The BWN crew debuts their first ever Nerds’ Review! The first movie? District 9!
Welcome to the first ever edition of the Nerds’ Review! Every week the Nerds give you their take on a different cult classic from the Nerdosphere. This week the guys, well most of them anyway, review Neil Blomkamp’s 2009 SciFi flick District 9!
The Flick: District 9
What’s It About? In the not too distant past a spaceship crashes near the South African City of Johannesburg stranding the Aliens onboard. The aliens, called Prawns, are welcomed to establish a refugee settlement in the city called District 9. Decades later, the humans no longer welcome the Prawns, refusing them rights and privileges beyond those of laborers. The Government, in an effort to remove the Prawns’ presence in the city, decide to forcibly remove them from District 9 and into a different settlement away from the city, District 10. Government official Wikus is sprayed by a mysterious alien chemical during the relocation effort and finds himself slowly transforming into a Prawn. As he attempts to find a cure, Wikus finds himself rejected by his family and chased by his government and a rebel faction as they seek to use him for their own purposes…
Metacritic Score: 81
The Nerds’ Take
Patrick: For me, the best Science Fiction films are those that cast a reflective eye on the world we live in. District 9 does this in spades, as the movie itself is a clear look at Apartheid South Africa. Yet, this film still holds up as it casts a critical eye on systemic oppression and challenges the audience to consider the plight of Wikus as he slowly transforms into a one of the Aliens he initially is tasked with relocating. As he transforms, we find ourselves on a journey with Wikus discovering the reality of these aliens. We learn of a people completely stripped of rights, viewed as nothing more than workers who need to be controlled. His is body no longer his as the government wants to both experiment and weaponize him, yet is expendable when he doesn’t submit to their will. The audience can’t help but empathize with Wikus as he desperately tries to find an escape and a cure. Yet, the gut wrenching turn in the end tells us of a much larger, more hopeless plight. An excellent, excellent film.
Patrick’s Rating: 3.5/5
Dave: With alien movies, they generally fall into one of two categories: (1) The aliens are cute, adorable, creatures who are very helpful to the humans involved or (2) They are vile, nasty, beings hell bent on taking over the world or in exterminating the human race. District 9 falls somewhere in between with the added twist that, this time, it is the humans who are very clearly the bad guys. A race of prawn like creatures is stranded on Earth when their ship, for reasons never quite clear, becomes disabled over Johannesburg, South Africa. Over 20 years, the aliens are herded into a slum known as District 9. But tensions between humans and aliens reach a breaking point and the aliens are set to be relocated to what feels a lot like a concentration camp. In the course of this, our eventual hero, Wikus van der Merwe, gets exposed to a mysterious liquid and gradually transforms into an alien, with the added benefit that he becomes the first human able to control the far advanced alien weaponry, making him extraordinarily valuable to mercenaries and terrorists alike. The movie has a lot of strong symbolism and comparisons to things such as Nazi Concentration Camps or Japanese relocation settlements, are inevitable. It also shows humans at their absolute worst and hammers home our all too frequent inability to be tolerant of those different from us, even those of an extraterrestrial nature. In the end, in a wonderful twist of irony, Wikus rediscovers his lost humanity by evolving into one of the very creatures he himself was persecuting. District 9 is very heavy and there is no happy ending to really be found. But, it is definitely worth 2 hours of your time.
Dave’s Rating: 4/5
Rick: District 9 is one of the thirteen districts of Panem, its primary industry is grain production. We have yet to discover who the volunteers were from this district after the 10th Annual Hunger games. The two volunteers from this district for the 10th annual were Panlo and Sheaf. Panlo didn’t even make it to the Hunger Games as there was a rebel bombing prior to his arrival. He had sever injuries and wasn’t eligible or the games. What we do know is no one from this district has won the Hunger Games.
Rick’s Rating: 2.7/5
DPP: District 9 is a documentary style depiction of what life may be like for alien life if they ever came to Earth. Very much political with the Government trying to control where these aliens live and what they are allowed to do. In a way, it gives you a look into some real life elements, where life is poor in several countries around the world. When the main character, Wikus, gets infected and begins to turn into an alien himself, the story turns into chaos. All taking place within a 72 hour period, Wikus becomes a fugitive to the Government, an enemy to the human radicals, and dependent to the aliens for a way to cure the infection. The Government wants to experiment, the radical humans want him for use of weapons, and he just wants his life back.
Neil Blomkamp does a great job with this story. You can really feel how the different groups have their priorities, and how priorities change over the course of the movie. As usual, the visuals in a Neil Blomkamp movie are always great. The detail to the aliens, along with their makeshift homes, and the alien ship hovering in the background is amazing. The gunfights and explosions are well done, all with a purpose to carry along the story. As a documentary style action/drama movie, I think this movie does a great job with giving you feelings of how real living in slums can be, how people are treated just because they are “different,” and how quickly you can be an outcast in your own world during difficult times.
DPP’s Rating: 3/5
Combined Rating: 3.3/5
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