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District 9 (2009)

Consider the fact that a film not connected to a major Hollywood franchise may contain some of the best CGI you have ever seen in cinema. This may not sit well with fans of sci-fi heavy hitters such Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003) or Alien (1979), but this is likely the case when referring to District 9, a film that should be considered nothing short of a masterpiece. These are strong words to speak concerning a film that is certainly not as highly regarded as the film franchises that I’ve previously mentioned. The CGI in this film was seamless and was truly on par with the likes of the masterpieces of George Lucas, Peter Jackson (who happened to be a producer of this film) and Ridley Scott. After reading others’ reviews of this film, I noticed that there were claims that this film was sneakily political; this was, however, not the case at all. The political agenda in this film was right out in the open, but, with everything that happened over the course of the film, I thought it worked well, was entertaining and was essential to plot. There were obvious issues regarding discrimination and racism between human beings and the alien species known as “prawns.” From the moment the film began, Sharlto Copley’s Wikus Van De Merwe and the other characters displayed extreme aggression toward the newest inhabitants of earth, the prawns, and the film simply built on that idea. While these issues continue through the remainder of the film, it is Van De Merwe’s story that allows everything in the film to come together. The combination of Copley’s vivacious performance and Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell’s writing ability brought this unique character to life and forced the audience to take his side (at least for a while), even when he was quite antagonistic at the start of the film. Just as quickly as Blomkamp is able to pull you to the side of the aggressor, he is able to flip the script and force the audience to feel for what can only be called the protagonist of the film, Christopher Johnson (Jason Cope). These two characters, both together and separately, are what guide the story and cause the audience to feel an emotional tie to the film. Blomkamp’s decision to frame this film as a documentary was smart and was a great way of keeping the audience engaged and regularly asking questions. The way in which the story was presented regularly caused me to question whether or not Van De Merwe survived the film. We are presented the before, during and after of the situation the film covers and, yet, the filmmakers perfectly manipulate every scene and every word so that the audience is spared any spoilers. For those of you who have not had the opportunity to see this film, I recommend that you quickly rectify that situation.



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