District 9, the new movie directed by Neill Blomkamp, is a remarkable film. A friend and I saw it this afternoon; I didn’t really know what to expect. I knew the very basic premise; these aliens (nicknamed “Prawns”) get stuck in Johannesburg and are trying to get home.
I enjoyed it; the first hour or so features fingernail violence and vomiting (two things that made me watch my palms for a few minutes), but the story is good and the main characters are sympathetic.
What got me the most was the parallels between the two main characters, the human Wikus van de Merwe and prawn Christopher Johnson. While I won’t go into the specifics of the story, both characters share a similar motive: they both want only to return home and back to the lives they knew.
Wikus is an intriguing character, in the fact that you begin by being annoyed with him, but by the end, you root for him. He’s not entirely good; he’s selfish, cowardly, self-serving government flunkie. But that’s okay. By the end of the movie, I was quite fond of him.
The film isn’t without its flaws. There are plot holes, obvious social commentary (not that it isn’t well done, it’s just readily apparent), and some faulty logic (how Wikus gets with the prawn is a bit contrived). If the viewer suspends logic for a while, goes along with the ride, and just looks to be entertained, District 9 is the movie for you.
The ending is left open for a sequel, but I don’t think one is necessary. Sometimes open endings are the best ones; they let you draw your own conclusions.
Of course, high tolerance of fingernail violence is key.
6 thoughts on “Oh the humanity!”
I’ve been meaning to see this; intelligent sci-fi movies have always been rare. I’ll probably end up renting it.
It’s interesting. It’s marketed here as sci-fi, and yet for me, as someone who used to live in South Africa, it hits the gut immediately as a commentary at least on some level of apartheid.
I haven’t seen it but want to. I have no idea what to expect… I mean, as a former resident. I feel more suspense going in than I think any action sequence could evoke in the film itself. 🙂
I’ve never lived in South Africa, but as soon as I learned about the plot I immediately suspected that there would be something in District 9 that could be applicable to apartheid, as well as segregation in the US.
I’m interested in hearing what you think about it! I didn’t really know what to expect myself, but I enjoyed it.
There are definite hard sci fi aspects of it, but the sci fi parts are completely necessary to tell the story. I will say no more.
I haven’t seen it yet. I’m waiting to rent it, because I need to be careful with my money. Seeing the movies I did was probably unwise as it is.
Whenever I go to the movies (or rent movies), I always make a “to rent” list.