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Headscratchers: District 9
  • Why didn't ALL the aliens (I don't want to use prawns here) use the technology they made to fight back against the humans? My answer? Most of the aliens were part of a worker caste (I don't know of this was stated or not) and thus were more prone to pacifistic tendencies, and thus only a few of them decided to fight back. Thoughts? — Andaria
    • My theory is that the ship was intended to colonize (and possibly terraform) new worlds for the Prawns to inhabit. Stumbling upon a world already populated with fairly technologically advanced beings was not part of the seven year mission. — JT Jag
    • Well, the slums of D9 were not exactly covered in high technology. It took Christopher, his son and his friend 20 years to find enough technology to make a small cylinder of fuel, not to mention finding the tools and equipment to process the liquid.
    • According to the MNU Web site, neither humans nor non-humans are permitted to make, obtain, sell or use any technology of extraterrestrial origin on pain of indefinite detainment (and God knows what else), and all debris from the spacecraft is to be handed over to the MNU immediately upon discovery. Chances are that most of them are simply too scared of capture to seriously consider it.
    • According to the director during his interview with (I think) Io9 (and as theorized at the beginning of the movie), the Prawns in D9 are all basically worker drones as some sort of virus or disaster killed off the leader caste of the ship. The ship then automatically flew to the nearest planet in the Goldilocks Zone, which happened to be Earth. The reason they don't fight back is because they don't really have any sort of direction or motivation without a member of the leadership caste.
    • The aliens start out in a position of powerlessness vis-a-vis mankind - they're sick, malnourished, and leaderless, and therefore completely unable to effect any sort of bargaining position or resistance. As time goes by, this disadvantage only magnifies, to the point where any attempt at resistance, even with their superior firepower, would probably result in the entire South African military coming down on them and eradicating them. And for that matter, who's to say that, in the alternate timeline of the movie, South Africa never gave up its nuclear arsenal? Dropping a nuke in the middle of Johannesburg might well have been a viable alternative to a full-blown non-human uprising.
    • They actually do show a video of an alien using a grenade launcher-like weapon that had been previously taped. My guess is that they were probably isolated from any use of weaponry in the room on the spacecraft where they are found and extracted. The weaponry itself was probably discovered, confiscated, and most likely reintroduced to the aliens by the government itself as means of testing. Of course, by that point, the aliens were more likely, since they lack a sense of common logic, probably traded them away to the gangsters for food.
    • A few reasons are kind of obvious: It is mentioned that the prawn were essentialy leaderless, like ants without a queen. Also, since the humans cut into the ship and forcefully evacuated the Prawn, it seems vbery likely they took the liberty to confinscate their technology. On top of this, it saiod there was only (1.2?) million prawn in D9. Compare that to 6 billion people on Earth, and you can see why the Prawn would be less-than enthuistiastic about fighting back, especialy with companies like MNU constantly watching.
      • I agree, I think even if the Prawns weren't leaderless the hard facts are they were outnumbered, the five largest militaries in the world (China, the US, India, Russia, and North Korea) comprise about 6.8 million active duty soldiers. What ratio of humans to prawns is considered a fair fight? Even if it were 50:1 we'd still probably win. Also I feel like there's a point of diminishing returns on energy weapons vs. nukes. Even if their most powerful stuff was the equivalent of a 1MT bomb, they'd have to chuck it pretty far to hope to stop our ability to retaliate. Even take the powered armor suit that Wikus used. Granted he clearly didn't use it to its full potential and a skilled operator would have lasted much longer against the same amount of force. But I'd still say the thing has only a very good chance against an Abrams Tank. Now let's think about its chances against twenty Abrams Tanks. You can see where things start to level off.
      • That's all very nice and reasonable, except for one hitch: in order for those arguments to work, xenos must have a mean to comprehend them! You mean to tell us, that those leaderless drones not only made an accurate assumption on the Earthlings' potential, despite only witnessing the very least of it, but managed to make a coherent common decision to stand down. All 2 millions of them. Ri-i-ight. Of course, we're not talking about anything akin to organised warfare here, but rather a chaotic and senseless bloody uprising that could only result in numerous civillian casualties before being brutally suppressed with most of the aliens exterminated. Do you see any reasons why it didn't happend? I don't. Individual aliens seem fit and mindlessly violent enough, but the whole population is suddenly humble, timid and reasonable?
