Violent and Unpredictable

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Published June 24, 2009

 

Two new viral videos for the film suggest a more subversive take on armored alien invasion than the Hollywood depictions to which we’ve become accustomed. For the moment, our movie screens are swamped with metal-clanging, machine-shrieking sci-fi (see Terminator: Salvation or Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen). Judging by two new clips for District 9, an August 14 release produced by Peter Jackson and directed by South African-born wunderkind Neill Blomkamp, that’s about to change. In the first, a corporate message from “MultiNational United” asks citizens to report any suspicious or aggressive non-human activity, including gathering in groups of two or more. In the second video, a “Level 5 alert” is issued, showing the escape of non-humans. “District 9 residents are violent and unpredictable,” says the sober narrator. “Do not attempt to apprehend them.” Both videos end with a smiling Caucasian family and the tagline: “MNU: Keeping humans safe by keeping non-humans separate.”


Based on Blomkamp’s short film “Alive in JoBurg,” the film promises to convey the director’s unique knack for mixing sci-fi with verite-documentary cinematography (see his award-winning ad for “Halo: Combat”) as well as blending first-world  technological futurism with third-world environments. Like much of his  fictional work, District 9 is set in the sun-drenched, poverty-stricken arid lands of his homeland. And look out for futuristic political implications: The movie depicts the extraterrestrials not so much invaders as refugees.