NOTE: Experimenting with a new review format because I feel like my reviews blew that way. They'll still blow this way, but at least they might swallow this time.

Writer: Jonathan Sullivan
Starring: Sharlto Copley
Writer: Neill Blomkamp/Terri Tatchell
Director: Neill Blomkamp

Not only does District 9 live up to the hype, it exceeds it in every way imaginable.

The Plot


An extraterrestrial race forced to live in slum-like conditions on Earth suddenly finds a kindred spirit in a government agent that is exposed to their biotechnology.

The Review

The first time I saw the trailer to District 9, I was completely and utterly blown away. Treated like a documentary, it suddenly turned south and became about aliens ending up on Earth. It was fresh and different, and had my jaw hitting the floor both literally and figuratively. From then on, THIS became the movie to see this summer, and I waited with anticipation I had not felt since Cloverfield. However, in the back of my mind I feared that maybe I was too excited and the film would end up not living to my ridiculously high expectation for it.

Thankfully I can say that not only did it live up to the hype, it slapped the hype in the face with its member and made it say its name ten times. I loved loved LOVED District 9. The story is told with such realism that you feel like this alternate timeline really could have happened and that there really are aliens living in the slums of Johannesburg, South Africa. It begins in a documentary style like the trailer, but once the plot kicks in, it becomes more like a traditional movie. While it was a bit jarring to get used to at first, I got over it quickly because of the awe I was experiencing.

Unfortunately, it is hard to talk about this film without giving anything away as it has been held in such secrecy. Since I want to remain spoiler free (like my mencrushes at /Filmcast), I won't go into it. Just know this: it is believable, it is excellent, and it goes places you don't expect: not because it doesn't make sense, but because it's so damn awesome and creative that you don't think people could honestly come up with something so good.

Sharlton Copley, who plays the main character Wikus Van De Merwe, is excellent. This is a hell of a way to make a film debut, and he deserves so many more jobs after this. He plays a character that is both really detestable, but gives him such a slight hint of sadness that you root for him, even when he does despicable things. The other actors do well too, and the fact there are no big names (or people I've even seen, to be honest), it adds to the reality of the situation. If George Clooney was in this, it would have lost a bit of its luster. Everyone does a great job, and if there's any justice in the world, Copley is going to get more roles in the future.

The effects are a sight to behold too. Many people are talking about how amazing it looks for only a 30 million dollar budget, and I have to agree: nothing looks overly CGI (like GI Joe, or the 1998 Godzilla). It all fits together, and when the aliens (known as Prawns) interact with the environment, you don't doubt it for a second. It is so smooth that you assume it had a much higher budget, but it didn't. The ominous mothership in the sky, the breathtaking moment of the trailer, looks amazing as well and is still as breathtaking as the first time I saw it. Suck it, George Lucas, high budgets are for people who don't want to try.

Like Moon, District 9 is ushering in a new way of science fiction and hopefully something many people will copy. If you haven't seen District 9 already, then you need to. Right now. Seriously. Don't make me get my gun.

Final Verdict:

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