As a sci-fi buff I had been looking forward to District 9 (D9 from now on) ever since I first set intrigued eyes upon a trailer some months ago, and I must say that Neill Blomkamp’s film—produced by Peter Jackson—certainly lives up to the hype. Set it Johannesburg, this film combines extraterrestrial life form and inner city urban politics, filmed partly in documentary style with a sizeable assortment of so-called expects voicing their opinions in the style of a Michael Moore flick. It’s not long before you understand exactly what the situation is in D9; the first 35 minutes are certainly the toughest to get through, but it’s not long before you notice your body tense up as the story lurches forward at a scintillating pace in which you can’t help but show interest.
The introduction to the lead character Wikus van der Merwe doesn’t take long, but his attitude during the opening scenes might lead you to think that D9 is in fact a comedy, not an action sci-fi. But rest assured, the tone of the film changes swiftly and the journey for our protagonist takes a very sombre turn. Wikus works for MNU, a heartless corporation far more interested in alien weaponry than of their guest’s wellbeing and living conditions, and with one-track ambitions like this I’m surprised the film isn’t set in the USA. The special effects are stunning enough; the aliens are computer generated and their unfamiliar dialect is subtitled to give them more of a personality. The majority of the prawn race (as they are dubbed) seem unintelligent and single minded, but we’re then introduced to Christopher who has a plan of action that involves travelling to his hovering mothership and getting back to his home planet. Suffice it to say his plans get compromised, to which he is forced to turn to an unlikely source for help, unbeknown to both parties that a unique bond is forming.
I urge you now to watch District 9. You will leave the cinema feeling happy.