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'District 9' breaks the mold in alien movies
Brian Osler
Antelope Staff
Photo courtesy of

During a summer filled with movies characterized by style but no substance came a movie that breaks the mold and dares to be great. “District 9” is the story of Wikus van de Merwe, the lead field agent for Multi-National United (MNU). Through accidental exposure to alien fluid, van de Merwe undergoes a metamorphosis making him half human and half alien.

The message to the viewers differentiates "District 9" from most of the blockbusters released this summer, but not in such a way that feels forced.

Van de Merwe begins to see the aliens (or Prawns, as they are called in the movie) aren’t as unintelligent as he had once assumed. Through this ordeal, van de Merwe also discovers the agency MNU is not as innocent as it appears, conducting experiments on both living and dead prawns.

All this in an attempt to gain the ability to operate the aliens’ far superior biologically-based weaponry, which only van de Merwe is capable of using.

This movie touches a wide range of themes including immigration, discrimination, war and weaponry, abortion, oppression of seemingly lesser beings, human rights and cultural differences.

Another strength of "District 9" is the character development. Van de Merwe doesn’t fit the mold of masculine, overly-brave lead characters. Instead, his character’s strength is his weaknesses. Van de Merwe is shown through the early scenes as a person not capable of defending himself, but instead, delegating the role to the military presence in "District 9." Once he is on his own, however, he starts to stand up for what is morally right, even to the point of risking his own life. Christopher Johnson, the key Prawn (alien) figure, is a father whose love of his son gives his character heart.

This movie doesn’t abandon action, but it uses it to supplement the story instead of overwhelming the story.

Overall, this movie gets five stars.

Overall: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This film isn’t just a movie, it’s a masterpiece.

Story: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This movie packs such a punch on all levels: cerebral, psychological and visual. This is a testament to strong writing.

Acting: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Both the humans and the aliens turn in powerhouse performances.

Visuals: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Even given the limited budget this movie had, the visuals were on the level of a big-budget blockbuster. There are some scenes, however, which may challenge people with weak stomachs.

Direction: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The documentary feel this movie starts and ends with helps enforce a sense of realism. Each shot has a purpose.

Rewatchability: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


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