District 9

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When dealing with aliens, try to be polite, but firm. And always remember that a smile is cheaper than a bullet.

District 9 is a 2009 science fiction film about an extraterrestrial race forced to live in slum-like conditions on Earth who suddenly finds a kindred spirit in a government agent who is exposed to their biotechnology.

Directed by Neill Blomkamp. Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell, and produced by Peter Jackson.
You are not welcome here.

Wikus Van De Merwe[edit]

We can't go home. Not anymore.
Don't give up on me, Okay? Because I haven't given up on you. Alright?
  • [pointing at alien graffiti] This is basically a guy, and there's three humans here. Basically trying to make a warning, you know, he's saying "I killed three humans, watch out for me."
  • [on the phone, after his call is aborted] I've been friends with you for fokken 19 years, man! [to an observer] Fok off! What are you watching, man?! Fok off!
  • [catches on that the alien ship's command section is under Christopher Johnson's shack] This whole's thing's under your shack? For 20 years, you've had this fokken thing hidden down here? This is, this is very illegal. I mean, this is... this is a fine — if they catch you with it.
  • [to his wife] Honey, you have to believe me, I never had sex with a creature. I would never have sex with any fokken creature.
  • [in the Exo-Suit] You wanna fokken play with me, Koobus?! You fokker!


MNU Agent: MNU! We're serving eviction notices.
Alien: What is "eviction"?

Christopher Johnson's Son: How many moons does our planet have?
Christopher Johnson: Seven.
Johnson's Son: This planet only has one. I can't wait to see our planet again... it's bigger than this one, isn't it?
Johnson: [turns off holographic atlas of what seems to be the Alien home planet] Enough.
Johnson's Son: We go home now?
Johnson: Not home, no. This is where we must go. [shows his son an MNU brochure outlining "Sanctuary Park Alien Relocation Camp" aka District 10] See that tent there? That might be ours.
Johnson's Son: I want to go home!
Johnson: We can't go home. Not anymore.

Christopher Johnson's Son: Fuel goes in here!
Christopher Johnson: That's enough! QUIET!
Johnson's Son: ...then we fly away.
Johnson: I said QUIET! We cannot trust him.
Wikus Van De Merwe: What is he saying about the fuel, is this, are you trying to start this thing? He-he... Are you little fokkers trying to start this, and get away, eh?
Johnson: Never mind.
Van De Merwe: Ha-ha. Yeah, you sneaky fokken prawns, heh? I knew you prawns were intelligent.
Johnson: Too bad. I could have fixed you.
Van De Merwe: Wha-- Well-well-wha-what did you say about-about the fixing?

Christopher Johnson: [after Wikus uses his alien weapon to kill a guard] Fuck! I thought you said not to kill them?
Wikus Van De Merwe: He shot at me!

Wikus Van De Merwe: Don't give up on me, Okay? Because I haven't given up on you. Alright?
Tania Van De Merwe: I won't.

About District 9[edit]

  • When I did the short film, it never even occurred to me that it could be a feature. The short was just a piece of experimentation, just creative messing around, really. And then just before Halo came up, when I got the agent and I felt like I wanted to get into films, then I thought, “Oh, actually, this would be a good film. I could make a film out of this.” Then I got hired for Halo and I forgot about it. And then Halo collapsed, and Peter and Fran [Walsh, Jackson’s wife and writing-producing partner] said, “We’re really sorry this has happened, and we can help you get another film. We can help you get it green-lit, and it can be independently financed, and it can be much more like your baby than Halo would have been. You can make it your own.” It happened so quickly, it was like a day or two, literally, between the one collapsing and then them saying that.
In Halo, I was most interested in the human society—humans 500 years from now, with different planets, and hardware, and the U.S. involvement, and how the Marines have been established in this colonial force, and the industrial military complex that gave birth to Master Chief. And District 9 needed to be completely different. I decided it wasn’t going to be anything like Halo. I mean, the setting’s South Africa, and the focus is the aliens, and it’s set in the present. It’s meant to be different.
Well, Pete owns Weta, which is world-famous. And so when the film was conceived, I just assumed Weta would do all of it, because they were huge. But I hadn’t factored in that James Cameron would bring Avatar there and basically consume all of Wellington, and New Zealand as a whole. So Weta was not able to do most of the film, but they ended up doing the mothership. So when I figured out that they would not be doing it—I have a background in visual effects, I used to be a visual-effects artist, and I’m from Vancouver, so I thought, “I’m going to develop relationships with Vancouver visual-effects companies.” So I looked into the companies I wanted to use in Vancouver, and I have a track record with The Embassy, who did the exo-suit. But Image Engine, I hadn’t ever worked with. And they’re the ones that actually carried the entire film, because the aliens are all done by Image Engine. So I had a bunch of meetings, they flew down to New Zealand, and then we had a whole lot of discussions about how we were going to go about pulling off digital creatures, and we just kind of figured out a process and then stuck to it.
I thought with the aliens, you’d think, “I don’t want to sit next to that on the bus, they look insane, they look barbaric.” And then by the end of the film, you’ve done a 180 on your perception of them. And that’s why their design reflects that. They are gross. They are insect-like, which represents this sort of hive-structure society that they come from, and then they have a human sort of geometry to their face and eyes, so that at some point in the film, you can feel that there’s a sentient creature behind those eyes. So they have to have both of those two things, which is a bit of a balancing act.
I really wanted the film to feel as real as possible, but I think if you spoon-feed people every piece of detail, it makes it less real. It just feels like a Hollywood spoon-feeding festival, as opposed to if you throw the audience into the middle of it, so they’re kind of trying to figure out what’s going on. I was okay with how much wasn’t explained.
The idea is that—this gets really geeky and insane, but going back to their hive-structure thing—their queen has died, and the elite population of their society has died, which are really the decision-makers. You’re left with a bunch of drones that aren’t directed on their own goal-setting basis. I like the idea that after 20 or 30 years, that their ESP kind of hive-mind will begin to almost elect members of its population to start—their fundamental brain architecture could actually change, and they start forming leadership roles.
So I think when they’re on their ship, and they’re all destitute, when you see them at the beginning of the film starving, it’s that there is no one thinking on that level. They simply take orders. So it’s taken 20 years for that hive to start realigning itself. And so as Christopher has gone through these years, his mind has started to be honed into forming a plan. So that’s where it came from. And this nano-fluid that he had to collect, which he would have had access to on the ship back then, it’s just simply that the drive didn’t exist. The hive is just trying to restart itself.


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