Saturday, February 12, 2011

District 9: A Different View on Alien Movies

            This is the first time I’ve seen an alien movie where the aliens and humans coexist in a semi-peaceful manner. All the other alien movies (which admittedly, isn’t that many) I’ve seen are filled with human/alien battles where one species tries to kill off the other to save themselves. District 9 was a pretty new twist for me. I found the beginning to be especially poignant—the humans try to save the aliens instead of wiping out their entire ship when they first find them. Of course, all of this changes when Wickus starts his transformation after they try to redistrict the aliens. While I was watching I found the redistricting scenes to be odd—I kept thinking “Why are they going through the normal steps of getting signatures and stuff, they’re aliens, just move them!” But isn’t that a part of the entire metaphor of Blomkamp’s movie? That sometimes people don’t see the obvious similarities between our own kind and even others and that egos are a huge barrier to a peaceful existence. I definitely enjoyed the first half more than the second; I think the message and overall sentiment got sort of lost in a lot of the gory-alien-battle scenes, but I appreciated District 9’s change of pace from many other alien movies I’ve seen.  
            In class, someone mentioned District 9 seemed fairly racist in its representation of the Nigerians. While I agree, I also think that the white people working for MNU were portrayed negatively as well. While the Nigerians in the movie were criminals—dangerous, untrustworthy people who scam the aliens and kill anyone who tries to stop them—the MNU soldiers, including Wickus, are inhumane, greedy, and perverse. I believe it’s all in the way you watch the movie; if it was portrayed from a non-white perspective, I think we would all see the more glaring suggestions that the white people are no more than dangerous criminals themselves. Same thing with the aliens—in my head there really isn’t a “good guy” or a “bad guy” in this movie. We feel sympathy, anger, and even desperation towards Wickus, the alien, and maybe even the Nigerians. Blomkamp shows that there isn’t an essential right or wrong way to be, its all in how you perceive a person’s actions.

1 comment:

  1. I thought you made an interesting point about the initial reaction to the alien "invasion." I thought it was very strange that the humans were originally so accepting to the idea of alien presence on earth. Though obviouslt the movie is a fictional depiction, I find it difficult to believe that this would really happen. we already have enough problems on earth with treating other PEOPLE ethically and humanely. If a new species of alien suddenly appeared, I think our first reaction would be to be skeptic of the aliens, and would lead to the scientific testing that was later condemned in the film. Maybe the humans would have helped the aliens by bringing supplies up to the ship, but there is no way that the humans would have welcomed the aliens to earth.