District 9  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

District 9 is a 2009 South African science fiction film directed by Neill Blomkamp, written by Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell, and produced by Peter Jackson. The film stars Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope, and Robert Hobbs. Copley plays the role of Wikus van de Merwe, a bureaucrat assigned to relocate a race of extraterrestrial creatures, derogatorily referred to as "prawns", from a refugee camp in Johannesburg to a new one outside the city.

The story, adapted from Alive in Joburg, a 2005 short film directed by Blomkamp and produced by Copley, deals with the issues of xenophobia and social segregation. The title and premise of District 9 were inspired by historical events that took place in South Africa during the apartheid in a residential area of Cape Town named District Six. The film was produced for $30 million and shot on location in Chiawelo, Soweto, presenting fictional interviews, news footage, and video from surveillance cameras in a part mock documentary style. A viral marketing campaign began in 2008 at the San Diego Comic-Con, and the theatrical trailer appeared in July 2009. Released on August 14, 2009 in North America by TriStar Pictures, the film received positive reviews and earned $37 million on its opening weekend.

Plot

In an alternate 1982, a large alien spacecraft stops directly above Johannesburg. When investigators enter the ship, they discover a population of sick and malnourished extraterrestrials, identified derogatorily as "prawns". The South African government confines the aliens to District 9, a government camp that is located outside of Johannesburg. Following periodic conflict between the aliens and the locals living near District 9, the government hires private military company Multinational United (MNU) to relocate the aliens to a new internment. Wikus van de Merwe (Sharlto Copley), an Afrikaner bureaucrat, is appointed by Piet Smit (Louis Minnaar), an MNU executive and his father-in-law, to lead the relocation. Meanwhile, three aliens — Christopher Johnson (Jason Cope), his son, and a friend — obtain a fluid of their native provenance, storing it in a small canister. Wikus seizes the canister, but accidentally sprays some of the fluid onto his face. Christopher's friend is subsequently killed by Koobus Venter (David James), a xenophobic soldier. Under the fluid's influence, Wikus gradually turns into an alien, starting with his left arm, and he is used by MNU to test various alien weapons which only function near alien DNA. The scientists then decide to vivisect Wikus; but he overpowers them and escapes. Smit orders Venter and his men to hunt Wikus down, while a cover story is published that says Wikus is a fugitive infected by an alien STD.

Wikus finds refuge in District 9 and stumbles into Christopher's shack, where he discovers a lost command module of their spacecraft underneath it. Christopher discloses that the fluid in the canister would allow him to reactivate the command module and in turn, the dormant mothership, in which he can reverse Wikus' mutation. To recover the canister from MNU headquarters, Wikus and Christopher obtain weapons from superstitious Nigerian arms-dealer Obesandjo (Eugene Khumbanyiwa) and his gang, attack the MNU offices, retrieve the canister, and flee to District 9 with MNU forces in pursuit. Appalled by the illegal experiments on his fellow aliens at MNU headquarters, Christopher decides to get help before curing Wikus, which will take three years, but Wikus attacks Christopher and attempts to fly the command module to the mothership, and is almost immediately shot down by Venter and his men. They seize Wikus and Christopher, but Obesandjo's gang seize Wikus, in Obesandjo's belief that eating Wikus' transformed arm will enable him to use alien weaponry. Obesandjo's base is then attacked by MNU.

In the command module, Christopher's son remotely activates the mothership and an alien mechanized battle suit which kills Obesandjo and his men. Wikus takes control of the battle suit and rescues Christopher, who promises to return in three years with a cure for Wikus. Wikus kills all the attacking soldiers before Venter forces the suit to eject him. As Wikus is cornered, a group of aliens kill Venter. Christopher and his son leave in the mothership, while Johannesburg's residents celebrate its departure.

A series of interviews and news broadcasts are shown speculating Wikus' whereabouts and the potential return of Christopher and the mothership, and what it may entail. MNU's illegal experiments are exposed, and District 9 demolished, with all the aliens removed to the larger District 10. Wikus' wife Tania finds a metal flower on her doorstep, giving her hope that Wikus is still alive. The final scene shows a fully transformed Wikus building a similar flower.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "District 9" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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