Brett McCracken reviews District 9 (may contain minor spoilers):
District 9 goes where few alien invasion movies have gone before: It turns the tables on humans and suggests that we — not them — might be the malevolent monsters (and indeed, most of the killers in the film end up being humans, not aliens). Cleverly derivative of alien movies past (everything from War of the Worlds to Independence Day to the not-aliens-but-pretty-much movie A.I.), this revisionist alien film asks questions about what it actually means to be “alien.” How might we empathize with the outsiders whose difference from us we find offensive and whose presence in “our world” is unwelcome and uncomfortable? Director/writer Neill Blomkamp certainly doesn’t make it easy. These aren’t cute E.T. aliens. They’re nasty-looking scavengers who eat canned cat food and speak in an ungainly click/rattle language. The humans use the derogatory term “Prawns” to describe the aliens. They’re a hard species to love.
But that’s precisely the point. How can we put aside our prejudices and love even the most unlovable, smelly, disgusting of creatures? Are we capable of that sort of unconditional love?
I can’t wait to see District 9 this weekend. I’ve been intrigued ever since I saw the first promos.