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Thursday, October 29, 2009

DISTRICT 9

By D.E.Levine

Director: Neill Blomkamp
Writers: Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell (screenplay)
Producers: Carolynne Cunningham and Peter Jackson
Executive Producers: Bill Brock and Ken Kamins
Co-executive Producers: Elliot Ferwerda and Paul Hanson
Co-producer: Philippa Boyens
Cast: Sharito Copley, Jason Cope, Nathalie Boltt, Sylvaine Strike, Elizabeth Mkandawie, John Sumner, William Allen Young, Greg Melvil-Smith, Nick Blake, Morena Busa Sesatsa, Themba Nkosi, et al.
Original Music: Clinton Shorter
Running Time: 112 Minutes
Country of Origin: New Zealand, South Africa
Language: English, Afrikanas
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action, Thriller

This is a truly original science fiction film which combines political themes with state-of-the-art movie technology.

Filmed in director Neill Blomkamp's city of his youth, Johannesburg, the story is situated in a very real place and one unlikely to be found in science fiction.

We're so used to alien space ships landing in the U.S. that it's hard to believe a director would actually have one land in another country, much less South Africa.

But in this case, more than 20 years before the start of the movie, the alien ship simply ran out of gas and her exhausted passengers were put in internment camps that are separated from the normal human population. The stalled mother ship still hovers overhead.

The aliens are repulsive to look at, with hard crustacean shells, a close resemblance to insects and great strength. Labeled "pawns" by humans, because they root around for food and scavenge what they can, especially cat food,

In a country and city where memories of apartheid are still vivid and old biases still exist, the political suggestions evoked by the film per segregation between humans and pawns, is not lost on the audience.

The humans want to control the sophisticated weapons that the aliens brought with them. The humans however, lack the dark viscous fluid necessary to power both the weapons and the mother ship.

When Multinational United (MNU) decides to move the aliens from their internment camp to a rural concentration camp in order to control the burgeoning population, the eviction task is given to Wilkus, MNU Chairman's son-in-law.

While attempting to clear an illegal lab run by alien Christopher Johnson, Wilkus gets infected with an alien virus that rapidly changes his DNA. During a violent bout of illness, Wilkus grows and alien claw which can operate the alien weaponry.

Now labeled the "most valuable business artifact on Earth" and pursued by MNU scientists who want to harvest his organs, Wilkus escapes to District 9 with MNU's chief enforcer Koobus on his heels.

While hiding, Wilkus forms an uneasy alliance with Christopher and his young son. It turns out that the virus that infected Wilkus is the same liquid that Johnson has been distilling and collecting for 20 years to power the mother ship.

There is some disparity in the story, since viewers will undoubtedly wonder why Wilkus, the only human who can operate alien weaponry would be hunted rather than utilized for his unique skill, but the story is told in a tight and exciting manner and should be a crowd pleaser.