Do you know about ketchup? You see, there are five known fundamental tastes in the human palate: salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and umami. And ketchup, or at least Heinz ketchup, combines all five of these, to create an overwhelmingly satisfying taste. Yum. It is a little salty, a little sweet, a little sour, a little bitter, and most importantly: it has umami. For those of you unfamiliar with umami, it is the rich and hearty taste of “protein,” for lack of a better description. It’s meaty. Thick. (That is what she said.) And it is present in ketchup, which is why ketchup is such a popular condiment. There are very few individual foods that combine all five tastes so perfectly.

Is District 9 the Heinz ketchup of movies, or what?

Wow, what a great movie. It really had everything! It hit all of the pleasure centers. On some level it was just a straight-ahead alien action-adventure movie. How exciting was it, for example, when Wikus first fired that force-field gun? (Really, all of the alien weaponry scenes were pretty fun and exciting, you have to admit.) It had an origin story (Wikus’s transformation from doofus into hero), it had an escape story, it had an unobtrusive–which is rare–love story, it had betrayal and cute children and horror gross-outs. Oh man.

And then, of course, there was the overlying metaphor, always present in alien movies (alien=Other=duh) but super-present here with the Johannesburg slums, and the racial tension, and the documentary style cinematography (more on that in a second). But what was so effective about all of this was that it was seamlessly worked into the story. It was a backdrop, yes, but it wasn’t slapdash, or gimmicky (maybe a tiny bit gimmicky, fine) and it was not overbearing. Like, I still need a few days to think about the over-arching meaning of some of this stuff, you know? It did not beat you over the head, as it so easily could have. It just filled your head with a bunch of stuff, and then left the two of you alone. But how wonderful for a funtimes action adventure alien movie to also give you something to think about!

Another thing I liked: how the movie was simultaneously super simple, and also super complicated, all at the same time. Levels! (Districts!)

Sharlto Copley (Wikus) was so great, too. It is really important in pseudo-documentaries to cast unknowns otherwise the edifice of reality falls apart. Following Will Smith around with a video camera doesn’t make any sense. (Congratulations on graduating from Pseudo-Documentary School.) And it is nice to see a movie without any famous people in it do really well on the basis of it just being a good movie. Come on, guys, Topher Grace doesn’t have to be in EVERYTHING. But if the unknown actors do their job well, then they won’t be unknowns the next time, and that is the case here. Dude is going to be in more movies, for sure. Good for him. Be in all of them. You’ve earned it. He got some help from the writing, though, because his character was really solid. He was lovable and also detestable at the same time, just like human beings! He hit his friend Christopher in the head with a shovel and stole his fucking spaceship. His boy was in there. What an asshole! And even towards the end he was going to abandon him in his mecha suit. But then he did come back. you have to give him credit for that. He came back and he saved Christopher Johnson.

There was a minor breakdown in logic about halfway through the movie, when Wikus escaped from the military scientists and eventually made camp in District 9…but was still being followed by a documentary crew? I mean, I know that he wasn’t, he was just the subject of the movie, and they kept the visual style consistent, but it’s kind of like the problem I have with The Office entering it’s sixth season. If that was really a documentary, it is too long. Who is still watching these normal people go about their day to day lives at a paper company? But whatever. Marriage is a compromise, and to some extent so is the logic of District 9.

The other thing that was really interesting about the fake-documentary style of the movie was how accustomed we are in the west to only experiencing the third world through documentaries. So on one level, it was using all of the tropes that we recognize from documentaries in general, yes, but on another level it tapped into our (my) entire experience of this part of the world, which is almost exclusively through British Empire-inflected talking heads going on and on about the plight of the Africans (who are then interviewed themselves against a backdrop of garbage). I don’t even know what all of this means! I’m not a scientist. But it is something to think about! You racist!

I read one complaint somewhere via somewhere that the last half-hour was “lazy and conventional.” That hardly seems to be the case. I mean, I guess there was, like, a chase scene, and the bad guy got his head ripped off, but lots of the narrative threads were left untied. Wikus wasn’t turned back into a human, or reunited with his wife. None of the aliens were rescued. The slum redistricting plan went ahead as scheduled. Admittedly, I’m pretty sure they used the words “District 10” in the final sentence of the movie (I get it!) and as he was escaping, Christopher promised to come back in three years, which is approximately how long it would take to finish the sequel, but, you know, movies is movies.

And what a movie! Right?

