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On the surface, District 9 appears to be everyday sci-fi/action thriller: a harsh conflict between two alien races with a main character trapped in a proverbial “no-man’s land,” finally deciding to “do the right thing.” The main premise of the movie centers around an alien race, derogatorily labeled “prawns,” unwillingly placed in a refugee camp on the soil of Earth. Writer and director Neill Blomkamp takes the homeless setting of a refugee camp to another level, as the relocation is not only geographical foreign to the residents, but extra-terrestrially foreign as well.

District 9 illustrates how the Human Race is the insidious instrument of evil. It’s a movie which explores the lengths to which men will go to attain power and wealth. The movie begins with a initially negative description of the aliens that have landed on Earth. They are depicted as subhuman and overly violent but it soon becomes apparent who the true malcontents are. The aliens are deposited in an area known as District 9 for their ‘protection”, but the area quickly degenerates into a slum. Crime rages rampantly and the aliens live in miserable shack houses devoid of even the most basic of necessities. The South African Government and MNU claim to work for the benefit of the “prawns” but in reality, such measures are mere facades for the hidden intentions of MNU and other organizations.

The humans do not care for the welfare of the aliens. Through the unfortunate exploits of Wikus Van der Merwe, countless acts of illegal exploitation of aliens are witnessed by viewers. Medical and military experiments are carried out on defenseless aliens who are treated as guinea pigs for heinous and inhumane trials. This inhumanity stems from a basic need: power. The aliens possess weapons of immense firepower but only they are able to use it. Their presence sparks a power race that reveals all the cruel aspects of humanity such as greed and self-interest. Ironically, the humans who brand the aliens as malicious and evil are themselves power hungry sadists who torture and kill for their own benefits.

The underlying message of Blomkamp’s film is not lost on the sensitive viewer. The fantastic special effects and wonderful story-line will draw in the active film connoisseur and open up another world to him or her. While this world might appear alien at first glance, Blomkamp will force his viewers to see that indeed, it looks eerily like our own.




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