      • I introduce to you (the immediate prior, that is) the logic bomb: Bystander Syndrome.

  • For that matter, why collect 20 years' worth of fuel to move the dropship when apparently all it took was establishing an uplink to reposition the mothership and use its tractor beam? The fuel necessary to boot up a wireless communication system seems a lot less than getting a multi-ton vehicle to fly...
    • Remember that the process of rendering the necessary fuel turned an entire alien device full of fluid into a single drop of fuel that actually went into the cylinder. And plus, it's likely that the dropship had some greater significance: After all, the prawn mothership was incapable of moving once it fell off.
    • Either the uplink needed the fuel to work, or they were worried about being shot down while in the rather slow tractor beam.
    • It might not actually be fuel, but some sort of biotechnological fluid medium that allows for prawn-machine touch interface. It's basically a liquid computer, and once placed in the drop ship it allowed them to control the machinery. That's why it turns humans into prawns - it actually overwrites human DNA because it reads our genetic information as a contaminant or a defective genetic device that needs to be fixed so it can work with it properly. Or, if they explicitly said it was fuel and I missed it, it was simply a reaction catalyst and not the actual consumable fuel.
      • Honestly the way it was described by Christopher 'sounded' like a "You're not smart enough to understand the real thing this is, so here's the closest local equivalent"
    • They could have been planing to take remote control of the mothership the whole time and the fluid was just provided the power they needed. Remember it was Wikus who tried to take off in the dropship not Christopher. He would have had no idea about the remote control.
    • The way I read it is that they needed that type of fuel for FTL, Christopher was smart enough not to tip his hand about the dropship.
    • Too many roles and coindicences! A few millilitres of liquid that powers a dropship, drives FTL in a city sized starship, a possible biological weapon — at least a mutagen for creating prawn from another species, also an either/or proposition between FTL and reversing mutation ... and nowhere in the whole starship is there another few millilitres?
      • I'm sure there was fuel on the starship. However, you might have noticed that the Prawn were stuck on the ground, and all the technology was either with MNU or human gangs. For all we know, the ship had enough fuel to make it to the home world and back; they just didn't have enough fuel to reach the ship.
      • I got the impression that the choice between treating Wikus or going home was more of a time constraint than a materiel constraint. After twenty years of oppression, Chris was probably anxious to get home ASAP, before anyone managed to board the mothership without permission. If Wikus hadn't freaked out over the timetable, he probably could have been turned back to a human during the trip, but that would've meant riding an alien spaceship for three years.
    • It was a lot more than a few milliliters, more like the contents of a Red Bull when you look at the whole container. Still a rather insignificant amount in size comparison, but nevertheless. Regardless, no, there wouldn't be any left on the ship. Whatever caused them to stop at Earth with no way back was probably a horrible, irreversible problem that burned out their fluid supply and killed almost all the smart aliens. Plus, as noted, it took twenty years to manufacture more fuel, so it's obviously a very complex substance.
    • The way I see it, the mothership was in reserve but not entirely empty by the time it reached Earth, and had little reason to do anything to expend what little fuel it had left later. When Cristopher gets the fuel he activates the mothership, which uses what little fuel it has left to start up and move. Presumably, Cristopher then adds his fuel and the needle goes back to full. Of course, the notion that spaceship fuel would cause other races to start converting into prawns is just a tad hard to believe...
  • After spending 20 years making the new fuel, and getting the last drop from a whole bottle's worth of input liquid the next thing that happens is loads of it is sprayed all over Wikus' face (plus however much the MNU guys take out later), yet there's still enough to do the job. What the hell was Christopher play around at? Why not go when you've got enough, rather than wait until you've got enough to lose a load and succeed?
    • Maybe he felt he had to wait until little CJ was old enough to travel. If you think about it, collecting extra fuel is a good idea - a failsafe in case something went wrong.
      • Or maybe he needed to collect enough to create a critical mass of fluid that would then imbue a single drop with enough power to activate the dropship
      • Maybe he needed or planned to need more than 'just enough' since given he intended to fly home on his own, it's not like he'd be in any position to make or acquire more. It's probably his last real shot of doing something at all so he's giving himself the best shot he has within the timeframe given to him.

Why the heck would the evil Mega Corp. be discussing their plans to dissect Wikus right in front of him? If they had said, "Hey buddy, we're going to put you out, and you'll be right as rain when you wake up," he'd never have tried to escape.
