What Is Peter Jackson’s ‘District 9?’

Published 6 years ago by , Updated April 3rd, 2009 at 5:24 pm,

district 9 header What Is Peter Jacksons District 9?

As any of you avid Peter Jackson fans out there will know, Peter’s had his eye on a newcomer called Neill Blomkamp for a couple of years now – to the point where he was once the frontrunner to helm the promised Halo movie. What has he directed before, you ask? Well, nothing actually – at least not on the full-length feature film front. He’s directed some short films (including the series of Halo shorts known as Landfall), but apart from that he hasn’t done anything cinematic.

Well, word has been floating around for over a year now of a mysterious new sci-fi alien film entitled District 9 which will be produced by Peter Jackson himself. Who’s directing it? That’s right, you guessed it… Neill Blomkamp. Not much was known about this project when it was first announced (via the viral marketing that was presented at Comic Con last year), but at ShoWest recently, Sony revealed some footage for it.

Before we get to the details about the footage itself, let’s take a look at the general stuff about the film. It is based on Blompkamp’s short film called Alive in Joburg, and the general gist of the plot is as follows (thanks to our friends over at FirstShowing.net):

The concept involves aliens who have landed in Johannesburg, South Africa, and are living as refugees there. It has a very Cloverfield feeling to it, and is shot like a documentary, following around the MNU (essentially, the local government-run police) who are trying to keep them contained in certain areas of the city.

FirstShowing got a chance to see the footage at ShoWest, and so give us the following detailed description:

The footage started out like any typical documentary on third world conditions and refugees, with locals talking about how they don’t like them. Above the city a giant alien space ship sits dormant, which is what they originally arrived on. But what are their intentions? Well, in one scene where we finally see the aliens as the MNU police attempt to tell them they must leave their shanty home, they find some sort of odd device. It’s not a weapon, which is what they’re usually all about. But in looking at it, it explodes and some liquid flies into the face of the man holding it. He’s taken to a hospital and things begin to go crazy.

The aliens, which we got a few glimpses of, reminded me a lot of the Turians from Mass Effect. They were much taller than most humans and came in different sizes and colors. We saw some actions scenes with explosions and the MNU police attacking the aliens, but all in small scale (a lot like ‘Cloverfield’). And that liquid that sprayed into that guy’s face – it turns out that it starts converting him into one of the aliens. The rest of the trailer plays out with scenes of him going crazy and bleeding black liquid and being strapped down to a hospital bed while he starts to mutate. And that’s really all we were shown so far.

Wow, it sounds like something pretty damn awesome. I’m intrigued by the combination of an alien invasion film done in that documentary, perhaps even “Blair Witch Project” style. We got some of that recently with Cloverfield, but some “monster movie” enthusiasts might say not nearly enough. What’s surprising is that it seems to go a totally different way than normal alien-involved movies do by concentrating less on huge special effects and more on the results of these mysterious aliens interacting with the humans – what threat do they pose to us in this particular alien story, if any?

That part about an odd device that sprays some sort of converting spray on a man’s face that causes him to appear crazy certainly sounds interesting. Maybe it’s just seeing the premise and details as described, but it sounds like it has the potential to be pretty out-there.

Want some more details on the film? Well, there’s a website that’s been launched for it which is insanely detailed and well thought out. Even though word is that this film has a small production with an even smaller cast, it’s still strange to see it have so much time and effort put in without more details emerging by now. You’d think with the type of film that it is, and with just who the producer is, that they’d be bombarding us with marketing by now.

district 9 website image What Is Peter Jacksons District 9?

The image above is a screen grab from the “Human” menu page of the official site (you can choose that or the “Alien” option – which is similar but with a different, more sinister voice over tour). That’s just a taste of the creativity of the very slickly designed website.

It’s hard to know what to make of a movie when all you have to go in is some tidbits about a little bit of footage that was shown, some viral marketing images (one of which is shown below) and a mysterious website. Nonetheless, I am very intrigued to see how this one turns out – who knows, it could be a lot of hullabaloo over nothing, but the amount effort that seems to have gone into it, not to mention the fact Peter “Lord of the Rings” Jackson is producing it, that seems unlikely.

district 9 marketing poster What Is Peter Jacksons District 9?

One thing that seems strange is that Blomkamp is directing (as well as writing it, along with first timer Terri Thatchell) this sure-to-be-a-big-deal film. Despite the fact this is based on his short film, let’s face it, he hasn’t really directed anything full-length before, so I’m just wary that such a project has been put in his hands. However Jackson seems to have taken a shine to him as a filmmaker for some reason, and taking into account just who Jackson is, there’s simply gotta’ be a legit reason for it.

Blomkamp could very well blow us away with his full-length feature film debut, and I’d welcome such a thing with open arms… but I’ll believe it when I see it.

Screen Rant will keep you up to date with this one as more stuff gets released, but for now what are your thoughts on it? Are you like the sound of what it’s all about?

