ShoWest: First District 9 Footage - Keep Your Eye on This!
by Alex Billington
April 1, 2009
I just left Sony's big presentation at ShoWest in Las Vegas and in addition to a few teasers of their summer line-up, they debuted the first ever footage from Peter Jackson's big summer action movie District 9. You've probably never heard of this movie, right? We wrote a big article about it way back in July last year, after a big viral hit the halls of Comic-Con (see above). But no one knows anything about it, most people haven't heard of it, and it's a very small production with a small cast. In fact, no one even knows when its been shooting! But this footage was great, and this is one you should definitely keep your eye on!
District 9 is being directed by Neill Blomkamp, Peter Jackson's protege who was supposed to direct to Halo movie. Although this won't ever be confirmed, I'm pretty sure this is Jackson and Blomkamp's attempt to prove that he is capable of directing something like Halo. Based on Blomkamp's short film Alive In Joburg, 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.
The footage started out like any typical documentary on third world conditions and rufegees, 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 (see here). 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.
We've been hearing some rumblings about this, but it's such a quiet production, and nobody really knows anything about it. I'm saying keep your eye on this, because it looks great. It's a bit rough, being set in South Africa, but word is that Neill Blomkamp has made something awesome. And this is a far departure from any other sci-fi or alien movies we've seen recently, which I'm all for. I love fresh new ideas, and it looks like it's not only very realistic, addressing the question of what if aliens really did land in South Africa, but also quite intense with the concern that they may be trying to turn humans into aliens as well. Stay tuned!