“Bad science fiction is about ray guns and rocket ships. Good science fiction is about little things (a turn of the head, a single changed fact, a pause in the laws of physics) and what happens to people in the different light of those little changes. Good science fiction can have ray guns and rocket ships, to be sure, but it’s more about the ideas and the people around those props and places. Director Neill Blomkamp‘s “District 9” is a great example of how fresh science fiction can be when it’s not just handed over to the special effects team and then the marketing division. And while “District 9″ is far from perfect, every frame in it drips with ambition, energy and vision. Sure, that gets a little messy, but the minor problems the film has are more than outweighed by the gripping, gritty clench of how it grabs for your attention and hangs onto it white-knuckled and fierce.
Set in a parallel present, “District 9″ begins with mock-documentary footage explaining how, 20 years ago, a huge spacecraft came to rest in the skies over Johannesburg. As an academic explains over the archival footage of the ship being boarded by humanity, “We expected … I don’t know … music from heaven and bright shining lights.” Instead, what was inside the hold was more than a million huge, insectoid aliens living in squalor, workers crashed on an unwelcoming shore. Now, after two decades, the District 9 slum has to be moved, and a government-corporate coalition is evicting the “prawns” to new quarters 200 kilometers away. Sweater-vest wearing bureaucrat Wikus van der Merwe (Sharlto Copley) is the smiling, hand-shaking side of the process, but there are plenty of guns and guts to back the effort up. Wikus goes into the alien slums of District 9 and comes out a changed man. Or, more accurately, changed from a man. …”
– from my MSN Review