For Humans Only....
30 years ago, a massive alien spacecraft gets stranded over Johannesburg. When the government decides to figure out whats going on with it, they cut their way inside. Once they're in, they discover millions of aliens (known as "Prawns" in the film) starving to death, desperately trying to get home. Because us Earthlings have such a big heart, we decide to give them a home in the slums of South Africa....After years of inter-species violence, and prostitution, an organization called MNU decides to move the prawns to an area away from the humans. In the process, and MNU agent,(played by first-timer Sharlto Copley) comes in contact with some mysterious alien matter...
This is a smart man's alien movie. From the very beginning I was hooked. It starts off with mockumentary footage and seamlessly works its way into a more traditional style of film-making. Its pulled off so smoothly that it was halfway into the movie when I realized it wasn't documentary footage. Its not distracting either. Each style works together to further immerse you into this unique world. As does the CG. Its been said many times but I will say it again, the CGI is jaw-dropping. The was a moment when they had a close up of one of the prawns and I literally exclaimed "Wow!". I was even more impressed afterward because some friends and I saw G.I. Joe and the difference is so jarring that its almost sad.
This might be the only Indie-relatively-big-budget-alien-invasion-movie ever. No big names, but don't let that turn you away. The lead actor is absolutely amazing in this film. Sharlto Copley is a first time South African actor that really impresses. I would not be surprised if he gets an Oscar nom come award season. And its even more impressive that (according to Entertainment Weekly) most of the dialogue in this movie was improvised. It's believable in the sense that this is how someone in his situation would act (and not the clearly-improvised-Apatow-dialogue) but its also could pass as written dialogue. Not to mention some great work with the interview footage. I'm beginning to think that the Neill Blomkamp actually convinced the actors that this was an actual historic event! This works to further pulling you into the story. Its also a very unconventional story. There are a few plot twist that I did not see coming. And really, what other movie could make a member of such a repulsive species seem.....cute?
The only thing keeping this movie from taking my Best of the Summer title is that it does drag a tiny bit during the middle of the film. It could benefit from about 10 to 15 less minutes of footage, but its worth it alone for the acting, the story, the CGI, great cinematography and some kick-ass alien weaponry. So if you're looking for something that's smarter than Star Trek, cooler than G.I. Joe and a lot more compelling than fucking Transformers 2, District 9 is what you've been craving all summer.
P.S. If for some reason you didn't see this movie this weekend, don't watch any of the tv spots or the theatrical trailer
. Even if you have seen the tv spots a million times, do your best to forget them. There are more than a couple moments that were sort of ruined for me beacause I had seen the advertisements