into a more serious performance that you actually feel sorry for him. He is also backed up with a good support from David James as the nasty couldn’t give a shit about the prawns solidier you could see in a previous life he would have been one of the white supremist soldiers during the human bad days of south africa and aparthied.

So we know there’s a great lead character, a excellent script full of realism of what real south africa used to be like throught the eyes of the aliens and the first half of the movie builds the momentum for the second introducing the characters that transit’s perfectly into thrilling and exciting action packed 2nd half.  Bring in Peter Jackson and his magical WETA special effects team who show in spectacular fashion the real reason why MNU want, the aliens weapons and they do one hell of job making then genuinely scary and realistic. Weta also do a real good professional job in making the actual aliens looking very convincing and at time you ask yourself are the prawns people in big rubber suits or brillant cgi.

The movie  is helped alot with with Peter Jackson’s involvement as the producer and it’s obvious Jackson knew the talent Blomkamp possess and was so eager to do something original and fresh like D-9 after the collaspe of Halo movie. It also helped to get the movie alot more promotion and coverage and with the man who brought Lord of the rings to the big screen it was a big plus.

In District 9 you do see a few influences of other movie creeping into the movie including a few of Jackson’s old cult movies like Bad Taste, Braindead which brought the gore into action,. There’s also a little Alien Nation when the aliens in that movie where obessed with milk , in D-9 its cat food, then there’s the big armoured robot which is straight out of Robocop.

Blomkamp handles the aliens well by not protraying the aliens as nice peoples who late reveal themselves as something invading and evil. He also doesnt give much away as in why the aliens are here in the first place and why Johannesburg, giving little flashes into the aliens life and how they’ve been simply persecuted since day one. When you see an human team going into the mothership and finding all the aliens either dead, sick or poorly you wonder is the ship a slave ship, reminscent of of the old slave master ships of America. He has left the door open to a possible sequel and District 10.

District 9 is the stepping stone for Neil Blomkamp into bigger things and with a little help from Jackson he has taken those first glorious steps. The movie is an intriguing, inventive original piece of work that its radical in the sense its shows as social documentary but also a comedy and a allround exciting action movie with a fresh approach on aliens coming to earth. No longer will Neil Blomkamp be remembered as the director of the robot dancing fiat car advert director but the director that brought us one of the best science -fiction movies in a very , very, very long time.

Review Rating :4.5/5



One thought on “DISTRICT 9 REVIEW

  1. Totally agree!
    I felt the entire experience was very refreshing, and is made all the more incredible thinking about their budget. I’m significantly less impressed with the visuals in the Avatar trailer knowing they spent ten times as much.
    I think we’re FINALLY realizing the potential for this generation of special effects to co-exist with finely honed storytelling.

    Halo producers HAVE to be kicking themselves they let this director and production team go…

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