In 2007, VSL featured Tetra Vaal —an 80-second short chock full of extraordinary special effects—by a young South African filmmaker named Neill Blomkamp. So perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that the 29-year-old Blomkamp is behind District 9, the most imaginative and thrilling sci-fi movie to come around in years (in theaters 8/14).
Produced by Peter Jackson, District 9 takes place in Johannesburg, where more than 20 years earlier a spaceship stalled in the sky, carrying exhausted and malnourished aliens, who were then placed into slums. MNU, a private company contracted to control the alien population, decides to move the aliens (derisively called ‘prawns’—they do kind of look like giant shrimp) to a concentration/refugee camp. Wikus Van De Merwe (a wonderful Sharlto Copely) is charged with running the operation, but he mistakenly ingests a liquid that slowly transforms his human DNA into alien (slimy claw first), thus making him the only person able to operate alien weaponry, and forcing him to become a fugitive. And that’s just the beginning! This film has it all—humor, frights, thrills, truly awesome effects and a tart commentary on human’s xenophobic and mercenary tendencies. This is one summer film you won’t want to miss.
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