After THE LORD OF THE RINGS and KING KONG we haven’t seen much from Peter Jackson. But with DISTRICT 9 we get glimpse of what he is capable of when producing even the weirdest of stories. DISTRICT 9 really is that, a weird story with an even weirder ending. The movie is already released on DVD even though some cinemas in Europe are still showing it. So watch in cinema, DVD or wait for the TV screening? Go ahead and read on, beware of the big fat spoiler at the end of this review!
DISTRICT 9 tells the story of “The Prawns” an alien force which appeared over Johannesburg, South Africa in the year 1990. They are welcomed with great expectations, but twenty years later, they have become a pain in the arse for the government and local citizens. A refugee camp has been created underneath the mother ship and all the aliens are forced to live there under strict militarized surveillance. One of the hidden agenda points however is to learn as much from these overgrown shrimps with legs and arms and to be even more specific, to learn how to use their advanced weaponry. Nothing new there pretty much your basic aliens movie. But things are finally getting out of hand, so in 2010 a munitions corporation, Multi-National United, is contracted to move the Prawns from District 9 to another “new and better” district. In charge; Wikus van der Merve, played by Sharlto Copley.
Just to state for the record, Wikus rocks because he has an almost Dutch like last name and Dutch people rule.
So the above mentioned part of the story takes place in the first half of the movie. This part is being told quite originally, but you lose the focus during this section because it is boring. Sure aliens are interesting and all, but if you make them look like a bunch of rabid dogs and nothing special happens, these first 30 or so minutes are quite bland. But after these 30 minutes, the movie gets interesting!
The Prawns have a certain hierarchy when it comes to leaders and workers. During the relocation of them, they stumble upon a couple of those leaders. The MNU realise this and immediately start investigation, because their cottage has loads of weapons and other technology. During this search Wikus gets sprayed with some kind of fluid and this is the part things become interesting. This black semen causes Wikus to change bit by bit. First his flesh starts to fall off, then his hand mutates to a hand similar to that of the Prawns and the moment MNU discovers this, Wikus becomes a target. The more knowledgeable Sci-Fi geek already realises that Wikus is now capable of using alien weaponry, something nobody was able to do before.
Wikus finally finds aid from one of the leaders (the place where he found the bottled semen). In return the leader Prawn will help him to return human again, so Wikus can be with his wife once more. What does he have to do? Get back the bottle of semen! Ok I just realised I said semen a bit too much, but be honest; it is what it is right? It creates Prawns!
The fluid actually is a highly concentrated energy source, which will allow the Prawns to go back to their home planet. In the final scene the leader, his kid and Wikus almost make it to the ship. In a brave and cliché moment Wikus sacrifices himself for the leader. The leader manages to get aboard the mother ship and promises Wikus he will one day return to make him human again. But there is a weird catch; Wikus has to wait three (!!!) years for him to return. The leader only escapes with his kid and leaves him and the other Prawns behind.
This ending leaves us with a bunch of questions. The most important one being, will there be a sequel? One can only assume with such an ending, but I am convinced this is how the movie is supposed to end and it is a refreshing one.
So cinema, DVD or TV screening? Well there are a bunch of nice special effects in this movie, but this will not suffice the admission price of a ticket. My suggestion would be to either rent it, when you want to watch a Sci-Fi which brings the genre something different, or catch it on TV.