Friday, 18 September 2009

So what did YOU think of District 9?

Last night I went to the cinema with the boys...I didn't even doubt their film choice.   I did wish I had some female company to discuss the film with because whilst Neill Blomkamp's District 9 is most definitely science fictionit actually gives a picture of what real life is like.

Set in Johannesburg, an alien ship arrives and remains suspended over the city.  Cutting into the ship the government finds a mass of malnurished aliens, referred to as 'prawns', who they house in District 9, a highly militarised slum within Johannesburg.  Twenty years later the film sees the prawns discriminated against, forced to give any technology bearing their mark simply because the humans don't understand it.  In particular amazing alien weapons, which can only be activited by someone with their genetics.

This leaves the prawns abused, weaponless in a society consistently using weapons against them, ready to be evicted to a concentration style camp called Disctrict 10 240km away from Johannesburg.  Wikus, an agent from MNU (Multinational United) has the job og evicted the prawns, finding any 'illegal' elements such as nests of eggs and weapons along the way.  Not understanding a tube he finds he attempts to open it, spraying himself with alien fluid that infects him and causes him to begin the transformation into a prawn.

Wikus becomes highly valuable as the only human to successfully blend their DNA with that of the aliens, allowing him to utilise their weapons.  On the run from government experimentations Wikus meets alien Christopher, who was intending to use the fluid to power the mothership back to their home planet.  They team up with the promise that Christopher can cure Wikus.

I would have explained it in a shorter way if apologies.  To me, the film highlighted the fact that society has a way of shunning or abusing what they don't understand.  There was almost a sense that the aliens were like immigrants...lacking in resources, suffering, most definitely not always embraced by the country to which they move.  These undertones were very clever and combined with an awful amount of fighting, weapons and gore made for a very good "boy film" the boys I went to referred to it.

As we left they all chattered amongst themselves and then turned to me..."so what did YOU think?" they each asked with this big grin on their faces.  I can't say I didn't enjoy it because I did...though the gore from the transformation completely turned my stomach at times and the shaky hand held camera work (which in any film just annoys me because it makes it difficult for me to watch)...but I believe I enjoyed it for entirely different reasons to them.

I didn't see the prawns as aliens but as misunderstood refugees that society was unwilling to accept, let alone help them learn what is right and wrong in order for them to integrate with society.  I read into it a lot more than the boys, maybe I should just say there's lots of blood, guns, bombs, government action and aliens...boys you'll love it.  I will advise women though to not eat food whilst watching it and to make sure there is another intelligent female there to discuss the almost uncomfortable comparisons made with real life.  Enjoy.

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