  • They were kicking the dog to prove their evilness. We had to be shown they are bad, nasty people who deserve to get their building blown up and their soldiers killed. This is also why the colonel growls about how he "loves to watch Prawns die;" we need to see why Plot Armor makes him immune to machine guns, lightning cannons, and rocket launchers— it's saving him for a bloodier fate later.
  • They wanted to harvest him while he was as fresh as possible and while he was still a Half-Human Hybrid. Also, using anesthetic means pumping chemicals into a body and they had no idea if that would cause an adverse effect. They basically decided not to risk damaging the organs.
  • The way I saw it, they just didn't bother because they now see him as something less than human, and talk about dissecting him like he can't even understand what they're saying. Notice how they don't speak to him and basically ignore him when he tries to protest or ask what's going on.
    • I agree. Also, he was very weak and his earlier protests and resistance were ineffectual. Basically, the guy's a big wimp, plus he was tied down. What was he gonna do?

What the heck was Christopher doing for those three months the mothership was hanging? He presumably had free access to all the alien tech he needed; he could have gotten the fluid for the canister, if not just actual fuel, in twenty minutes.
  • Not to mention, just leaving, since he seems to know the controls well enough.
  • We don't know much about the life cycle of the aliens, but it's very possible that Christopher was a child, or not even born, at the time of the landing.
    • Going further along this path, it's possible that Christopher is one of the "leader" caste, hatched in response to the emergency, but hadn't reached maturity.
  • It wasn't three months, it was twenty years. The only fluid was in a tiny battery (or something) in a pile of garbage among thousands of other piles of garbage. I don't think every Prawn device had the fluid in it.
    • Twenty years in District 9, beforehand they stayed three months on the ship.
  • Yes, but the ship was left alone for three months before humans decided to cut their way in. Plus, it's possible that Christopher was alive then, but just as sick and malnourished as all the other Prawns.
  • Christopher could have been on the dropship when it fell from the mothership.
  • Christopher definitely needed a special device for the fuel. Otherwise they just would've used one of those guns to power up the ship.

So let's assume the shuttle is required to control the mothership, otherwise there's no reason for Chris to not have just headed back right away. Why in the world is there no control redundancy in the mothership?
  • Maybe there was, and the shuttle was the redundancy. The bridge or control section was destroyed in the initial catastrophe, which lead them to use the back up in the shuttle module, which dropped off for whatever reason.
    • Actually, that makes perfect sense. In an interview with the director, it is specifically stated that the aliens function as a hive-mind, and their leadership was eliminated by something (Presumably a virus contracted on another world). Assuming the hive leader has direct control of the mothership (And seeing as a lot of the alien tech seems to involve directly "Jacking-in" this is quite likely), the mothership might have lost all main forms of control.

After Wikus is captured by the gang leader who wants to eat his arm so he can become like him, why doesn't he just say "That wont work, I know how to do that and can if you take me back to the crashed shuttle." He should have been able to figure out the fluid caused him to change by then.
  • because:
    • A. the fuel is needed to power the small shuttle.
    • B. there may not have enough fuel in the mother-ship.
    • C. If the Gang Leader got the "powers of the prawn" he would use them for his own destructive purpose which might not sit well with Wikus.
    • D. The Gang Leader is not going to believe Wikus.
    • E. The Gang leader will kill Wikus anyway as a message to any who would dare cross him.
    • F. All of the above.
  • He tried. When he was held down he was saying "It won't work..." then the Mecha started blasting everyone. He probably wasn't going to say the second part, but even if he were he didn't have the chance.
  • I'm more bothered by the fact he didn't use the best one-liner ever for the earlier scene with the gang leader: "You want to be like me? Go fuck a prawn."
  • He looked like he was going into shock. (Had a rough couple of days.) When he was overpowered and tied down, he freaked out. Also! The Nigerians thought they knew what Wikus had done which had resulted in his condition, and they didn't care, they still wanted to eat him.

Why the crap wasn't Wikus rushed off to quarantine after getting sprayed in the face with some kind of alien liquid?!?
  • A lot of people soldier on when they are sick. Wikus deliberately hid the fact and only wanted his arm treated for much the same reason. The only person who could have said anything was the man, who knows why he didn't. Probably for the same reason people see someone working who certain isn't OK still let them work without saying anything.
