Prawns Get Steamed In This Original Sci-Fi Thriller
In this tale, we find what happened to a race of aliens whose mothership somehow stopped functioning and hovered over Johannesburg, South Africa.
The humans burned their way inside and found aliens: they look like a cross between grasshoppers and lobsters and were later dubbed the degrading nickname, "prawns." They were brought down to District 9, which some saw as humanitarian and later degenerated into a slum.
after twenty years of inhabitation, the humans began to riot and wanted none of them. The parallels with the Prawns' fate and the now-defunct apartheid in South Africa are very clear, but Jackson and Blomkamp don't beat you over the head with it.
The aliens are indeed disgusting. Some forage, some try to get by, and some even engage in sex with prostitutes, which we are fortunate not to witness.
Our protagonist, Wikus, the son-in-law of a prominent administrator for MNU (Multi National United), is a clueless guy who is put in charge of moving the aliens out of District 9 and move them to another internment camp in District 10.
He is clueless and at times heartless, as when he sets an alien egg pod building on fire and gleefully tells the film crew that the popping you hear are the alien babies dying, and "it sounds just like popcorn"! Geesh...
During his clueless tour through District 9, he gets infected by an alien liquid that the Prawns have been secretly creating over the last twenty years to power their command module, which is buried beneath on of the ghetto shacks.
MNU sees Wikus as a biological weapon and wish to "harvest" him. Wikus himself becomes hunted and now knows what the Prawns feel. A particularly poignant scene is where one of the Prawns, "Christopher" discovers his race is being used for experimentation -- he slumps in a very human gesture over one of his charcoaled comrades. Quite intense.
The last third of the movie is more of a plain action/adventure shoot-em-up and though exciting (humans go *splat!*) does not end as I would like. The ending does make one ponder, however.
I read that District 9 is based on 29-year-old co-writer/director Neill Blomkamp's youth in South Africa during apartheid, influenced by the real former inner-city District 6 in Cape Town.
Fingernails falling out, black blood and a weapon that can gather bullets and fire them back are some of the highlights.