District 9 (Devil’s Advocate Review)

District 9 is a Sci-Fi action film set in an alternate Earth, where a mysterious alien aircraft descends upon Johannesburg, South Africa in 1982. The film opens through a documentary type film style, where  the situation is explained from events covered by eye-witness interviews and media coverage. While contact wasn’t initially made, as six months past, anxious humans decide to force their way onto the ship and make contact. The humans find that the aliens seem to be aboard a refugee ship and are malnourished and in a sickly state of health. Geneva convention rules on refugees are applied and the aliens are shipped to militarized refugee camps just beneath the hovering ship, called District 9. As roughly thirty years pass, rehabilitating the aliens turns into exploitation, while the camps turn to slums and human/alien integration runs rampant between the aliens labeled “Prawns” and feuding Nigerian warlords.

The menu said a galaxy of Prawns...one Prawn is hardly a galaxy.

The menu said a galaxy of Prawns...one Prawn is hardly a galaxy.

The film then shifts focus to MNU (Multi- National United) a UN type of organization in charge of handling the aliens, and around MNU field OP agent Wilkus Van Der Mewe (Sharlto Copley) and his task to remove 1.8 Million prawns into a new Government controlled camp (District 10). Note that the film style also changes to follow Van Der Mewe in more a personal third person, as to where the documentary style was simply to explain the situation.

Taking into account that the trailer features and media commercials involving this film, do not explain much about District 9, a lot of movie goers are taking a gamble to spend 10+ bucks to watch this film. Now whether you’re a fan of alien encounters, or special effects, you are highly limited to what comes about in the film. The director, Neill Blomkamp decides to sharply focus upon the events involving MNU, specifically the field agent Van Der Mewe, for which all purposes intended is monumental for the basis of the film.

There are some plot points in the film I tend to disagree with, such as the Prawns having been refuged in District 9 over thirty years and yet, the outside world knows little or nothing about the species and their intentions on Earth. It’s never explained how they got there, or how did they cross paths with Earth; was it intentional or accidental? I’ll probably have to leave that to a sequel or possibly a series. Although there were a lot of action scenes, car chases and cool alien weaponry, I’m not a big fan of unsteady camera shooting for a sense of being in the action scene yourself. I get nauseous easily in that manner and give fair warning what to expect for action scenes in the film.

I give credit to Blomkamp for taking up the issue that government bodies involved in world events, ALWAYS have ulterior motives. His views on apartheids & oppressed people are strong and emotional which add a nice change up from mindless, Sci-Fi, action thrillers.

But to the least, District 9 is as basic as the next alien thriller. Nothing more than an idea where general populations grow crude assumptions of things they could never fully understand. If you have seen the film Alien Nation or even the TV series; V you’d realize that this film follows similar plot points & outcomes. Which in turn makes the film more predictable and less amusing. Or even to take it one step further, the film isn’t any more different than the struggle of oppressed people living in an Apartheid, where the aliens replace the oppressed.

As the Devil’s Advocates, I give it a mere 2 out 5 pitchforks.

In reality I was on the fence with this one, because of how much it reminds me of similar films, where an alien civilization appears on Earth and try to assimilate, into the human population, never really working out because the two species are on different ends of an entity spectrum. But since there really hasn’t been one of those done correctly in over a decade, this was a refreshing change to the movie palette.

Giving the credit where credit is due, the film deserves a 3 out 5 pitchforks.


Posted on August 17, 2009, in DA Film Review and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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