“District 9” is a 2009 science fiction action film about a forced relocation of aliens as refugees in South Africa. Directed by Neill Blomkamp.
Produced by Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham.
It was a co-production of New Zealand, the United States and South Africa.
It was an adaptation of Blomkamp’s short film “Alive in Joburg” (2006). 112 minutes.
In 1982, a giant extraterrestrial spaceship appears and hovers over Johannesburg, South Africa. An investigation team finds over one million prawn-like aliens inside the ship.
The South African government confines them as refugees to a camp in an area called “District 9”. After that, the area turns into a slum, and troubles occur frequently between the locals and aliens called “Prawns”.
28 years after the appearance of the spaceship, the South African government decides to force aliens to relocate to a new isolated area (District 10) outside the city, and they entrust Multi-National United (MNU), a huge weapons manufacturer, to execute the relocation project.
Managing Director of MNU South Africa, Piet Smit (Louis Minnaar) assigns Wikus van der Merwe (Sharlto Copley), who is his son-in-law and a staff employee in the Department of Alien Affairs of MNU, to lead the relocation.
When Wikus visits District 9 to evict the aliens from the area, he finds a container with a mystery liquid at a hut, and takes it away. He accidentally sprays the liquid in his face. Then, he begins mutating into a Prawn, starting with his left arm.
Behind the relocation project, MNU has secretly advanced the research of the aliens’ weaponry, which only works with the aliens’ DNA. Discovering Wikus can operate the aliens’ weaponry because of DNA mutation, MNU confiscates the liquid Wikus took away, and tries to vivisect Wikus at the MNU laboratory for their research.
Wikus escapes from the laboratory. MNU publishes false information that Wikus has contracted a contagious disease from copulating with aliens, and they hunt for Wikus.
Wikus hides himself in District 9, where he finds an alien called Christopher Johnson hiding a command ship underneath his hut.
According to Christopher, the liquid Wikus took away is the fuel for their spaceships, and he has spent 20 years collecting it to escape from the Earth. He explains to Wikus that if he can use the liquid fuel to reactivate the command ship, he can undo Wikus’ mutation in the mothership over Johannesburg.
The leader of a Nigerian gang living in District 9, Obesandjo (Eugene Khumbanyiwa) has collected the aliens’ weapons. After robbing Obesandjo of the weapons, Wikus and Christopher infiltrate the MNU laboratory, carrying the weapons, and try to retrieve the liquid fuel.
“District 9” is an entertaining science fiction film that deals with the political themes such as racial discrimination, antiforeignism, and social segregation. It is also a military action film featuring real weapons and a robotic suit.
The setting of the film is inspired by historical events in South Africa, such as the forced removals from Cape Town’s District Six during the apartheid era, and refugee issue.
The film consists partly of sequences in pseudo-documentary or found footage style, including fictional interviews, news footage, and video footage.
In the 82nd Academy Awards, the film received four nominations: Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay, Best Achievement in Film Editing, and Best Achievement in Visual Effects.