Thirty years ago, aliens made first contact with Earth.
Humans waited for the hostile attack, or the giant advances in technology. Neither came. Instead, the aliens were refugees, the last survivors of their home world. The creatures were set up in a makeshift home in South Africa’s District 9 as the world’s nations argued over what to do with them.
Now, patience over the alien situation has run out. Control over the aliens has been contracted out to Multi-National United (MNU), a private company uninterested in the aliens’ welfare – they will receive tremendous profits if they can make the aliens’ awesome weaponry work. So far, they have failed; activation of the weaponry requires alien DNA.
The tension between the aliens and the humans comes to a head when an MNU field operative, Wikus van der Merwe (Sharlto Copley), contracts a mysterious virus that begins changing his DNA. Wikus quickly becomes the most hunted man in the world, as well as the most valuable – he is the key to unlocking the secrets of alien technology. Ostracized and friendless, there is only one place left for him to hide: District 9.
South African-born short film director Neill Blomkamp established himself in his field with a hand-held, first-person camera style. He also became highly sought after for his ability to blend computer-generated effects with a film’s naturalistic elements, soon becoming a popular director for commercials. He provided his visual effects services for a number of American TV shows, like Smallville and Dark Angel, before combining his skill sets as the director of a feature film, helming the sci-fi epic District 9 in 2009. The film earned strong reviews, and was a box-office hit. In addition, Blomenkamp earned a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination from the academy for his work on his debut. —allmovie guide
Blomkamp runs the risk of belaboring the obvious in his knockout first film, a fevered allegory about humanity's persistent predilection for apartheids. He meets the risk by running right over it, counting on the freshness of his premise, the knowing cleverness of its pseudo-journalistic elaboration, and the headlong rush of his narrative to get him clear. The result compels as a moving appeal to our better selves.
Film starts off strong, using the mockumentary approach quite effectively. Second act makes the uneasy transition to a more straightforward stylistic approach, but just when my patience for this film was almost up Blomkamp builds up a great deal of narrative momentum in the third act all the way to a rousing climax that is also surprisingly moving.
Director Peter Jackson has had one of the most unusual journeys in contemporary film history, going from frantic micro-budgeted shock-horror
Big day. The two best-reviewed films opening in theaters this weekend center on relationships between human beings and beings that aren't
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