District 9 or Minority Report?” width=”560″/>
Now: District 9 (2009)Then: Minority Report (2002)
Director Neill Blomkamp and producer Peter Jackson’s District 9 is getting raves for its unique blend of Office-style mockumentary and allegorical scifi. And true, it’s one of the more original films of the summer, with its dark and occasionally comic vision of a future where aliens and humans are segregated. However, while watching it, we couldn’t help but be reminded of another scifi movie that made waves some years ago — Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster Minority Report, which pitted Tom Cruise against a world where ordinary humans were being convicted of future crimes. See if you agree.
A Dystopian Future and How It Came to Be
District 9: The mysterious arrival of a massive alien spaceship 28 years ago has led to institutionalized racism against extra-terrestrials, resulting in their being herded into a shantytown called District 9.
Minority Report: A mutation allowing some humans to see the future has led to the creation of a police force that arrests and locks away future perpetrators of murder, even if they’re currently innocent.
The Disenfranchised Company Man
District 9: After a freak accident causes him to start transforming into an alien, Wikus van der Merwe (Sharlto Copley), a loyal employee of the massive company that runs District 9, finds himself hunted down by his former employers.
Minority Report: After he is pinned for a future murder, loyal Pre-Crime police chief John Anderton (Tom Cruise) finds himself hunted by his fellow cops.
Breaking in to HQ
District 9: In order to retrieve the chemical that led to his
condition, Wikus breaks back into MNU headquarters, despite the whole
world being on the lookout for him.
Minority Report: In order to retrieve the pre-cog memory that
led to his accusation, Anderton breaks back in to the Department of
Pre-Crime, despite the whole world being on the lookout for him.
A Shady Deal With Off-the-Grid Mercenaries
District 9: Having been forced to take shelter in District 9, a
desperate, on-the-run Wikus tries to strike a deal with Nigerian
mercenaries, who reciprocate by trying to harvest his alien claw.
Minority Report: Having been forced to take shelter in the
unmonitored Sprawl, a desperate, on-the-run Anderton has to convince a
crazy doctor he once locked up (Peter Stormare) to replace his eyes.
The Fatherly Boss Behind It All
District 9: MNU’s chief, who also happens to be Wikus’s father-in-law, frames our hero so he can capture him and conduct experiments on him.
Minority Report: Although John is like a son to him, Pre-Crime
head Lamar Burgess (Max Von Sydow) frames our hero in order to cover up
a long-forgotten murder.
Winner: Minority Report. District 9 adds a few great twists to
the genre, but we find it hard to resist Spielberg’s expert blend of
Hitchcockian thriller and futuristic allegory.