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Looking For District 9

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More Like "Planet 9"

"District 9" is one of those movies that comes to the screen out of the blue with no name actors and no real appeal except in this case it is produced by Peter Jackson. That alone seems to be enough to throw certain people into a frenzy and have them proclaiming the movie to be the best sci fi movie ever made. I disagree.

The film takes place in Johannesburg, South Africa where a huge space ship has parked itself above the city. Nothing happens for a long time so finally the humans go up and take a look. They find a group of starving aliens on board. They bring them back to earth and take care of them but eventually tire of them. Finally they round them up and place them in a holding camp called District 9.

Now they want to move them again to District 10 but they have to evict them to do this. Wilkus Van De Merwe (Sharito Copley) is chosen to head up this action. He and several armed policemen go to the settlement to get this started but while trying to evict an alien Wilkus gets sprayed with something that begins to turn him into an alien. What happens to him makes up the core of the movie.

Copley plays Wilkus as an everyman forced into being more heroic than he is. When his own people turn on him he has to rely on the aliens for assistance. The growth of his acceptance of these creatures is interesting to a minor degree.

The aliens themselves look like creatures from the black lagoon, or fugitives from "Pirates of the Caribbean." There's nothing very inventive in how they look or how they act. The special effects are okay but nothing to bowl you over.

There is of course the underlying comparison to Apartheid but that point is made quickly and loses its effectiveness. The fight between the humans and the aliens goes on and on and on with Wilkus caught in the middle. It all just gets boring.

The film is rated R for profanity and violence.

At times the film is comedic and at other times it is very dramatic which leaves the audience not knowing whether to laugh out loud or just absorb it all. Maybe there is some hidden meaning that escaped me and some hidden entertainment I never saw.

Overall I found the film to be only passable entertainment. Copley is a pretty good actor and he makes you believe his character is actually turning into an alien, but it sure does take a long time.

Others seem to find more enjoyment here than I did. I was bored for most of the time I was viewing it.

I scored "District 9" a restricted 5 out of 10.

Jackie K Cooper
www.jackiekcooper.com