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District 9

Saw District 9 a while back. Good film, random thoughts, spoilers ahead:


  • It’s interesting how Wikus van der Merwe  is initially presented as this sort of nervous good-natured fellow who would never hurt a fly. However, in the course of serving eviction notices, we realize this isn’t a barrier to his ability to see the aliens almost like cattle. Alien slaps your clipboard? It’s a signature. Bunch of eggs? Jokes about abortion. Smart alien refuses to sign? Threaten to take his child based on the flimsiest of reasons. Wikus is a “nice guy” but he’s also so in-tune with the racist system that he can do really nasty things without any cognitive dissonance, provided it doesn’t come to direct violence.
  • As was probably obvious to lots of people, the aliens/human dynamic is the “new apartheid”, where humans of both skin-tones have united in the face of somebody else.
  • “Multi-National United” seems like a pretty strong bit of lampshading when it comes to figuring out who the generic evil corporation is.
  • When I first saw the ship opened up, and the comments about malnourishment, I thought: “Slave ship”. It would be an interesting piece of commentary, although it could be a bit too similar to the “Alien Nation” television series.

Miscellaneous questions

  • While it is stated that Wikus’ infection is speeding up over time, why does it seem like the reverse, where the largest changes were in the first twelve hours? Perhaps the effect is faster when the body has been damaged, and since his arm was burned…
  • Why would MNU want to take out his heart first? Wouldn’t they harvest the bits that shut everything else down last rather than operate under a time-crunch?


  • Iron Helix: A virus struck, not the aliens themselves, but aspects of their bio-technology, infecting interconnected systems. Self-contained devices such as weapons were unaffected. They were locked out of their own systems. Christopher has been working for years to find enough uninfected goo so that he can manufacture enough “counter-virus” for to cure all the necessary infected systems, finding and replacing the corruption with good copies. The main problem with this theory is that mother-ship systems started working before he was able to send anything biological to it, suggesting whatever was keeping the mothership from running was primarily an issue of authorization.
  • Slave ship: The mother-ship is a slave vessel, traveling between worlds, both colonized by different subspecies of Prawn. It developed a problem and Earth seemed to be the best place to stop. A majority of the inhabitants aren’t crew, but cargo. While it is possible Christopher was a fellow slave, I doubt it: He uses all the piloting interfaces far too quickly and intently to be learning while he goes. Perhaps there was an uprising, and most of the crew were slain. Christopher and any remaining crew (perhaps his yellow-painted friend) barricade themselves inside the command module, but something inside it is harmed by weapons-fire and it falls, with just enough power to move it to it’s eventual resting location. He spends the next 20 years scraping together repairs just to return to the mothership, which is fully functional once the correct systems are integrated. In the process of breaking into MNU labs, he suddenly sees how even the lower-caste aliens are really “his people”. This would parallel the moral story about how the white/black separation in humans faded after aliens arrived.
  • Some people have theorized that the transformative-goo is the real alien, and all the Prawns are ultimately “hosts” like Wikus. I doubt this one: Why would an infect-and-assimilate alien species build a huge ship to hold lots of anthropomorphic bodies and equipped with weapons for fighting on the macro-level? Wikus’ transformation is probably wholly accidental.

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