An alien ship has more or less landed on earth (it’s been hanging over Johannesburg for about 20 years). The aliens are stuck here and get horded together and locked into a slum/fugitive camp outside Johannesburg, called District 9. Wikus (Sharlto Copley) works for the weapons corporation MNU (Multi-National United) who are responsible for the aliens or “prawns” as they are called. When a project is started to relocate the prawns to another compound, Wikus gets put in charge and is sprayed with some kind of liquid. And then things quickly start to change.
Can you say overhyped? Because that is what Distric 9 is. It’s racist and sexist and there a plot holes a mile wide. The special effects aren’t bad and the basic idea is fine. But the only really good thing about it is Sharlto Copley.
Let’s start with the good things: The special effects, especially for a film that had probably had a rather small budget compared to other films in the genre, were really good. The aliens seemed really real. And the ship was completely awesome.
Sharlto Copley gave a mind-blowing performance (and made me look forward to the A-Team movie even more). It was really great to watch.
The basic idea, as I said, is interesting – the stranded aliens, the ghetto and the problems that arise from that. Unfortunately that’s not only where the alien’s and the people’s problems start, but also those of the movie.
First of all, the plot holes:
- Why would the MNU be responsible for the aliens and the ghetto and not the government or the UN? [I mean, come on, the UN is everywhere in Africa, they’d definitely be there too.] And if it wasn’t weird enough that a private company got the responsibility for the aliens, it’s a weapons company… I just couldn’t believe that.
- Then the aliens speak alien and the humans speak English and yet they have no problem understanding each other and keep talking in their respective languages? What the hell? When I meet someone who has English has their mother tongue but speaks German as well, we will come to some kind of agreement whether we’ll speak English or German and we will not continue to have the conversation in two different languages.
- Alien-human communication is obviously possible – so why does nobody bother to talk with the aliens?
- Seriously, they run out of fuel? SERIOUSLY?
- I don’t understand why the aliens wouldn’t rebel. They’re treated like shit, they are locked in and they have access to hugely advanced weapon. Seems to me the only logical thing that can come from that is some mega-battle.
And those are just the things I can think of right off the bat.
And then the racism… Seriously people, if this movie tries to be a criticism of the racism and apartheid in South Africa (and I have my doubts about that), then it fails spectacularly. I don’t think I’ve seen a movie as unashamedly racist as this one in long time.
The only black people (apart from a soldier/bodyguard who gets to die and a young intern who gets to say what a good man Wikus is) are the Nigerians and they are the evil drug and weapon dealers who practice witchcraft and eat the aliens as well as try to eat Wikus. Also, the only prostitutes we see who actually cater to the aliens are all black… WTF? Would it have been so hard to include one black specialist to be interviewed which would have made things slightly better?
And then the sexism, which is especially obvious in Wikus’ wife: Her father tells her that her husband fucks aliens and generally is an asshole and she immediately believes him. Then her husband calls and tells her it isn’t so and she immediately believes him. Does she have no thinking capacity of her own?
And the final straw was the mockumentary style, which was so quickly dropped when the story couldn’t be told like that anymore. Either do it or don’t. But to go ahead and only do it when you feel like it – that really bugged me.
Summarising, an offensive movie that was completely overhyped but is ultimately skipable.