District 9 – Peter Jackson’s Recipe For Prawn

The problem with Peter Jackson’s new film, District 9, is that you either love it or hate it. There is no in-between, as one day an alien spacecraft appears over the skies of South Africa causing much speculation by newscasters and politicians. The story is introduced as a documentary, focused through the lens of the media and portrays the government’s attempt at first contact, as they wait for something to happen.

After cutting their way into the ship, soldiers find malnourished arthropods, moving aimlessly aboard without a leader. They are brought to Earth and housed in District 9 until the government sends a bureaucrat, Wilkus Van De Merwe, to relocate 2 million Prawns, a name given them by authorities. In the process, Wilkus is exposed to some sort of black alien liquid and begins a metamorphosis into one of the insects, as the substance somehow alters his DNA, also allowing him to use the alien weapons which wont work for humans.

The film was produced by Peter Jackson and directed by Neill Blomkamp (who also wrote the screenplay) and Terri Tatchell and stars Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope and Robert Hobbs. Filmed entirely in South Africa, it is a thinly veiled social commentary on Apartheid and Xenophobia as politics and culture seep into the storyline exploring the larger questions of sequestered ghetto life, racism and morality. However the line of human depravity suggested in the film also crosses the line into cannibalism.

Science fiction at its best is an ideal format to present contemporary issues using social satire that is close enough to reality to be identifiable yet far enough away to be palatable, but to be a good and interesting film also requires it to be entertaining. District 9 does not achieve any of those objectives,  instead, it is slow moving, boring and fails to gain the audience’s sympathy for any of the characters.

For more complete information about this movie, visit the Imdb link

Other links:
Top Ten Science Fiction/ Fantasy Films
The Three Worst Science Fiction/Fantasy Films

District 9