Comments (125)
  1. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  2. I went into this movie skeptical, as it is not based on a childhood game nor did I collect any Pepsi cans with funny alien writing on it. Nor was there a Sam Jackson catch phrase. So why go see it, you are asking. But see, it had this thing called “a good story” in it. We should really start importing this “good story” thing as it doesn’t require a big budget or a Sam Jackson recorded message to send your friends.

    • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

      • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

        • Bye!

          • MK  |   Posted on Aug 19th, 2009 +2

            I don’t want to give you a heart attack, but I saw a clip made by Seth MacFarlane (the first in a series, apparently) in which he uses Family Guy to make fun of the other (read: worthy) Emmy nominees. In this clip, and I hope you’re sitting down, Stewie makes the EXACT SAME JOKE about The Office that you discussed last year with regard to why they’re still making that documentary. Basically, Seth MacFarlane is stealing your ideas or the two of you are more alike than you might hope (man is the real monster). I apologize if I’ve ruined your day/life.

          • MK  |   Posted on Aug 19th, 2009 +2

            And clearly I need to catch up on the last two days of Videogum. Go about your business, nothing to see here.

        • Wait, what? Dude you maybe you should just CalmDownJ2: CalmDownJ Harder.

        • All because I liked District 9?

        • I guess technojeremy watched “The Room” recently?

        • didn’t much enjoy your hate-speechin’ but i was lots of loving about ‘gabe-alos.’
          still doing it!
          have fun at dinner!
          (that’s the joke, right? i skimmed the entry that that joke is from and i live all day, every day regretting it. not really. but a little.)

        • Bout fucking time you left, clown.

  3. As well as this film is obviously doing, I think it might have benefited from being released on a more conspicuous day, like oh say, 9/9/09.

  4. fun-yuns  |   Posted on Aug 18th, 2009 -1

    Was Good, was good. Try to beat me over the head with racial sub-text little less, yes?

  5. I really liked it too, and was especially grateful that the trailers didn’t give large portions of the story away. I have a hard time imagining the Halo movie would have been this resonant.

  6. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  7. Matt  |   Posted on Aug 18th, 2009 -19

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • agreed. also, i emphatically did not like that the only “good, smart” aliens were the only ones who wore clothes and had names. to me, it actually made the whole “hating others is bad” point because it clearly divided “others” into two camps: those who are smart and wear clothes and have christian names, and those who are all hopped up on drugs and violent and are stupid. which reinforces all these colonialist ideas about africans. also, the depictions of actual africans were pretty vile. and the nigerians were speaking the wrong language. which was also problematic for me.

      • i have no idea why this posted twice, and in different places. sorry, y’all!

        • Well I think the fact that the aliens weren’t one-fucking-dimensional extraterrestrials like you see in so many other science fiction films was a breath of fresh air. They actually had diversity! Whaddya know! Like an ACTUAL sentient species. Neil Blomkamp’s explanation for Christopher Johnson’s obvious intellectual superiority over his insectoid brethren was that he was one of a few, or perhaps the only, officers left after the higher command on the particular spacecraft died. You wouldn’t trust a construction worker to figure out how to fuel a spaceship, would you? No, the scientist (Johnson) will do it, thank you very much.

          • Also, the fact that the aliens had “christian” names had nothing to do with an attempt to make the audience sympathize with the aliens, but more so show another way humans tried to assimilate them into our culture without respecting theirs.

            ANOTHER THING. In an interview with Neil, he commented on how the Nigerian gangsters in the film are an actual representation of the Nigerian crime scene that runs rampant through Johannesburg and South Africa in general. He said he wanted the movie to be as true to its location as possible, and thus would portray the crime scene the way it actually is. Now I’m no South African expert, but maybe we should take the SOUTH AFRICAN’S WORD FOR IT.

          • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

          • I want to eat your arm! I’m a scary African Savage! OOOOGA BOOGA!

          • as much as i didn’t want to start some racist bullshit commenting war, it is exactly that social construct that i had a problem with, since that EXACT REASONING was the justification for apartheid (as well as structural racism within the US) in the first place- black africans were characterized as the unintelligent worker faction of the human race, and their “bad behaviors” once placed within the bantustans were used to justify their continued mistreatment. so every time someone uses the, “it’s ok they were depicted as a socially stratified society because hey, they’re ALIENS, they’re DIFFERENT” justification line in regards to this movie i get pretty pissy, because that is a very familiar statement. i feel like if they had maybe gone a little deeper instead of falling back on the one noble savage who is different from his depraved brethren trope i would’ve been ok. but nope. it’s supposed to be ok that they are functionally retarded and eat cat food because they’re aliens, despite the fact that everyone with half a brain is reading this as an allegory for slums and refugee camps around the world.

