District 9 is a sci-fi action film directed by Neill Blomkamp and produced by Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings). It is based on a 2005 short film also directed by Blomkamp, and at one point of production District 9 was actually supposed to be the movie adaptation of HALO the video game. In any case, this is easily one of my favourite films of the year and possibly one of the best pieces of sci-fi ever created.
There is a giant spaceship hovering over South Africa. The humans investigate this spaceship and find a group of malnutritioned aliens inside which they refer to as “Prawns”. The humans bring the Prawns down onto Earth and build a slum for them called “District 9”. Now the humans want to move the Prawns to another location, so they send a bureaucrat named Wikus (Sharlto Copley) into District 9 with intention of communicating with the Prawns. Strange things start to happen and Wikus finds himself trapped between serving humanity and protecting the Prawns’ livelihood.
This is an exceptionally well-directed film, using the “fake documentary” style to its full advantage. The Prawns don’t speak English, but they walk and behave like normal humans do. Through some interviews that Wikus conducts, we get to see the living conditions of these Prawns and their reaction to the relocation. There is a glimpse of the illegal activities that these aliens are involved in, which shows you how much effort the filmmakers put into creating this experience for the audience.
The CGI used to create the Prawns is impressive to the point where you might not even realise it’s CGI at first glance. Considering the budget for this film is (a relatively small) 30 million dollars, it is baffling as to how well the aliens look. Obviously, you are not going to get large-scale battle scenes like in Lord of the Rings, but the action scenes here are just as exciting.
With an amazingly well-written story and excellent direction, Neill Blomkamp creates a creative sci-fi picture that will satisfy both the popcorn audience as well as the critics. This film is highly engaging, emotional and action packed. I love the innovative depiction of aliens and their life on Earth, and I cannot recommend District 9 highly enough.