    • Eh, the camera man was vaguely implied to be a friend of Wikus's, so he may have asked him to keep it quiet. And yeah, Wikus comes across as the kind of guy
  • He looks directly at the camera guy, pretty much immediatly after getting sprayed, and asks him not to tell anybody. Since the MNU soldier was outside, the camera man was the only one to have seen it. As for why? First day on the job, and he already broke an arm. He didn't want to look like a loser.

Hey gang, question.....How FOKKIN' stupid is MNU and the people of South Africa??!! Do you mean to tell me that nobody thought to themselves, "Gee, a race of aliens who seems to have technology at least 70 years ahead of ours (and that's a generous estimate) have shown up on our world. Maybe we should, I dunno, be nice to them"?? Y'know, since it seems fairly obvious that they have the means to inflict serious damage on the country if they're pissed off. Forget about the whole well the workers are passive. Common sense would've said that the aliens may very well send another ship to find out what happened to the first one. When they show up and find their fellow men living in the ghetto, and being chopped up for medical research, who's to say they'd be passive enough to resist turning South Africa into a smoking crater?? Morons.
  • This American troper has to remind himself that it wasn't just the South Africans who took turns with the Idiot Ball. You mean no other world government realized the danger of mistreating the aliens. I mean, not even the United Freakin States of America thought, "Man, if we let those crazy racist Africans abuse the aliens, who says the aliens will just take out their anger on Africa? Who says they won't decide 'Y'know what, let's kill ALL these racist fucks while we're at it'?? Seriously, in this alternate timeline, it seems that while Humans Are Bastards, Humans Are Morons too.
    • Being South African, this troper finds it annoying that to many fans of the movie, the take home lesson seems to have been "South Africans are evil and should get invaded by the aliens and it will serve them right". Did people miss the (ironically-named) "human rights" groups protesting the eviction? How about the fact that someone would need to oversee the aliens, and the guys who got the job turned out to be an Evil Corporation, who are not answerable to the South African citizenry in general? Plus, I think you're all overestimating how tolerant you'd be in that situation. Lest we forget, America also has a history of segregation and reservations, and South Africa's crime was being 30-40 years behind the US socially. So I'd say that the movie is about the human condition in general, not about how evil South Africans are (or Nigerians, for that matter). As for humanity being stupid, keep in mind the disillusionment when it turned out the aliens were all pretty dumb (or so it seemed at any rate). Some of the deleted scenes also had a (black, vaguely American-accented) MNU big-shot speculate that the aliens were slaves, pirates who stole the ship, etc. Plus, after almost 30 years nobody was expecting a retaliation, whereas for MNU (Multi-National United, mind ... not "Stupid/Evil South African-only Corporation") the payoff was weapons tech that could change the entire international balance of power, in favor of whoever paid them the alien mothership's weight in platinum. So ja ... I suppose humans really are that stupid/reckless in this movie, ... and that isn't somehow limited to South Africans. All of humanity seems to be in on this, the fantasies of foreign fanfic writers notwithstanding.
    • There are historical parallels between MNU's treatment of the aliens and Apartheid, but I didn't see it as uniquely inherent to South Africa. This would probably have happened wherever the aliens landed.
  • These questions pale in comparison to the biggest case of nationwide stupidity ever. Observe: The South Africans want the secrets of the alien tech. Okay, cool. You discover their tech is engineered so that humans can't use it. So what do you do? You decide to take the aliens, cage them like animals, treat them like shit, and waste 20 odd years trying to make the stuff work even though you don't have the DNA for it! You mean, NOBODY, in all South Africa said, "Wait a sec. We can't get the aliens tech to work for us. But maybe.....if we're NICE TO THEM, maybe they'll show us how it all works, or at least maybe the aliens will join our military and work for us!" Instead of District 9, the South Africans could've built luxury condos, ensured that the aliens had lifetime supplies of cat food, and given their newborns specially-bred organic cows to feed on. The grateful aliens would gladly have become naturalized citizens of South Africa, and would joined their army, bringing along their Powered Armor and Wave Motion Guns. And basically South Africa would become the most powerful nation in history! But no! Treating the aliens like Jews in 1939 Warsaw was seen as a better idea. Head, meet desk......
