Originally posted on August 15, 2009
Critical Value: 8.5/10 Entertainment Value: 8/10
South African director Neill Blompkamp brings his first feature film to the big screen and it does not fail to entertain or provoke thought. Based on a script written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Hatchell, District 9 is adapted from Blomkamp’s short film, Alive in Joburg.
The story takes place in South Africa where an alien ship landed twenty eight years before the story begins. Multi National United (MNU) is a fictional organization that places the aliens in a slum like area called District 9.
Field agent Wikus Van Der Merwe (Sharlto Copley) becomes exposed to their biotechnology and becomes the only human who successfully acquires alien DNA, making him a wanted man.
Firstly, the acting is incredible. Copley, who is a first time actor and served as a producer for Alive in Joburg, demonstrates a wide range of emotions as well as moral stances throughout the movie. His character is able to express happiness, naivety, sadness and cruelty seamlessly. The supporting performances are equally as strong, although Copley does outshine.
The dialogue is good for the most part, although the swearing is excessive at times. This was one of the main gripes; the f word is said at least thirty times throughout the film. Compared to the numerous complaints that could be used for a film, this is fairly minor.
The special effects were a little disappointing at times. Close up shots were very well done, with it being hard to believe no animatronics were used. Some distant shots are more clearly computer generated but for the most part, they are convincing. Especially when done on a budget of thirty million, while G.I Joe had a budget of 175 million and still looked like a cartoon at times.
The presence of no popular celebrities may account for the smaller budget and also helps to better immerse the audience in the plot. Especially since some of the film is filmed as a news report, which works well for the opening scenes but is used more sparingly as the movie continues.
The story is engaging, I found the movie to drag slightly during the first twenty minutes but it does pick up and the last twenty minutes leaves the heart racing. It can honestly be said that you will be on the edge of your seat.
As well as providing a twist on the typical alien invasion story, the film is able to deliver great acting, writing, action and special effects. The violence is very bloody at times so bringing children is not recommended. Nonetheless, this is highly recommended viewing.