Directed by Neill Blomkamp
Written by N Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
I wish I can start my review with something that would even slightly match the phenomenal start of this sci-fi classic. What I do observe is that this film is going to face the same fate as ‘The Dark Knight’ as far as the nominations and awards issue goes. This film so deserves a nomination in the ‘Best Picture, Director and Actor’ categories (just like TDK was snubbed to accomdate ‘The curious case’ last year).
Director Neill Blomkamp (known for his Halo short films) sets the film up in a way that’s hard to imagine even for the extreme sci-fi buff. Ever since the first alien based films were out, a lot cliched and highly unoriginal attempts were made at that genre. Spielberg’s E.T and Close Encounters, The ‘Alien’ series and Star Wars are a few which have survived the test of time. And with ‘District 9’ we have a new entry on the shelf of ‘weird looking alien based’ classics.
An alien spaceship lands in Johanesberg and the South African government sets up a relief camp for the dying aliens who have landed there. And after nearly 3 decades the camp turns into a slum (a morphed prison in reality) accomodating around 2 million aliens (called Prawns) and is named ‘DISTRICT 9’.
The grand originality of this film most definetly lies in its Golden Globe nominated screenplay. The film is written to seem like an un-edited documentary about MNU and the alien evacuation. MNU (multi national united) is a company which had been given the task of evacuating and replacing the Prawns 20 kilometers outside Johanesberg.
And the task is headed by Wikus Van de Merwe (played by Sharlto Copley), an employee of the company and also the boss’s son-in-law. While in the process of serving the evacuation notices to the residents of district 9, Van de Merwe accidentally spills a certain confisicated fluid onto his face. This fluid was part of the experiment Christopher had been working on to save his people.
Christopher is a Prawn computer genius who’s been building a small space ship in his house’s hidden basement. The fluid gradually keeps converting Van de Merwe into a Prawn and to save himself he asks for Christopher’s help.
The Nigerian (human) mobs of the slum, the illegal government research experiments and Van’s escape attempts keep the film tightly packed. And also it is one of the very few films which look at the emotional side of every life form and not just humans.
Rating – √√√√ – original and brilliant.
Golden Globe Nominations – Best Screenplay.
Oscar nominations – Best Picture, Best editing, Best visual effects and Best adapted screenplay.