          • While I will applaud your intelligent and enlightening comment about your feelings on the movie, and will admit I hadn’t thought about a few of those things, I do want to say that I don’t think the fact that the aliens loved cat food had anything to do with their intelligence. But good job on welding my mouth shut!

          • This was in no way intended to sound sarcastic. I’m all sincerity over here!

          • truce declared. ultimately, i figure this is the whole point about “movie club” posts, to discuss what we thought about movies. and then some professor sociology jackass like me can get on a high horse about some science fiction movie. and my bit about the cat food- it was really the last thing i cared about. im done being all obnoxious up in this shit. sorry i couldn’t just say that i loved it like everyone on here and all of my friends.

          • I will put to rest the great catfood debate with servicey-ness! From a Vanity Fair Interview with Blomkamp:

            VF: And the fact they live together without anything. And then the cat food.

            NB: Yeah, the aliens have this addiction [to cat food].

            VF: Where did that come from?

            NB: In a lot of the really impoverished areas of Johannesburg you see these packets of cheesy puffs which are like 6 feet long and the width of a basketball, and they?re transparent and they have like 10,000 cheesy puffs in them, and you can buy that for like 50 cents. It?s kind of a weird treat that you?d see people having in the townships. So I thought in this poverty stricken environment there should be something that seems like a delicacy to them but we would view as not a delicacy. And then Terri, who is the co-writer, she?s from Vancouver and she used to go catch crabs and stuff, but for the prawns, she used to bait the thing with cat food?that?s what they?d go for. And that name ?prawn? had already been come up with, so, O.K., let?s just use cat food then.

            Although I guess we can start arguing that Blomkamp’s interpretation of the cheesy puff industry in Johannesberg is also racist, or at the least, maybe classist, because “delicacies” are not usually in the 6 feet for 50 cents price range, except yuck, then this would be Gladwell-gum.

          • They act like savages because they were forced into a savage environment, and they eat cat food because they’re fucking starving. Put humans in a slum and watch as they kill each other over petty grievances and eat trash for food. The prawns are humanized, and humans don’t exactly thrive under prolonged exposure to desperate circumstances.

          • Pete  |   Posted on Aug 24th, 2009 +1

            I actually read that in the events of the actual apartheid people were given (and ate) cat food. So it’s actually just a little thing that they threw in there in reference, not to show how dumb the aliens are, but just how desperate people can get in outlandish situations such as are portrayed in the movie.

      • Maybe they’re wearing clothes so we can tell them apart. Wait, was that racist?

        • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

          • The Nigerians in this film were not Nigerians in real life and did not speak with a Nigerian accent and the language they spoke to each other was not Nigerian. I know this because they person sitting next to me was an actual Nigerian, and he was not pleased with the Nigerians in the film being the bad guys. That said, he loved the film. It might be unfair to have the bad guys Nigerians, but they were Nigerian gangsters, not Nigerian doctors or football stars. Just sayin’.

      • southwer  |   Posted on Aug 21st, 2009 0

        I didn’t really notice any aliens being violent except in response to violence directed towards them. I have no idea about whether or not Nigerians were speaking the correct language.

      • but can’t we agree that in every group of people (or aliens) there are beings of varying intelligence and skill levels? not every person is an engineer or author or factory foreperson. some people work in gas stations or push shopping carts collecting bottles and cans. i didn’t see the fact that they focused on our buddy CJ and CJ jr as a statement that they, as the prawn ‘elites’, were more deserving of respect. it just stemmed from the fact that CJ had the secret ship, and he had the ship because he was craftier than some of his friends, in certain ways. (maybe he was a terrible barterer and never was able to get cat food! we just don’t know!)
        a lot of the random aliens were wearing clothing pieces. i remember noticing one alien wearing a bubblegum pink bra. sassy! and they took down christian names for several of the aliens during the bullying raids. but we don’t really notice the random aliens or their names so much, the same way we don’t know the name of every single SWAT team guy, because they’re just extras, you know?
        but agreed, the depiction of the nigerians was not flattering, obvs, and smelled a little hate crimey to me.