    • Okay, will you calm down and think about this, please? This was clearly a safety-first thing; the news reports at the beginning established that the aliens were very destructive creatures, enjoying such wholesome activities as kidnapping people's wives, burning down townships and wrecking trains in their spare time. Sure, some of them are established to be exceptions to this, but the fact is that some of them - implicitly the majority - enjoy it. What do you do with creatures like that - allow them to raise anarchy amongst the people who actually live in the country in the vague hope that they'll be generous in return some day, or quarantine them for the sake of maintaining basic society? Sure, there's a chance that some of their friends will show up later, somewhat pissed off, but by that logic we should also never arrest gangsters. Make more sense now?
    • Plus no Internet in 1984 (when the aliens show up) so for the most part 99% of the planet will never meet an alien in their life and the only information they know comes form MNU with very little infor outside of them, so by the time everything is boiling over most people have come to belief the aliens are train wrecking assholes who don't care if their young gets burn.
    • There's also some extreme cultural differences. It seems that the Prawns see the concepts like "property" and "work" somewhat differently from humans, and would have trouble in adapting to a stable environment where individuals are paid for doing a job. I would guess that they naturally work more like insects in a hive, and the human-like non-biological hierarchy confuses them.
      • I'm being CALM and RATIONAL. Yes, the aliens are a little strange. Okay. But the fact is; basic common sense still would've said that being civil to them would far more advantages than treating them like a bunch of Blacks in 1800's America.
      • Remember how Adolf Hitler had those scientists and businessmen persecuted and marginalised because they were Jewish?
      • Think about it. Big alien ship comes out of nowhere, freaky aliens are inside, freaky aliens proceed to destroy stuff for no apparent reason. Yes, let's be nice to them.
      • They were saved from starving inside the ship, and set up in a camp with food rations, all at considerable expense to the South Africans. And then some prawns went on random rampages with their advanced tech in a crowded city. So, being civil already failed. Almost all the prawns are drones, without the longterm thinking to even negotiate for catfood, so you can't treatise with them. And considering their lack of discipline, trying to recruit them into your army would be a terrible idea.
      • My impressions were that the random rampages was in response to the poor conditions they were already put in, it just doesn't make any sense that first contact would be handled with a privately owned company instead of direct involvement by other governments.
      • Why are assuming they didn't try? It's openly stated that most of the aliens are just workers. The guy helping Chris at the start of the movie couldn't even tell the difference between their and human tech.
    • You're right. It was completely irrational and stupid for the governments of South Africa and the world to do what they did. But you know what? Xenophobia, slavery, segregation and overall bastardy have existed in all human civilizations. It is never rational or even sane, but humans do it anyway. That's the entire point of the film. We do these things to each other and we do them again to extraterrestrials. It's history repeating itself. We are a species of paranoid, ignorant, stupid, bastards.
      • To be fair, people would probably have had second thoughts about slavery and the like if they thought that African nations (for example) were capable of orbital bombardment.
      • A woman being interviewed at the start of the movie voiced anger that the government was spending money to help the aliens at all. Treating them better than their own citizens would have been a PR disaster.
    • I think it was mentioned either fairly early on in the movie or in the supplementary materials on the websites that there were attempts to use more friendly methods to convince aliens to share their tech. However, the movie implies that A) Most of the aliens are too stupid (or at least let us think they're too stupid) to be of any use in sharing their tech, and B) That the few who are intelligent enough to be of use have absolutely no intention of sharing their tech whatsoever. Finally, being an evil corporation, naturally MNU has the typical evil corporate obligation to keep expenses down as much as possible while working to exploit alien tech, which rules out better accommodations for aliens since that would cost more money. A different solution would of course be trying to reverse engineer alien tech from the ground up, with it keyed to human DNA. Of course, they might need more than twenty years to accomplish that.
    • Let's not forget the biggest reason that governments wouldn't have been all that nice: The prawns were were loaded up with the craziest weapons humans have ever seen! They had lightning guns and mechsuits. It strains the imagination to think that their intention in coming to Earth, a planet to which they 'just happen' to be biologically suited, was peaceful. They probably showed up to colonize the planet and exterminate humanity, either with their awesome guns, or the space-gasoline that mutated Wikus. I think the only thing that spared humanity was an unforeseen contagion just as in War of the Worlds; they probably got sick through some microbe picked up in the atmosphere or by scouts.
