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District 9

Genre: , ,

Cast: Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope, Nathalie Boltt, Sylvaine Strike, John Sumner

Director: Neill Blomkamp

Rated: R

Review By:
Tom Herrmann

School:
Suny Purchase '11

Quote:
"When life gives you lemons, you clone those lemons and make super-lemons." -Clone High

Release Date: October 16th, 2009
Click to Buy on DVD or Bluray!
Overall Grade: A

District 9

Review By: Tom Herrmann
TomHerrmann@TheCinemaSource.com

Click Here to Read the Theatrical Review!

District 9

Movie Grade: A

DVD Features Grade: A-

Overall Grade: A

Of all the movies that came out in the summer of 2009, there were two that stood out above all else. Inglorious Basterds was one that I had personally been waiting on the release of for months on end. Surprisingly the other film was one that I had never heard anything of until it was being screened in Manhattan and word began to spread. What seemed to have almost no publicity was being spread by word of mouth amongst those who had seen it. Knowing nearly nothing about the film and seeing it came not only as a shock, but somewhat of a revelation.

It is hard to emphasizes how enjoyable the film is, and in just how many ways. After a spacecraft harboring aliens hovered over Johannesburg, South Africa. Since then the aliens have been extracted and District 9 was erected to contain the aliens, who were dubbed prawns, to ease them into normal human society. The assimilation hasn’t been going as well as some might have hoped and District 9 has become a slum of an area: filled with crime and dilapidating due to neglect. Wikus (Sharito Copely) is a field operative who is attempting to have the prawns sign eviction notices in an effort to relocate them. While investigating the home of prawn he discovers a tube filled with a black liquid which he accidently ingests. Wikus soon begins to turn into an alien himself, starting with his arm, and attempts to help the prawn who owned the tube find it again with hopes that he will change him back to a human.

The idea of the film is not its only unique quality: it is shot in a documentary style which makes the events that take place almost seem real. Even the effects are done extremely well considering that the creatures themselves are just actors with computer generated bodies imposed over them. Despite the fact that the film is loaded with CGI aliens and alien weaponry, it manages to keep the effects to a happy medium, which further enforces the “realism” of the film. Obviously the film doesn’t try and portray itself as non-fiction, but this makes the leaps of faith in the film more acceptable to the audience. Another technique worth noting is the Cronenberg-esque decay of Wikus. For a portion of the film, between when he is infected and when he begins his search with the prawn, Wikus’ body slowly begins to turn against him in the fashion of many of the characters of David Cronenberg: specifically Seth Brundle of The Fly.

The film seemed to be so committed to its excellence that it doesn’t even have deleted scenes that don’t seem worthy of being in the actual film. Most of the deleted scenes could have

been put in at almost any point of the film that was more documentary styled, aside from the several including Wikus. The Alien Agenda is a feature split up into three chapters: Envisioning, Shooting, and Refining District 9. The envisioning portion goes over how the untraditional techniques and ideas in the film came to fruition; The following segment that covers the shooting was somewhat of a letdown in comparison because they stated mostly obvious things about the non-traditional methods they used. I would that no one would have to be told that the more cinematic scenes in the film are traditional as opposed to the documentary style.

Disc two of this set is not only loaded with special features, but it is loaded with special features that are so self-explanatory it seems gratuitous to actually summarize them. Metamorphosis: The Transformation of Wikus, Innovation: The Acting and Improvisation of Distract 9, Concept and Design: Creating the World of District 9, and Alien Generation: The Visual Effects of District 9 all manage to speak for themselves. It is safe to say that every feature is worth the watch being that everything mentioned above was done extremely well in the film: particularly the transformation of Wikus, and the effects. Those two have to be the highest achievements of the film as a whole.

With all I had heard about it, it might as well have come from outer space – yeah I went there. What could have easily been overseen along with other great films like Moon managed to pull itself into the mainstream and continued to blow the minds of audiences everywhere. It is great to see a movie that is meant mainly to entertain do that so well, along with having an inner layer of deeper meaning. Something like this doesn’t come along every day and it should be appreciated for the outstanding piece of cinema it is.

Movie Grade: A

DVD Features Grade: A-

Overall Grade: A

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