    • maybe if you used your brain parts a little you could figure it out champ. CJ was looking for that fluid so they could make the ship start up again, also they were starving in the ship so perhaps for food as well.

    • WRONG. I learned so many life lessons from District 9:

      -Never trust corporate executives or mercenaries (but I repeat myself).
      -Don’t assume that you can fly the spaceship. You will crash and burn.
      -You can’t run away from your problems, even in your high-tech robot suit.

      And most importantly: Don’t let the Nigerian warlord eat your arm.

  8. I was 100% in tears when Christopher Johnson was showing his boy the brochure for d10.
    This was a really well put together story, and having seen refugee camps first hand, it’s not an exaggeration how trashed, violent, and inhuman the conditions in these places are.
    All of the meaningful hand shakes for Neill Blomkamp and everyone else behind this.

  9. You hit the nail on the head with the first paragraph. It was everything! And also, open endings are the best. I’ll be a little upset if there’s a sequel. I love not knowing what will happen if and when Christopher returns with some friends. What deserves to happen to us for being complacent when shit goes down?
    I also pissed some friends off by saying i liked it more than The Dark Knight, but yknow whatever. I stand by it. (this sounds like i am picking internet fights. i was just curious if anyone else held the same blasphemous opinion)

    • Ugh, when will filmmakers decide to stop making EVERYTHING a series? Sometimes there’s a good movie that stands well on it’s own and doesn’t need a sequel with Christopher Johnson and Wikus flying through space kicking alien ass and trying to find a cure for Wikus’ problem.

    • i was pretty nyeh about dork knight, too.

      i was a weensy bit nyeh about this movie, too, but less so than dork knight.

      so, you’re not alone.

  10. I remember seeing some sort of interrogation scene in the trailer that seemed like it was going to give some insight as to why the aliens were there in the first place. I found it curiously absent from the film.

    Some one correct me if I just don’t remember it, I have a history of recreational drug use.

    • Nope. I was looking for it, too. It still playing in the TV spots, which is odd.

      From what I could gather from the set-up: the aliens were essentially the blue-collar, uneducated workers of their civilization and when they had no more use for them, they dumped them on Earth. Oh man, another level. Australia!

  11. Lyle  |   Posted on Aug 18th, 2009 +5

    The FDR of Nigerians was my favorite.

  12. hiho  |   Posted on Aug 18th, 2009 +11

    I took my boyfriend and was completely engrossed the whole time and even teared up at the flower at the end, and then the lights come up and he’s all “You owe me one” and I notice that everybody else had a similarly unenthusiastic response. I just– I can’t.

  13. I loved this movie, but the one thing that really bothered me was the use of English subtitles for characters who were speaking English — especially the Nigerians. It’s not like they were speaking Yoruba, they just had accents.

    • yeah.. and not to be dr. knowledge over here, but they weren’t speaking yoruba or any other nigerian language, really. they were speaking in a mishmash of zulu and swahili. that’s sort of like deciding to make a movie that has japanese characters in it who speak in a mixture of vietnamese and korean, and hoping that nobody notices because hey, that’s just a minor detail.

    • Yeah, but their accents were thick enough that non-South Africans could plausibly have trouble understanding them. It’s just a convenience to the audience, no need to get pissed over it.

      • whenever i see subtitles for people speaking broken English, I go awww, your accent sucks, too bad. it’s like how toshiro mifune would do his darndest to phonetically learn his lines in English only to have the director choose to dub his lines in later. (b/c he was The Worst). Then he would be all :( . it also happened to mifune in spanish. `:~(

        on the other hand, they also put in subtitles in the Deadliest Catch sometimes, b/c you simply cant fucking hear them. so i agree, no need to get anyone’s panties in a bunch regarding subtitles for anyone.

  14. Mark  |   Posted on Aug 18th, 2009 -5

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  15. woozefa  |   Posted on Aug 18th, 2009 -15

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  16. royce  |   Posted on Aug 18th, 2009 0

    Well, to be fair to the movie’s visual style, they do that in documentaries all the time. Hell, they do it on The First 48 and those guys are just from Memphis.

  17. Lew Zealand  |   Posted on Aug 18th, 2009 +3

    I agree that this was a really satisfying movie on a number of levels. One minor annoyance – why is it that these types of movies have to have such one-dimensional antagonists? His father in law immediately agrees that Wikus should be dissected for research? That doesn’t even make sense from a scientific standpoint. Okay, they set it up that he didn’t like him, but to instantly agree to have him killed? All of the characters in league with him were similarly thin. – A little nuance there – have some of them, any of them show some sort of uncertainty over how they’re treating Wikus and/or the Prawns – would go a long way. But whatever, they’re bad guys. Fine. Like I said, minor annoyance. Four-and-a-half flying fishes (out of five).

    • I think you forgot that Wikus’s father-in-law is the head of MNU and they are the ones who are experimenting and treating the aliens like crap, just to find out how to use their weapons. All that crap in that room probably has been studied for those three years… I don’t know.

  18. ALIEN: Goodbye Main Character! I’ll come back in three years for a sequel… and to fix you.

    AUDIENCE: Uh… thanks. We’re good. Take it easy.

  19. Beyond the particulars of the film, which I loved, I was left with a strong feeling of gratitude towards District 9 for the service it has done for Science Fiction as a genre. While the term ?Science Fiction? has become synonymous with films featuring break-dancing robots and serial killers in space, I have always considered Sci-Fi to be the utilization of the plausibly fantastic as an expression for a particular social climate or the human condition in general. So that being said, District 9 (much like Moon earlier this summer) really proved that Science Fiction can still produce some genuinely thoughtful and relevant films.

    Further, while the guy who played Wikus was great, how awesome was it that the audience was (arguably) more attached to Christopher Johnson and son of Christopher Johnson? That?s how you movie!

  20. SG  |   Posted on Aug 18th, 2009 0

    The interrogation scene was part of the original short film that the movie is based on. In fact from what I remember of the short, the first trailer for District 9 was a cut up version of the film, no new scene’s at all.

  21. Josh  |   Posted on Aug 18th, 2009 +5

    Two complaints:
    -The scene where Copley has to shoot an alien with alien technology, somebody laughed even though it was really intense and sad. The movie really couldn’t have done anything about that, but maybe for the sequel, they could only let in people who know what laughing signifies.
    -A real complaint is when Copley one second is like “Stupid aliens” and then is all like “Go on without me”. “Go on without me”? No, thank you.

    But overall it was great, and with Ponyo coming out the same weekend, it was the best weekend.

    • Mark  |   Posted on Aug 18th, 2009 +7

      Yeah, Copley was pretty over the top. You buy into him or you don’t. In the theatre I saw the movie, there was a lot of laughter directed at him during serious scenes. One guy behind me thought it was the COMEDY OF THE YEAR.

  22. I really liked the movie. I think in the wake of the Funny People FAIL this summer, it’s just nice to see a movie made on the cheap by someone who isn’t parading his own life in front of the cameras for approval, and isn’t relying on stars to dupe us into liking a poorly thought out film.

    I know these two films are totally unrelated, but they are the two movies I was most looking forward to this summer, and I was glad that one paid off.

    Plus, you know, cool aliens.

  23. I don’t think I have anything to add that Gabe didn’t already mention. I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed it on many levels. This is the movie that Avatar could be if Cameron didn’t spend twenty years focused on nothing but visuals.
    My only complaint is that it took a while for the CG Prawns doing normal, human things to not seem a little silly. Suspension of disbelief and such.
    That final shot will stick with me for some time.

  24. I’ve heard a lot of tepid enthusiasm from the critical world. Sort of, “Oh well, it’s PRETTY good, I guess. Let’s not get too excited here.”

    But I’m too excited here. I’m with Gabe. I thought it was kind of incredible.

    • Evin  |   Posted on Aug 20th, 2009 0

      I dont think a 89 on rottentomatoes is a tepid critical response

      • But that number doesn’t represent the degree to which critics enjoyed a movie–it only gives a percentage of critics who generally recommend it. By contrast, on that same site the “Top Critics” “Average Rating” is 7.5, which is a little tepid!

        But anyway, the content of many reviews by the major critics I’ve read have disappointed me a little. They all seemed somewhat disappointed by the “shoot out” third act which I thought was great!

  25. Wow Gabe, I’ve never seen you get this worked up over anything before.

  26. kbs  |   Posted on Aug 18th, 2009 +3

    I saw Ponyo this weekend. I know where my loyalties lie.

  27. I’m in the “loved it” camp for this movie. I think you hit it right on Gabe, this movie had a little bit of everything. And plus all those flavors were proportioned really well. The love story was there, but it didn’t over-stay its welcome.

    And what’s with all the “9″ movies? District 9, 9, Nine. It’s like that and movies about toys. Is it just because the year is 2009? I don’t remember movies about the number 8 last year….

  28. Still haven’t seen District 9, so I all I will say is that Ketchup analogy was awesome.

  29. ROB  |   Posted on Aug 18th, 2009 +1

    “Doggystyle with a demon” loved this movie

  30. On a scale of 1-10 my disappointment in this movie hit about 9. Sure it had a little bit of everything, but it really did nothing well. I take that back, it did alien weaponry well, as Gabe pointed out. The love story didn’t get in the way which was ok but the escape story was sort of half assed. There were giant holes in the plot that left me scratching my head. For example, how does an alien and an internationally wanted man walk up to a an important multi-national agency building with weapons and no disguises? This turned into a strait up action flick somewhere along the line and I guess I just wanted more. I don’t know, I thought with the whole camp theme there would be a bit more profound social commentary to be drawn out of this. I know that says more about me than the movie, but I feel that is what I was lead to hope for in this film. Anyway, there will certainly be a District 10 or whatever they will call it and it will be successful but I will be taking my “I want to see stuff get blown up, damn with the plot” glasses.

  31. District 9: The intersection of Shindler’s List, The Fugitive, and The Fly. Huh? Huh? You guys like that?

  32. The ending was actually great for me. Since it was a commentary on Apartheid (which unfortunately still goes on unofficially today), the fact that we are left in an unknown as to the fate of wikus and the alien race served justice to the movie. I don’t think I ever cried (yes cried) in an action film. Yet I did when wikus bashed chris and took his kid. I also really enjoyed the fact that the film had a wholly realized character. One who actually went through a character arch. This was a wonderful social commentary and I think that if a “happy” ending were the case, the message would not have been as powerful.

    It had it’s flaws and it’s “huh?” moments, but ultimately I was really pleased that at least one summer blockbuster succeeded in having a storyline.

  33. I don’t care what anybody says, but if I were to get tapped to be the star of a documentary it is going to be the all-Brandon comedy hour. How many people do you know that would ever be in a documentary and not ham it up to some extent? That is what endeared Wikus to me and the fact that he acted like a real human would in those situations. He really only cared about himself and said what he was really thinking and feeling at the moment. They were stupid alien prawns when he didn’t need their help, but then they were real “people” who should be treated with respect when it benefited himself. The man did what he had to do to survive.

    And concerning the point of how he and Christopher could just walk up to MNU and get into the place, it makes sense if you think about it. If you are MNU wouldn’t you want the fugitive you are looking for to stroll into your headquarters? How much easier is that then looking through District 9?

    Also, the director is from South Africa and so is most of the cast. If anyone knows anything about apartheid it would be them. Just remember 1994 wasn’t that long ago.

    Overall, I thought it was really well done and enjoyed it thoroughly.

    • Agreed. I really loved his depiction of a self-important and rather incompetent middle manager because it was just so real ? ham & all. Plus, it?s always fun to see my fellow pencil-pushing bureaucrats get a little cinematic love.

  34. RunBMC  |   Posted on Aug 18th, 2009 +3

    I just saw this last night and was able to make it to a screening of MOON this afternoon. Both were very enjoyable experiences. Thank you, less-expensive sci-fi movies!

  35. gaby  |   Posted on Aug 18th, 2009 +3

    i love this movie…probably because I was waiting for a good movie after seeing Transformers 2 and Funny People in one week (ugh). Nonetheless, i think it was even better ebcause the trailer didn’t give much of the plot away. Really well-done and great acting debut by the lead character!

  36. Cricketboots  |   Posted on Aug 18th, 2009 +5

    I loved this movie. I loved it so much that I saw it twice.
    I understand the debates that are going on here… the documentary style was a little jarring when they kept switching between a documentary camera and then a regular movie style (good lingo, I know).

    I am pumped for a sequel. I know for artistic reasons they shouldn’t have one… but… CHRISTOPHER. BABY CJ!

    Oh man. This movie forever.

    (Also, it played in Cinema 9 at my theatre. So… good.)

  37. You know when you see a horrible movie, usually adapted from a children’s toy line or a popular television show or cartoon or video game, and at the end you say “Wow. What a piece of shit. Why can’t they just write something original with new characters and new ideas? Is it that hard?”
    Well, after I saw District 9 I found myself saying “thank you”.

  38. Loved this movie to smithereens. (The kids are saying that, probably.) Everyone has already summed up the reasons why. Some of my friends were unimpressed, as well. As with many of you, however, the film just hit the right notes with me.

    I thought the last third became a little Transformers: Rise of the Explosions, but it didn’t ruin it for me. Similarly, things became a little melodramatic towards the end of the movie. You know… Go on without me, do this thing before I change my mind, think of your son, et cetera. Thankfully, you could tell that the movie was never taking itself too seriously, so it wasn’t really a hindrance on my enjoyment, either.

  39. Kind of disappointed. They could have done so much more with alien hierarchy within the camp, involvement of other nations, uprisings, backstabbings, anything. Instead it turned into Tom Jane territory with a half assed love story and the weakest fight scene ever. Dude has a Superkilltank, and he can’t blow up the army douchebag because feelings? What?

    Neil Blumpkin can design some sweet guns though.

  40. justhecrust  |   Posted on Aug 19th, 2009 +2

    I saw this last night. It was great. I don’t really know how you could call it racist.. It was clearly anti-racism. The aliens were primitive because they lived in a primitive environment. There’s no time to be civilized when you’re struggling to survive. And the fact there was a Nigerian bad guy? So? There are tons of white bad guys and you don’t think that’s racist. He was a bad guy, doesn’t matter what race he is. Like I guess someone could interpret it as a stereotype, but I don’t think it was presented in that way at all. Also, I really liked how Wikus was not a cliche. He was selfish and a jerk, but he did redeem himself and the last scene was very sweet. Also, considering those aliens are all CG, and most of his best scenes were with the aliens, he is a crazy good actor. The only thing that was like ehh for me had nothing to do with story, etc. Because there was a lot of action, the action got kind of boring especially right before the end when they broke into MNU. The end fight however was totally awesome.

    I thought all the plots fit in really well together and that made it realistic for me. Life is not just Hey I need to do one thing and one thing only. It was kind of like The Constant Gardener and Children of Men but also with aliens.

  41. Dave  |   Posted on Aug 19th, 2009 -2

    District 9! It’s the racist lobotomy for the man of discriminating taste.

  42. The worst thing about watching this movie was the inbred hillbillies behind me who laughed everytime the lead actor swore in his apparently-hilarious accent. Literally every time. Which was a lot.

  43. eric.  |   Posted on Aug 19th, 2009 -6

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  44. sandy  |   Posted on Aug 19th, 2009 +1

    Maybe if you had stayed to watch the rest of the movie you wouldn’t be so perplexed? Why write a full paragraph rant about how much the movie sucked when all you’ve been able to form is a shell of an opinion based on the film’s first 45 minutes?

    a) It’s not all filmed like a documentary because it’s a MOVIE, get over it. They would not have been able to develop the characters or the plot as well as they did if it had been shot completely that way. I thought they kept the feel of the movie pretty consistent, and the transitions between the doc style and the more conventional one were all relatively smooth.

    b) The language thing is one of my main beefs with sci-fi movies. How can Han Solo understand that when Chewbacca moans or grunts it means “Give me a hand with this sandwich”? It makes no more sense than a human understanding a bear, which I believe was used, at least partially, for Chewy’s voice. ANYWAY, I’m willing to suspend my disbelief on this one for the sake of the movie and in the long run it’s not that big of a deal.
    Not everyone understands their language fluently. It sort of makes sense that a guy who works for a company that deals with the aliens on a regular basis can understand them to a certain extent doesn’t it? There was scene later in the movie where Wikus asks CJ to slow down “with the clicks” because it’s hard for him to understand.

    c) The aliens act brutally because of the environment they are placed in. If you had a gun put to your head and were being told you were being unlawfully evicted from your house would you be happy? No, you wouldn’t. The aliens are, apparently, from the uneducated working class of their planet and when they’re put into that situation they act like any human would. They are obviously capable of intelligence, they just aren’t given the opportunity.

    • eric.  |   Posted on Aug 19th, 2009 -6

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  45. Ford  |   Posted on Aug 20th, 2009 +3

    Dude, you guys DON’T EVEN KNOW. If your eyes are bleeding, that probably has more to do with some medical problem than it being a bad movie. You should go to the doctor. But really, how about when Wikus threw up on his cake? So good.

  46. One of the best sci-fil films I’ve ever seen, And I’ve seen most of the good ones.

  47. I haven’t seen District 9 yet [hopefully I will tomorrow! Fingers crossed!] so I don’t have anything to offer on that subject. However, Gabe, that article about mustard and ketchup you linked to is really interesting. Like, I really enjoyed it because condiments. Thanks!

  48. District 9 was a great film. Had damn near everything you could want in a film except a nude scene. Witty, funny, thoughtful, provocative, exciting. It was a blast and the theater I saw it in was packed with enthusiastic people at the end: they applauded, a movie. Yes, one of those old fashioned “good stories” was applauded.

    Nice one, South African director and stars no one’s heard of. We welcome you to Hollywood as our new masters. Thank you.

  49. I liked it. Enough said.

  50. southwer  |   Posted on Aug 21st, 2009 0

    I loved this but it made me sad. Sadder than an action movie has ever been able to make me feel. If Christopher Johnson and his small son had not gotten away at the end I might have thrown something at the movie screen. I guess that was the point.

  51. Jeff  |   Posted on Aug 23rd, 2009 0

    The breakdown in logic works when it breaks away from the docu-style. If you think of Cloverfield, you can’t get over the fact that the moron holds the camera the entire time, and he tries to come up with excuses on why he is still filming. South Park then spoofed it an tore that movie a new one, even though I still enjoyed it.

    District 9 was brilliant.

  52. eb  |   Posted on Aug 23rd, 2009 0

    Amazing movie… super good. That is all.

  53. kij22  |   Posted on Aug 23rd, 2009 0

    This movie was awesome. Based solely on how engaged I was the WHOLE time. Wikus’ fingernail scene was awesome. But, I also thought Funny People was very underrated.

  54. Pete  |   Posted on Aug 24th, 2009 0

    Wow. If you’re making comments on here yet simultaneously insulting the site, why don’t you take you whiny ass somewhere else. I’ve never even been to this site prior to reading this article, but I felt it necessary to comment on your negative form of criticism. I myself enjoy fart jokes and low brow humor just as much as some of the more high brow things, it all depends on how it’s employed and if its something interesting instead of something that’s been done to death. I liked the movie though. Can you explain to me what similarities there are between transformers and district 9. I haven’t seen transformers, but I have to be honest in saying that I already think that your comment is bullshit. Sorry

  55. Marshall  |   Posted on Aug 24th, 2009 +2

    good movie overall – I just got to thinking today how similar it is to Adaptation though. Did anybody else notice that? It kind of starts off as a socially conscious documentary about aliens and their oppressive human rulers and then by the 1:30 mark they just say “fuck it – lets just have Wikus get into this mechanical suit and blow the shit out of anything that moves”

    There were some (unintenially?) hilarious moments in the action sequences too though – when he picked up that pig/cow and threw it at the guy? Plus blowing up Nigerian Stephen Hawking’s head…

    My favorite thing about this movie is when white post-grads try to tell me how racist it is though. high humor!

  56. Just got back from seeing District 9 and… I… wow.
    I need to start by saying, this is an EXTREMELY well done science fiction movie and it will be the golden standard to which all science fiction movies will be compared, at least for me, etc. But I didn’t ENJOY watching it. You know? It was unrelentingly brutal and horrifying and violent as shit. Constant bloodshed and brutality. Of course, the horrible stuff was in there for a reason, and it’s not as if one would expect a sci-fi movie satirizing human rights abuses to be a Lots of Love fest full of kittens. The violence is appropriate. I respect this movie, I just wish I enjoyed it more…

    • On an unrelated note, HOW MUCH do you love the little prawn? I want to hug him to pieces, adopt him, and indulge all of his creative technological interests. I never knew lobster-aliens could be so cute!

  57. i spent my last 12 bucks i had on this movie and i feel like i shouldve paid 50 bucks for it! (not reall, but yknow what i mean) it was incredibly well done and i even started tearing up a bit towards the middle. (i NEVER do that!!) all in all, i love ketchup :)

  58. Casey  |   Posted on Sep 15th, 2009 +2

    “Why didn’t the aliens just fuck us up with their awesome guns that we can’t use instead of allowing themselves to be ghetto-fied?” was the question I kept asking myself.

  59. mighty undies  |   Posted on Sep 27th, 2009 -1

    Did you really write this yourself, Gabe?
    This movies was good or at least interesting for about 30 minutes, then spiraled down into boredom.
    Great idea, bad movie.

  60. woozefa  |   Posted on Oct 28th, 2009 0

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