To help you out on that front, you can visit the District 9 website here, but beware, you might get sucked in by such things as all the snazzy info signs and the thorough tour. But be sure and come back to tell us your thoughts!

District 9 is currently scheduled for an August 14th, 2009 release.

Source: FirstShowing.net

TAGS: District 9
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  1. ya i heard about this in December and it looks interesting

  2. When I first heard of this I had it mixed up with the CGI animated film “9.” This does sound kind of interesting… Peter Jackson’s involvement increases my anticipation that this will be decent and hopefully not a schlock-fest. A cool website doesn’t necessarily equal a great movie. :-)

    Looking forward to seeing a trailer for this.


  3. Kinda off topic in a way, but if they do look like the Turians from Mass Effect that right there will be enough for me to go see the movie. I loved the way they made the Turians, interesting creatures. But all in all, the movie does sound like a very interesting concept. The thing is, I wonder why they are refuges in an South African country. Wouldn’t they be housed up with the government? Anyway, can’t wait to see if they do a whole viral marketing campaign just like in Cloverfield. That would hook line and sinker me.

  4. So it’s like War of the Worlds and Cloverfield combined? It still doesn’t sound to bad.

  5. Am I the only one who sees a little Halo in this? South Africa, aliens, weapon already hidden on Earth? Yup, im dreaming lol I know its not Halo but those 3 things are very close to the Halo storyline

  6. Jackson’s team would have been perfect for the Halo series. I assume the script wasn’t good enough because a Halo movie, or even, dare I say, a franchise with Jackson and WETA studios would not only gain money, it would be amazing.

  7. Sounds kinda like Quatermass 2. I hope it at least evokes the feel of a Quatermass movie.

  8. LOL – Vic and I saw the viral ad campaign back in July of ’08.

    There were tons of signs like the “For Humans Only” sign above all over San Diego Comic-Con last year.

    The website was live then, but it didn’t draw me in to further follow it up. And yes, it is rather detailed indeed.


  9. Sounds like an allegory for apartheid, especially after you visit the website. Placing it in S. Africa sells it a little too hard.

  10. I’m surprised that the U.S. is even going to air this! It so mirrors this country’s treatment of minorities…

    It will be a thought provoking movie, for sure…

  11. While I’m looking forward to this I am VERY curious (read: leery) of what the final “message” of this film will be.

    I’d be quite happy it ended up something along the lines of “To Serve Man” but somehow I doubt it will.


  12. You got it right about it being an allegory for apartheid…except in the real world South Africa it was District 6, 1970 where there were forced removals of other “aliens” considered not welcome. For some history check out http://www.southafrica.info/about/history/districtsix.htm

  13. well, I LOVE this idea… I am a South African, and from having a look at the ideas for this film, this is EXACTLY what would have happen in our country if aliens had landed 28 yrs ago. you guys need to understand… the south african government was BRUTAL, and it did not mess around with the whole fascist thing. i know South Africans of all races are going to find this film side-splitingly hilarious… we love things that provide a window into our own strange world, and this film looks, well, right on the money… bring on D9 !!!!!

  14. I think you totally missing the point; or perhaps you are just unaware of what has been happening in South Africa about 6 months or so & is probably still happening not in history but in THE PRESENT 2008/2009 year.

    I am South African & for us its been common knowledge on the local news etc about how for the last 12 months there have been attacks on “foreigners” which are generally black immigrants from other African countries like Zimbabwe, Somalia etc’ who are being attacked by other black South Africans in the townships (aka ‘slums/shanty-towns’ like Soweto) where they live because of prejudices such as them stealing jobs & causing crime.

    Many have already died in the violence, but government has chosen to do nothing about it & sweep it under the rug; but for South Africans its pretty common knowledge. Reason for this could be not to project the racist image of the past where white oppressed black SA’s; but today it is black SA against black foreign immigrants which may/may not be illegal.

    Its weird as we assume world knows whats going on…guess not. =(

  15. This website has a great review of the movie…the writer says someone was crying during the movie!!!!!! wtf


  16. My review will be up later tonight.


  17. This film left me emotionally destroyed. My stomach lurched many times, not at the gore, but the emotionally charged scenes. I’m not sure if I can see it again, but everyone should see it once

  18. loved d movie to d core

  19. Is this supposed to be some sort of racial morality tale.
    It actually seems as if the aliens just wanted back out and the humans didn't really want them there either! It was clear as day – alien and human do not mix well in everyone's best interest. And the same applies for types of humans. Why force them. You could read this movie as an apologia for segregation, actually.

  20. Is this supposed to be some sort of racial morality tale.
    It actually seems as if the aliens just wanted back out and the humans didn't really want them there either! It was clear as day – alien and human do not mix well in everyone's best interest. And the same applies for types of humans. Why force them. You could read this movie as an apologia for segregation, actually.

  21. ummmmmmm is the guy relly turn into a allien like in real life if he is well i want to get info.