      • We can't assume they're evil. If the mothership exists for colonization purposes (and it's not even sure Earth was the original target), it'd make sense for them to be heavily armed; colonization of a new territory is an inherently dangerous proposition, and you don't send unarmed colonists there. If it was military it'd be carrying a lot more military hardware; there'd be guns and mechas and who knows what else littering the place. And even then there's no saying who was the original target.
  • Surprised this hasn't come up yet: how in God's name did the humans take a mere twenty years to pick up on a language that consists entirely of hisses and clicks? There's not a single human language out there that's even remotely similar to it, so it would be pushing it if even than language experts became fully fluent in it in such a short time; yet in the film, even people like Wikus (who really doesn't come across as particularly sharp-witted) seem to have picked up on every nuance of this bizarre language. I loved the film, and I realize it would have suffered if they'd slowed it down to show every little thing...but I'm still not buying this language thing.
    • It's South Africa. They have, like, eleven official languages. And I think it's pretty clear he doesn't pick up every nuance, just the basic gist. Plus, since he's an official of the MNU I think he's more likely to know the language than, say, some banker somewhere. And the talking-in-two-languages bit is apparently based on the way people interact in Johannesburg, at least some of the time.
    • Like any other language you figure it out, one of the MNU vedios about humans living with the aliens a man that own a burger joint just points to the pictures in the menu.
    • By the way, we DO have languages that include clicks. At least one of which (Xhosa) is an official language of South Africa.
    • It's possible that the aliens had some kind of super translator thingy. Obviously they don't use it anymore, but having it to begin with probably meant that they understood eachother much faster than if they just tried to work it out themselves.
    • This troper believes that it's partially telepathic in nature- see wild mass guessing.
    • Twenty years is a long time, but you have a point. When two human civilizations first meet and attempt communication, there's a big difference- they're both capable of speaking the same language. At least in the course of the movie, there is no alien who can speak the a human language, and vice-versa, likely because it is physically impossible. It would be an incredibly time-consuming process, one which would also be somewhat fruitless, seeing how the aliens are condemned to a slum and mostly ignored anyways.
    • Another explanation is that they had use a new form of language which has basically been taught to them by humans, while stilling using the clicks and growls only they can produce.
    • It would be hard, but not impossible. Learning a new language from scratch is much easier if you have a native speaker handy, especially if that native speaker looks enough like you that you can tell when it's pointing at something. Enemy Mine touched on this as well, and it only took a matter of months in that movie. Learning a new language from scratch with no one to guide you through it, on the other hand, is much more difficult if not impossible—the only reason modern scholars have any idea how to read Egyptian hieroglyphics is that they had this thing to act as a primer. Even now, a lot of it's still based on guesswork, since the three languages on the Rosetta Stone aren't perfect one-to-one translations. But given enough time, eventually the humans and Prawns would pick up each other's languages, so it's not that crazy.
    • Here's an example: the Na'vi language made up for Avatar has a good portion of words that are pronounced with clicks, glottal stops, and difficult combined sounds (try pronouncing nGK as one sound with a glottal stop on the end, there's like two dozen words in Na'vi that use that sound), along with words that change meaning with inflection and a few bits of verbal punctuation... and many hardcore fans were practically fluent in both speaking and writing it within three months of the film being released and used it to make written and video petitions to JC, through the creator of the language, to make the full lexicon available. Let me just reiterate that: fans took an incomplete and not fully translated lexicon and within three months had drawn up rubric for pronunciation, grammar, and conversational etiquette along with a basic dictionary and taught themselves to speak it well enough to carry on full formal conversation between themselves and the guy that created the language. So yeah, picking up the prawn's language would be hard but nowhere near impossible. My estimate, a handful of skilled linguists starting from scratch could have a working dictionary in about eight months, assuming the focus on the project was complete and uninterrupted, which it likely would be.

  • When Wikus serves out all the eviction notices, one of the prawns pointedly asks what "eviction" is. How did he know how to pronounce it in Clickese?
    • He was lying his ass off, because he knew they couldn't legally evict him if he didn't know what they were trying to do. A lot of what the aliens say connotes pretty strongly that they know exactly how the laws concerning their legal status work. They weren't about to make anybody sign off blindly or under duress on camera (unless you consider threatening to take away Little CJ "duress," which it technically is but what he was threatening might have been perfectly legal).
    • ...If the alien was indeed telling the truth (I'm guessing that it was a different alien than the smarter Christopher) that's actually a really good question. My best guess is that they have invented a new language, different from their native one, that directly interprets and imitates human speech to the best their physiology will allow. If this were the case, their new word for "eviction" could actually be them attempting to pronounce the English word "eviction" to the best of their ability.
