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District 9

District 9 (Movies)

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District 9 is a 2009 (12 years ago) science fiction movie directed by Neill Blomkamp, written by Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell, and produced by Peter Jackson. The movie stars Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope, and Robert Hobbs. Copley plays the role of Wikus van de Merwe, a bureaucrat assigned to relocate a stranded alien species from a refugee camp in Johannesburg, South Africa to a new one outside the city. After being exposed to a substance that slowly transforms him into an alien, Wikus must become a fugitive to help the aliens escape the planet and save his humanity.

The story, adapted from Alive in Joburg, a 2005 (16 years ago) short movie directed by Neill Blomkamp and produced by Sharlto 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 movie was produced for $30 million and shot on location in Chiawelo, Soweto, presenting fictional interviews, news footage, and video from surveillance cameras in the style of a mockumentary. A viral marketing campaign began in 2008 (13 years ago) at the San Diego Comic-Con, and the theatrical trailer appeared in Jul. 2009 (12 years ago). Released on Aug. 14, 2009 (12 years ago) in North America by TriStar Pictures, the movie received positive reviews and earned $37 million on its opening weekend.

Plot

In 1982 (39 years ago), a very large alien spaceship stops above Johannesburg, South Africa. Reports suggest that the ship became stranded after a command module separated from the ship and dropped to Earth, nowhere to be found. After cutting their way inside, an exploratory team discovers a large group of malnourished and leaderless arthropod-like aliens. The creatures, derogatorily referred to as prawns, are taken from the ship and housed in a government camp inside Johannesburg called District 9, which soon turns into a slum. In the first decade of the 21st century, Multinational United (MNU), a private military contractor, is placed in charge of policing and relocating the 1.8 million aliens to District 10, a new camp 240 kilometers northwest of Johannesburg.

Wikus van de Merwe (Sharlto Copley) is the MNU field operative assigned to lead the relocation, which begins with the serving of eviction notices on Aug. 9, 2010 (11 years ago). As the eviction unfolds, some nearby aliens are shown distilling a liquid from a piece of their technology into a small canister. One of these aliens, named Christopher Johnson by MNU, is served his eviction notice by Wikus but he questions the legality of the eviction and demands his rights. Raiding Christopher's hovel Wikus finds the container and confiscates it but, while doing so, he accidentally sprays some of the liquid onto his face. That night he falls ill and he's taken to hospital, where his left arm is found to have become an alien appendage, so he's taken into custody by MNU. They intend to vivisect Wikus before he fully transforms into an alien, in an attempt to replicate his ability to operate alien weapons, initially only operable by aliens. With his new strength, however, he overpowers his MNU captors and escapes.

Now a fugitive, Wikus takes refuge in District 9 and returns to Christopher's hut. Initially hostile towards Wikus, Christopher eventually reveals that the canister Wikus confiscated contains a liquid which would allow him to activate the mother ship and leave the planet. After revealing that the lost command module is hidden under his hut, Christopher agrees to help reverse Wikus' genetic transformation if Wikus, in turn, retrieves the canister. Wikus agrees and tries to buy weapons from the local Nigerian gang. Their leader, the paralyzed warlord Obesandjo, seizes Wikus seeking to gain his power to operate alien weapons, which he believes he will achieve by eating Wikus' mutated arm. Wikus manages again to escape, taking some alien weapons with him.

Wikus and Christopher break into the MNU offices and retrieve the canister. They then fight their way back to District 9, but Christopher, having just learned that MNU is performing medical experiments on his race, informs Wikus that he has decided to return to his homeworld to seek help for his people before he cures Wikus, which would take three years. Frustrated, Wikus knocks Christopher unconscious and powers up the command module with the help of Christopher's son. However, soon after its takeoff, the spacecraft is shot down by MNU, causing it to crash nearby.

MNU forces take Wikus and Christopher prisoner but Obesandjo's gang ambushes them on the way out. The Nigerian gang captures Wikus and prepares to sever his mutated arm for Obesandjo. From the command module, Christopher's son activates the mothership and a mechanized battlesuit that kills Obesandjo and his men. Wikus then gets into the suit and rescues Christopher from the MNU mercenaries, allowing him to get to the command module. Promising Wikus that he will return in three years to reverse his transformation, Christopher returns to the mother ship. Heavily wounded and in a much more advanced state of his mutation, Wikus crawls out of the battlesuit and is confronted by Venter, the sole survivor of the MNU squad. However, aliens in the camp dismember and eat Venter before he is able to kill Wikus.

Christopher activates the mother ship and Johannesburg's residents celebrate its departure. A series of interviews and news broadcasts are then shown, providing various opinions on the events. The aliens are successfully moved to District 10, said to have a population of 2.5 million and growing. MNU's illegal experiments on aliens are exposed. Some people theorize about Wikus' fate, while others hypothesize that the aliens might return for the refugees, or even to declare war on humanity. Wikus' wife reveals that, having found a small metal flower on her doorstep, she has hope that her husband is still alive. In a scrapyard, an alien with a bandaged left arm crafts a flower out of metal.


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