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District 9 (2009)

aka District 9

"You are not welcome here."

Directed By: 
Details: 112 mins · English, Russian, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Chichewa, Zulu, Chewa, Sotho · R (USA)


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(Review written in 2010)

I wasn’t overly impressed with this movie. I don’t like the alien thing, so I was already turned off from the very beginning. I’ve never seen a movie about South Africa that I’ve liked (it’s just not my area – I’m big on European settings, as that’s my type of drama) and this one wasn’t an exception to that rule. I thought it was an interesting, and at times truly exciting movie, but I definitely didn’t think it deserved the honor of being nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture. I thought the acting was solid and even the special effects were good, but the comedy was the best thing the film had going for it, not the drama. (And, yes, I understand that it was a parable.)

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As soon as I saw the first trailer, this movie went onto my 'want-to-watch' list.
When I finally did watch it (on the television), I was grateful I never spent the money for a theater ticket.
The beginning promised an interesting take (the first 10 minutes of the movie), but quickly the story started spinning out of control, and not in a good way.
The movie's a weird combination of a commentary on fear-fueled rascism (cleverly disguised -NOT- as an alien issue), and an attempt to blow the viewer away with the visual effects (which turns the movie more into a charicature than anything else). Add to that the (to me) annoying recent trend for 'handheld' shot footage (when I watch a big budget movie, I don't WANT the images to look like they were shot on an iPhone. I want proper camera work, thank you). The story pretty much fell from one cliché into the next.
This all adds up to the biggest dissapointment I've had in a long, long time.

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I think this is yet another movie that suffered terribly from being the center of way too much hype. My expectations were high, and unfortunately the movie didn't deliver. My first thought immediately after finishing was, "Well, now I've seen that!". I did think the aliens were exceptionally well made though, but as per usual missed some sort of resolution.

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Small Dirk Michaels
Small Ross Pienaar
Small Wikus van der Merwe
Small Grey Bradnam
Small Tania Van Der Merwe
Small Thomas
No_movie_poster Les Feldman
No_movie_poster Sarah Livingston


Small Peter Jackson Producer
No_movie_poster Michael S. Murphey Production Supervisor
No_movie_poster Bill Block Executive Producer
Small Neill Blomkamp Director
No_movie_poster Terri Tatchell Screenplay
No_movie_poster Elliot Ferwerda Executive Producer
No_movie_poster Ken Kamins Executive Producer
No_movie_poster Carolynne Cunningham Production
Small Neill Blomkamp Writer
No_movie_poster Julian Clarke Editing


"You are not welcome here."


In 1982, a large alien spacecraft stops directly above Johannesburg in South Africa. An investigation team enters the ship, discovering a population of sick and malnourished extraterrestrials. The aliens, derogatorily referred to as "prawns", are confined to District 9, a government camp just outside Johannesburg. Periodic unrest then occurs between the aliens and the locals and subsequently the South African government hires Multinational United (MNU), a private military company, to relocate the aliens to a new internment camp.

In August 2010, Wikus van de Merwe (Sharlto Copley), an Afrikaner bureaucrat, is appointed by Piet Smit (Louis Minnaar), an MNU executive and his father-in-law, to lead the camp relocation by serving the aliens with eviction notices. Meanwhile, three aliens — Christopher Johnson (Jason Cope), his son, and a friend — search for alien technology among the trash heaps and detritus of District 9, from which they distill a fluid, storing it in a small canister. While raiding the shack of Christopher's friend, Wikus discovers and seizes the canister, which sprays the fluid onto his face. Christopher's friend is subsequently killed by Koobus Venter (David James), a soldier leading the military side of the operation.

The fluid slowly begins mutating Wikus into a prawn, beginning with his arm. MNU forces Wikus to test various alien weapons which only function when alien DNA is present. The MNU scientists then decide to vivisect Wikus, but Wikus overpowers his captors and escapes. Smit orders Venter and his men to hunt down Wikus, while a story is released to the media stating that Wikus is infected with an alien STD.

Wikus finds refuge in District 9 and stumbles into Christopher's shack. A lost command module from the ship is revealed underneath the shack, and Christopher discloses that the fluid in the canister is fuel which would allow him to reactivate the dormant mothership and reverse Wikus' mutation. The canister is held at MNU headquarters, so Wikus and Christopher agree on a plan to get it back by first obtaining weapons from superstitious Nigerian arms-dealer Obesandjo (Eugene Khumbanyiwa) and his gang.

After acquiring the weapons, Wikus and Christopher attack the MNU offices, retrieve the canister, and flee back to District 9 with MNU forces in pursuit. Appalled by the illegal experiments on his fellow aliens at MNU headquarters, Christopher says he must use all the fuel to get help before curing Wikus, but the trip to the alien planet and back will take three years. Wikus becomes enraged and attacks Christopher, then hijacks the command module which is almost immediately shot down. Venter and his men seize Wikus and Christopher, but Obesandjo's gang ambushes the MNU convoy and captures Wikus, as Obesandjo believes that eating Wikus' mutated arm will give him the ability to use alien weaponry. Obesandjo's base is then surrounded by MNU and a firefight ensues.

In the downed command module, Christopher's son activates the mothership and an alien mechanized battle suit which saves Wikus by killing Obesandjo and his men. Wikus takes control of the battle suit and rescues Christopher, shielding him as they run to the command module. Wikus aids Christopher's escape by staying behind and holding off the MNU troops. Christopher promises to return in three years before making his way to the command module. Wikus kills all the troops except Venter, who cripples his suit and forces it to eject him. As Wikus is cornered by Venter, a group of aliens ambush Venter, tearing him to pieces. Christopher leaves in the mothership with his son as Johannesburg's residents celebrate its departure.

A series of interviews and news broadcasts are shown, with people theorizing about Wikus' whereabouts and the potential return of the mothership, and what it could entail. MNU's illegal experiments on the aliens are uncovered by Wikus's Bantu assistant, Fundiswa Mhlanga, and exposed (for which "crime" against the powerful MNU Mhlanga has been imprisoned and will be tried). District 9 is completely demolished, with all the aliens having been moved to the new larger District 10 farther from the city. Wikus' wife Tania finds a metal flower on her doorstep, giving her hope that Wikus is still alive. The final scene shows what appears to be a fully transformed Wikus crafting a similar flower in a scrapyard.

Release Dates:

Theatrical : 2009-08-14 : United States of America

DVD : 2009-12-22