Also, the aliens could've simply incorporated various languages into one. For instance, in the scene when Wikus buys catfood, the butcher spoke to the alien in his African native tongue. Again, when one hears Christopher's monologue's during the 3 years scene, if one listens carefully, they can pick out English words and possibly some Afrikaans or some other local African dialect words.
  • Perhaps the alien really said "What is that word you just said?" Or maybe he knew the Clickese for "eviction" but doesn't understand the concept behind it nevertheless, the way I do not really know what a voir dire is.

  • What were those things with stingers supposed to be?
    • pest form the ships, think rats.
    • Odd I kind of thought they were "cats" or "dogs" that went feral

  • Why did the gang leader have subtitles when he was speaking in english?
    • His English was very heavily accented. I certainly appreciated it; I'm terrible at making out heavily accented English, and trying to puzzle out what someone's saying is a major immersion breaker for me.
      • But Wikus didn't, earlier, and I (not the writer of the original comment) could understand the gang leader much more easily than I could Wikus at the beginning. And that is what ticks me off.
    • It's pretty common in documentaries for someone speaking English with a heavy accent to be subtitled. Since the first half of the film was a Mockumentary, maybe it was a carry-over from that?
      • It doesn't just happen in documentaries, either. Take a look at Dalip Singh's dialogue in the remake of The Longest Yard. Better safe than sorry with these things, I suppose.
    • He was actually starting to gain the abilities of the prawns from eating them, including telepathically placing subtitles into the minds of others.
    • It's my understanding that it's a subtle bit of racism that goes along with the Mockumentary format. People who speak with an Afrikaans accent (white Dutch descendants) like Wikus aren't subtitled while those who speak other forms of English, such as the gang leader (an immigrant), are. It's a bit more clear in the Alive in Joburg short.
      • My guess is between that or they were honestly trying to make it easier to understand the guy. I had no problems understanding Wikus, but the gang leader was nearly unintelligible to me if I shut my eyes.
      • This isn't that far from the truth either, sadly.

  • When giving the eviction notice to Christopher, Wickus appears to lack a fundamental understanding of the alien's language and dismisses Christopher's questions as childish gibberish. This could be him being intentionally condescending to an alien who is asking a proper question (combined with the fact that he refused to answer the question, knowing a hasty eviction is illegal), but I was surprised to see Wickus, in the later half of the movie, understanding the language rather fluently.
    • It could be argued that this was because of his transformation. Part of that was learning to speak and understand the language.
    • Wickus did understand Christopher perfectly. He was just being condescending because he had a job to do and Christopher wasn't playing ball. Once it became clear that he wasn't going to get his way immediately, Wickus acknowledges that Christopher knows what he's talking about and switches tactics to get around it. Hence, it's not a lack of fundamental understanding, it's a lack of willingness to compromise.

  • I understand Wilkus being upset at the fact that it'd take years to turn him back into a human, but just what the hell did he think would happen if he stole Chris's ship? He doesn't know to fly it, he doesn't know where he's going, he doesn't know where the device to humanize him is, or even the slightest clue as to what it looks like. I understand he was angry, but that just seemed like total Character Derailment clutching an Idiot Ball.
    • As you said, he was angry. He was also under duress and desperate. He probably figured whatever chance he had to get up to the mothership and figure out the cure was better than waiting 3 years and hoping that Christopher would keep his word. Desperate people with nothing left to lose often don't quite think things through.
    • He also hadn't eaten anything other than some donuts and a can of cat food for several days. That probably wouldn't help his judgement any.
    • Neurochemical changes can result in a profoundly altered state of mind. Wikus is turning into another species, it wouldn't surprise me that his brain is being changed along with his body and thus why he's acting so irrationally.
    • It's clear that, as his transformation progresses, he becomes more and more able to understand alien language and functions - take, for instance, the fact that when he gets in the suit it only takes a while for him to learn how to use it to its full potential (the Macross Missile Massacre bit, where he mutters some of the things he's obviously interacting with). At the point he tries to take Chris's ship, he probably hoped his partial transformation would allow him to reach the medical machinery and operate it. A long shot, but then, he was desperate.
