Review: District 9

I hadn’t heard anything about District
apart from it involved aliens on
Earth before watching it but I’m pleased that I succumbed to the impulse to
watch the film.

It’s a first contact movie unlike any I’ve seen before and I reckon probably
the best yet made. There are no godlike aliens, no spooky noises, and no
almost superhuman agents battling evil aliens. Even more impressively the film
does not ask you to disable your higher brain functions in order to enjoy it
no does it substitute effects and big explosions for a plot.

A space ship arrives and hovers over Johannesburg. The human race waits with
baited breath and, …. nothing happens. So soldiers break their way in and
find aliens living in squalor seemingly unable to operate their own ship. A
humanitarian effort to provide shelter for the aliens results in the creation
of a slum. Twenty years later the inhabitants of Johannesburg want the slum
gone and who better to move the aliens in gentle and humane way than a
multinational (MNU) specialising in mercenaries and weapons manufacture?

The film starts as a documentary following the efforts of an MNU employee
(Wikus Van De Merwe) to lead the alien relocation operation and we watch as
things quickly get out of hand.

The aliens look alien and although we don’t get much of a look at their
culture they come across as more than just humans in rubber suits and that
alone makes this film better than 99% of all SF movies featuring alien
lifeforms. The aliens do have some recognisable traits though: caring for
friends and offspring, and empathy for example.

There are some holes in the plots (where did all the alien weapons come from
for example) but otherwise it’s well worth watching and I highly recommend it.