More background reading.
District 9 is that modern rarity: an adventure thriller that’s even better than its advertising campaign. For years now, ever since the Alive in Joburg short on which it’s based was released, there has been lots of industry chatter about director Neill Blomkamp’s fantastic premise for an ultra-modern science fiction film; so much so that Peter Jackson of Lord of the Rings fame signed on to produce it in lieu of his adaptation of the Halo videogame.
For months now, its cinema trailer – featuring a huge space ship hovering mysteriously over the South African mega-city while a torrent of anxious newscasters and reporters speculate about its genesis — had had hardened filmgoers, many of them used to mediocre upcoming releases being trumpeted as the holy grail, wowing in unison. For weeks now, its viral marketers, who have festooned bus benches around the country with ‘for humans only’ signs, have whetted appetites.
How they’ve been sated! District 9 is the most imaginative, resonant and dramatically turbo-charged work of science fiction for many a moon. A hybrid of political allegory and B-movie kicks, it reboots motifs from classic extra-terrestrial and urban catastrophe movies such as Silent Running and Planet of the Apes, and transposes them to the contemporary ghetto context that in recent years has given urgency and kinetic charge to the likes of Slumdog Millionaire and City of God. Its tacit message to JJ Abrams, director of Cloverfeld and Star Trek, is simple: game on.
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