District 9 is a 2009 science fiction film directed by Neill Blomkamp, released August 13, 2009 internationally and August 14, 2009 in North America. It takes place in Johannesburg, South Africa. District 9 is based on Alive in Joburg, a short film directed by Neill Blomkamp, Sharlto Copley, Simon Hansen and Shanon Worley.
The film opens with a documentary-style series of interviews that introduce the situation. Aliens made first contact with Earth twenty-eight years prior to the beginning of the film (in an alternate history 1982), after which humanity waited for either a hostile attack or for giant advances in technology, though neither came. Instead, the aliens that arrived were refugees; apparently all "workers", with their leadership mysteriously missing. The creatures were housed in a government camp, which overcrowding and militarization eventually turned into a slum, known as District 9. Patience over the alien situation ran out and control over them was contracted out to Multi-National United (MNU), a private company uninterested in the aliens' welfare. MNU stands to receive tremendous profits if they can make the aliens' advanced weaponry work. MNU, thus far, has failed in making the alien weaponry work because activation of the weaponry requires alien DNA.
An MNU field operative, Wikus van der Merwe (Sharlto Copley), is set with a task to move 1.8 million aliens to a new District 10 camp located some 240 km from Johannesburg, with the help from private security forces working for MNU. Tension between the aliens and the humans comes to a head when Wikus, by handling an alien device, contracts a mysterious virus that begins changing his DNA after the device squirts a dark liquid on his face.
A rapid transformation begins to occur, and shortly after exposure to the liquid, Wikus's left arm mutates into a claw exactly like that of a "prawn" -a derogatory name for the aliens. Wikus is taken into custody and a series of tests and experiments are performed on him, revealing that he is capable of operating alien technology since he now has alien DNA. The scientists discover that his DNA is currently "in balance" with the alien DNA, which is gradually taking over. It is concluded that they should harvest his body for biological material at this critical point, to have the greatest chance of replicating his ability to use alien technology in other humans later. However, Wikus escapes after overpowering his captors and flees from MNU.
While on the run from MNU, Wikus is forced to seek refuge in the run-down shack of an alien called Christopher Johnson, the same alien who created the alien device that infected Wikus. The device contains fuel that Christopher scavenged from space craft parts scattered around District 9. Although initially hostile towards Wikus, Christopher eventually agrees to assist him reverse the transformation. Christopher can undo the mutation by getting Wikus aboard the mother ship hovering over Johannesburg. To do so requires the contents of the alien device (fuel) which Wikus confiscated.
Wikus manages to steal some alien weaponry from a Nigerian criminal gang also living in District 9 and with Christopher's help they launch an assault on MNU and successfully retrieve the fuel sample required to power up a shuttle and return to the mother ship. While there, Christopher discovers that MNU have been experimenting on his people. Wikus and Christopher return to District 9 and Christopher admits the process involved to cure Wikus could take up to three years to complete, due to Christopher wanting to travel to his home world to seek help. Furious, Wikus knocks Christopher unconscious and powers up the ship himself. The MNU mercenaries target Wikus and destroy one of the shuttles engines, causing it to crash land inside District 9. A battle between the mercenaries and a local group of thugs begins to rage, both groups want to capture Wikus; MNU want to dissect him to gain an understanding of how to use alien technology and the Nigerians believe if they eat his alien arm they will gain his power. In the end of the battle, the thugs manage to capture Wikus. Right before his arm is chopped off, Christopher's son Little CJ gains control of a mechanized battle suit from inside the crashed shuttle and helps free Wikus. Wikus then enters the alien walker battle suit and defends Christopher. Wikus' suit is then shot by heavy fire, and causes him to fall down. As he is down, he convinces Christopher to return to the shuttle with his son. Before separating, Christopher promises Wikus he will return in three years time to help him. Christopher then boards the shuttle and activates a tractor beam which brings the shuttle back the mother ship.
As the shuttle docks with the mother ship, Wikus is shot in the back and the walker suit ejects him after taking critical damage. Wikus drags himself away from the leader of the merceneries, but is quickly caught. Just before the mercenary shoots Wikus, aliens burst out of the surrounding slums and dismember the mercenary.
The film concludes with another series of interviews and news broadcasts, showing the humans view on the events that unfolded. An interview with Wikus's wife reveals a small metal rose was left on her doorstep (Wikus strongly believed a gift is worth more if it was made personally). She mentions that her friends have told her that it could not have possibly been Wikus, but she believes that he is out there somewhere. An alien with a bandaged left arm is then seen standing in a junk yard inside District 9 fashioning a small metal rose out of scrap metal implying that Wikus is indeed alive, his transformation from human to alien is complete, and is still awaiting Christopher's promised return.