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Thursday, February 06, 2014

Movie Review:District 9

Premise:A prejudiced human is forced into a situation that makes him look at the aliens in a new way.

Cast:Sharlto Copey as Wikus Van De Merwe, Jason Cope as Christopher Johnson, David James as Koobus Venter, Vanessa Haywood as Tania Van De Merwe

Director:Neill Blomkamp

MPAA Rating:R for bloody violence and pervasive language

Genres:Sci-fi, action, thriller

Notes:Images taken from Rotten Tomatoes.

Pros:Deeper than most alien/action movies. Good story.

Cons:Ends on a cliffhanger. Constant profanity. Violence is often numbing.

In 1982, the aliens landed. At first, the human race was happy to welcome them. But nearly three decades later, things have gotten a little tense, to say the least. The prawns, as they are referred to, are stuck in a slum in Johannesburg and aren't allowed to leave. Until they're evicted to go to a concentration camp, that is.

Lots of movies feature human versus alien conflicts. In this one, they parallel real-world racism. The prawns are treated like crap by just about every human they meet, including the protagonist. So of course, most humans aren't meant to have our sympathy.

This film works best when it's about the racism instead of the violence. When it's about the violence, it's either gross or numbing. To summarize, the whole violence, gore, and language are pretty graphic and most definitely not for kids (in case you missed the R rating). You may not want to watch it while eating.

The story is pretty interesting. It forces the protagonist into a unique and upsetting position with the help of a prawn and his kid. But the ending doesn't resolve much; it's the kind of ending that requires a sequel to finish the story.

In short, if you want something deeper than your average summer blockbuster and don't mind the graphic violence and language, consider this one.

Sex:Mention is made of inter-species prostitution, with a woman in a slinky dress appearing onscreen as this is said. A rumor is spread about a man getting a sexually transmitted disease from prawns. A partially censored picture is given as "proof". The man tells his crying wife he would never have sex with a creature. He is called brave for having anal sex with an alien and asked if he wore a condom.
Someone threatens to cut off someone else's testicles. One prawn wears a bra for some unexplained reason. Wikus is shown shirtless several times, though circumstances prevent this from being arousing. A man says of a mission, "It's like sex. My men have done this a hundred times."

Violence:Both humans and aliens are shot, blown up, and beaten. An object is shot into a man's head, causing it to swell up and then blow up. A man is forced into a body bag, prodded by doctors, and hosed down. Aliens and humans riot and watch a cockfight of sorts. On the news, a train gets derailed and shacks are set on fire. Of course there are a few explosions. Prawns tear a racist apart. A man considers chopping his own arm off, then amputates his finger instead. Someone else tries to remove his arm. A dead cow feeds a bunch of prawn eggs that are set on fire, while Wikus compares the noise to popcorn.
Weapons are used to blast targets (including a dead pig, live prawns, and humans) to gory bits. Aliens are believed to have power, which supposedly is gained by eating them. A man's fingernails and teeth fall off. One villain says he loves watching prawns die. Wikus whacks Christopher for "betraying" him. Dead prawns are shown in a lab, upsetting the main characters. A prawn rips someone's arm off, spraying blood. Someone else's arm gets blasted off and smashed. Twice, a mech is hit by a truck. Corrupt scientists experiment on prawns and humans, not caring about killing either. A fugitive takes a hostage with a scalpel.

Gore/Gross Stuff:A guy throws up, once on a cake. He also drips black liquid from his nose. A prawn urinates. There's quite a bit of blood and goo from bodies. Somebody's arm gets shown onscreen after it has been removed twice. The second time, the arm gets squashed. As said, teeth and nails fall off. Wikus peels skin off of open sores. A human is forced to eat cat food.

Language:The name prawn is a derogatory term for the aliens. F**k is said a lot, seemingly once a minute. There's also "b****rd", "p*ss", "bloody", and "s**t".

Drugs & Alcohol:Prawns get addicted to cat food. Someone drinks whiskey.

Spiritual:Not much. A witch doctor tells a villain to eat prawns in order to gain power. A guy says his wife looks like an angel. A prawn is called a demon.

So what were your thoughts? A better-than-average action movie? Or a gory mess?

© 2014 by M.R.R. All rights reserved.

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