District 9

If you had to distill this movie into one minute it would be Peter Jackson shooting a futuristic laser gun into the air and yelling ,’I do not care for human rights abuses and racial intolerance!’

In District 9 an unlikely friendship develops between one of a million lobster looking aliens (called prawns) stalled out over Johannesburg/segregated into a shanty town, and a government worker who gets sprayed in the face with their most precious liquid. (Which incidentally is also the plot of ‘Red Light District 9’.)

Here are some bullet points regarding the film you don’t want to read if you haven’t seen it yet:

• So these aliens have developed futuristic guns and ships but they can’t be bothered to put on clothes? Even the ones who make an effort to hide their shame wear crude rags. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from raunchy college sex comedies and biopics about geniuses, it’s that smart people wear clothes. Often they have suede patches on their elbows. These aliens mostly had gross bug stuff on their elbows.

• Prawns understand humans and humans understand prawns? Sure, twenty years is a long enough time to learn a language, but I’m assuming the prawns’ clicks and grunts are a more advanced language than ours, since everything about them is advanced, except for their refusal to wear pants. This isn’t like learning another branch of human language. This is the product of another species physiology. If I dropped a sign language speaking chimp off in France and gave him twenty years I don’t think he’d be signing Proust by the time I got back.

• A little prawn kid somehow has access to the innermost workings of the alien mothership: He was born here on earth. All he knows is dirt and shantytown tin walls. But set him down in a spaceship and he’s pressing buttons and pulling levers like he just graduated from alien lobster space tractor trailer driving school. I don’t buy it, movie! The codes and sequences needed to pilot a complex alien craft not to mention turn on all mechanized battle suits in the area could not be performed by an adolescent with ten keystrokes on a monitor. If that were possible, don’t you think that all the prawn children would be constantly activating the battle suits? If I was a kid, and I knew a computer code that could fire up a weaponized suit of robotic armor anytime I wanted, I’d be using it for everything. Make me some hot chocolate, robot armor suit. Play second player in Super Mario Brothers, robot armor suit.

What I’m saying is that any adult with common sense makes an effort to ensure that children are locked OUT of dangerous technology. They don’t have little kid bulldozer booster seats so little kids can drive bulldozers, and sophisticated humanoid species do not leave the keys to the ship in the pinchers of their larvae.

I know, I know, movie- you’re not really supposed to be about the technology, you’re supposed to be a thinly veiled commentary on the horrors of apartheid. I get what you’re trying to say. Mankind can be cruel, without mercy. The weak and exploited need a protector. Only through empathy for our fellow man, no matter how “alien” their culture may seem to us, can we put an end to injustice and racism.

And only through stopping for a second and asking ourselves if we really think a little alien kid could activate an entire fleet of mech warrior suits with a few simple commands can we put an end to scenes where the entire plot hinges on said kid having the same programming abilities as a nuclear scientist.

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