“District 9” is a gritty faux documentary that takes us to Johannesburg in South Africa to witness the momentous arrival of a towering alien spaceship. Instead of heavenly voices and benevolent, super-intelligent space brothers, us humans are greeted by a race of starving, diseased, crustacean-like creatures whose crumbling UFO has simply run out of gas. Unsure of what to do with these million or so wretched refugees, South Africa sets up District 9, an alien internment camp eerily reminiscent of the Apartheid-era slums. Apparently, they’re just too “alien” to cuddle up to.
The aforementioned screwing of yourself is no longer of any concern to me, because frankly, District 9 is a smarter and more action-packed story than what you guys probably would have tried to get them to do with a Halo flick. My guess is you would’ve pushed for a PG-13 rating to get more people in seats. Also, you would have cast Brad Pitt as Master Chief, if given the chance. Instead, Jackson and Blomkamp went straight for the jugular with a very violent R, and then made the choice of casting one of Blomkamp’s friends, a non-actor, mind you, in the lead role. I suppose you would find that to be a disaster, wouldn’t you?…read more [ScreenJunkies]
And yet here sits District 9–the best non-Pixar film of the season, squatting amid the debris like a Tiffany’s necklace in a landfill. To be sure, it remains a proud B-movie, with a concept cribbed from Alien Nation and held together by the remains of producer Peter Jackson’s aborted Halo movie. And yet it brims with breathtaking originality, putting dozens of larger pictures to shame with its wit, soulfulness and imagination. The splat factor remains quite high, fully justifying its R-rating and capped by a spectacular extended fight which leaves the viewer exhausted. To a certain extent, such earthy pleasures are fully the point of the exercise. But District 9 refuses to be bound by them, girding its drive-in credentials with humanity, depth, and an admittedly obvious but deftly executed message about just how inhuman we humans can be…read more [Mania]
The film’s South African setting brings up inescapable parallels with its now-defunct apartheid system of racial segregation. Many of them are obvious, such as the action to move a race out of the city and to a remote location. Others will be more pointed in South Africa. The title “District 9” evokes Cape Town’s historic District 6, where Cape Coloureds (as they were called then) owned homes and businesses for many years before being bulldozed out and relocated. The hero’s name, van der Merwe, is not only a common name for Afrikaners, the white South Africans of Dutch descent, but also the name of the protagonist of van der Merwe jokes, of which the point is that the hero is stupid. Nor would it escape a South African ear that the alien language incorporates clicking sounds, just as Bantu, the language of a large group of African apartheid targets…read more [Roger Ebert]
First, let me give a thank you to Peter Jackson for giving Neill Blomkamp the ability to make this film. Thank you Neill Blomkamp for creating the one of the best films of the summer and certainly one of the finest science fiction films in years. And as a film student, there’s plenty going on to dissect and figure out how it was done. A great thank you to you both as well as all those who worked on the film.
District 9 is a true tour de force debut; it has a robust story, well-drawn characters, emotional, superb action, and solid direction and will keep you interested from beginning to end. It’s a smart, socially conscious science-fiction film that requires audience attention and the audience thinking about the situations and what is going on. D9 is one of the best science fiction films of recent years and in my book, ties with The Hurt locker for being the best film of the summer...read more [Horror-Movies.ca]
Fanboys were orgasmic when producer Peter Jackson previewed District 9 at July’s Comic-Con in San Diego. Variety tagged it the “thinking person’s alien movie.” I’m assuming Transformers 2 is the stupid person’s version. And since Michael Bay’s attack on the human thought process has already grossed $380 million in the U.S. alone, District 9 has its work cut out. Smart sci-fi movies, such as Duncan Jones’ Moon, are typically shuttled to the indie ghetto...read more [Rolling Stone]
When the movie begins, it has been decided that the prawns are to be relocated to District 10, an area far away from the city. Leading the eviction notification to the aliens is the newly appointed Wikus Van De Merwe (Sharlto Copely, looking Bale-like but very effective inhis own right). It is while he is completing this task when a story begins picking up speed, and I think you less you know about this movie the better. In fact I may have already said too much...read more [MoviesOnline]
District 9 isn’t exactly sci-fi for the ages– it’s too unclear on what it has to say, and its story ranges too far within the meticulously created world without providing any real insight. But it’s impressive not just as a debut, but as a new example of how to use original sci-fi as a mirror to our own world, and without $200 million budgets and space battles or even hobbits. Peter Jackson took the money he made making a faithful and beautiful adaptation, and has used it to fund something truly, remarkably original...read more [Cinema Blend]
Refreshingly, District 9 upends expectations that have been lowered over the years by remembering that human behavior is the most fascinating special effect of all, with the inexplicable motivations of alien creatures coming in a close second. The aliens, it must be acknowledged, are not examined in breathtaking detail — we don’t learn about their home planet, the nature of their mission, or what exactly happened on the spaceship that caused it to stop in its tracks. Precious little of their culture is displayed; it can hardly be said that a voracious appetite for cat food and garbage defines a people. Are the ones stranded simply “worker bees,” as one human describes them? Or do they truly represent the best of their breed?...read more [Cinematical]
Sci-fi fans will spot similarities between District 9’s premise and the 1988 film Alien Nation that starred James Caan and Mandy Patinkin, which was later made into a television series. In that film alien refugees became the latest minority in the multi-ethnic melting pot that is Los Angeles. Like that film, the aliens also arrived in giant flying saucer-like spaceships. But that is where the similarities end.
Whereas the aliens in Alien Nation were of the Star Trek-lite variety being played by human actors with spotted bald makeup, the aliens in District 9 are, well, truly alien. They resemble giant insects and are immediately dubbed “prawns” by the human populace. Their sheer alienness makes their integration into human society difficult – if not outright impossible. Soon the city of Johannesburg is littered with Apartheid era-style “Humans Only” signs. The alien designs – CGI creations by Peter Jackson’s legendary New Zealand WETA effects outfit – while not particularly original are very well done...read more [SciFi Movie Page]Original District 9 Short Film: