There’s a difference between science fiction and faux science fiction. The difference comes in whether the plot and characters are believable and the audience actually cares.
In the new Peter Jackson flick, District 9, I found that I could not care less about the stupid characters who plague this faux genre.
In District 9, in Johannesburg, South Africa, Wikus Van Der Merwe (played by Sharlto Copley) has been elected to head up a task force to move the refugee aliens from District 9 to District 10.
While this bumbling man is in the process of moving the aliens, who look like giant green roaches, he comes across a tube of brown liquid, which gets on his face. This brown liquid ends up turning Wikus into one of the aliens himself, tentacles and all. Now an outcast of his society, Wikus joins forces with an alien named Christopher Johnson to help them get back to the mother ship, which is hovering over District 9. Once on the mother ship, Christopher can return home to get help for the other aliens and he can turn Wikus back to a human again. He just needs three years.
Not only is this film disgustingly horrible, but I couldn’t find any reason to care about the characters and whether or not they survive, or whether Wikus gets to be human again.
Not only was this faux sci fi, but Jackson also tried to re-capture the Cloverfield mania; he was behind that, too.
District 9 starts off as a documentary of sorts. But director Neill Blomkamp did away with all of that documentary stuff and shot the film as if it were a story, a story that makes me want to throw up just thinking about it.
I’m not sure what screenwriters Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell were thinking when they wrote this script. It’s totally stupid. In the beginning, I saw the parallels of the aliens being the Africans and the humans being the white South Africans who have treated them as third-class citizens. So the buildup was there. But this film turned into some kind of grossed- out cheese fest; complete with people exploding every ten minutes. Too many bloody chunks fly around in this film.
Some trivia behind this film is that Peter Jackson paid Blomkamp, a native of Johannesburg, $30 million to direct District 9 after a proposed Halo film project fell through.
Jackson let Blomkamp do whatever he wanted to do. He should have stayed more on top of things. Blomkamp derives this film from a viral movie on youtube.com, called
Alive In Joburg; for which he created the special effects.
Now don’t get me wrong, I think Jackson is a genius. I absolutely love all of the Lord of the Rings movies, but Jackson turning down The Hobbit (a film project) to work things like District 9 and Cloverfield, just plain hurts. He’s so talented, and he’s leaving his films to other people and letting them run amok. But, it is what it is. What’s done is done. So, I have to live with that.
Moving on to other actors. The only one worth mentioning is the top villain, Koobus Venter (played by David James), an MNU (Multinational United – kind of like United Nations) soldier. I was actually upset when he was killed; sorry if I just spoiled it for the few of you lucky enough not to have seen District 9.