    • If Chris hadn't said that he had to save the fluid to "travel fast" then he probably wouldn't have done it. After that it's clear that Wikus could be "cured" right then and now, and Chris wasn't going to help him. So it's either; languish in the slums for three years provided Chris keeps his word, get cut apart while awake by the MNU, or take the long shot and attempt to cure yourself with the help of a smart alien child. What would you do?

  • Here's a question. How come, out of all probability, the Prawn(or Poleepkwa) breath the same air that we do? It could just be a coincidence but it's a long shot. Their planet might not have the same atmosphere we have. Maybe something in the air or the planet itself is hurting them. They have a different biology. It's impossible that they have the same needs as our bodies do. Anyways, just a thought. -Bluestar_Con
    • It wouldn't need to be exactly the same, just tolerable.
    • I think it's far more likely their ship scanned and skipped over planets that had unbreathable atmospheres for them. It coincidental that we breath the same atmo, but not coincidental that they came here.
    • Also, it's not impossible at all that they'd require oxygen. There's only a handful of gases that a carbon-based lifeform could possibly process, and oxygen is one of the more likely gases.
      • In fact, oxygen mixed with some sort of inert gas (such as nitrogen) is ideal for life because it provides a readily available oxidizer without putting the entire planet at risk of a global firestorm every time lightning strikes. It also happens to be the third most common element in the universe and useful in blocking UV radiation (which tends to be rather damaging) in the form of ozone. While oxygen is far from being the only atmospheric component capable of supporting life in the universe, it looks as though it will be a common one. It's not a huge stretch to think the prawns could come from a planet with an oxygen-mix atmosphere.

  • Alright, so aside from being the nearest thing to a decent person in the film, why does Christopher give a crap about Wikus? Here's this guy who Christopher only knows as the condescending MNU bully who tried to evict him and threatened his son, barging into their home demanding a place to hide after screwing up the project he'd been working on for twenty years, and who's pretty obviously only interested in them for what they can do for him. I can see needing him to get the fluid back, but what's with the "we stick together" business at the end? Christopher doesn't owe him any favors, and Wikus hasn't really given Christopher much reason to like him what with the stealing the shuttle and ditching Christopher when he's in trouble at least twice (I mean, yeah, he comes back the second time, but still...).
    • At the end, Wikus showed himself to be a (somewhat) decent guy by coming back when he didn't have to, and as noted Christopher is about the closest thing to a decent person among the primary cast. When it came down to it, both of them had only one way to go, and that was basically to the ship. Christopher might have been planning to drag Wikus along for lack of anything better to do with him. Always good to have an extra pair of hands around.
    • I think Christopher understandably didn't give a damn about Wikus through most of the movie. He too was only interested in Wikus for what he could do for him. It's a big deal that he changes his mind at the end — it's Fire-Forged Friends.
    • Also that was the point - that Christopher was about the only decent "person" in the whole film despite not even being a human "person".
      • To me Christopher was intentionally written as a character who will keep his word and try to solve his problems through cooperation rather than through force in direct contrast to the humans.
      • Christopher didn't keep his word, actually; he was the one who sprung the "it'll take three years because my plans take priority" thing on Wikus. Granted, the future of all his fellow South African prawns was at stake, but still. To me the point was that neither of them wanted much more to do with each other than was necessary to achieve their goals. Only by the end of the movie do they have any kind of friendship going on.
    • The dude was undoubtedly a jerk, but I think coming back and risking your life to save yours has to be a pretty good reason to update your opinion of the guy. And by the "we stick together" bit, it's clear Wikus has full knowledge that getting Christopher on the ship so he can save his race will cost Wikus his life - the mecha is heavily damaged and enemy firepower is overwhelming despite the alien weapons. Wikus is about to perform a Heroic Sacrifice - he doesn't even care about his rehumanization anymore. Christopher is probably as moved by this as anyone else would be.
  • Why does Christopher let slip that it's going to take three years as a direct consequence of using the fluid to power FTL rather than reverse the mutation? He's smart, he's well able to recognise human desperation. He may even be manipulating Wikus to help him get the fluid back through his desperation. So why spill the beans at the last moment? I think Christopher is probably pretty contemptuous of humans, but this is a crazy level of complacency.
    • He underestimated Wikus' desperation and was too stuck in his own problems to see it. As far as he was concerned, he had Wikus by the balls. There was one way to the cure, and it was through him. Wikus certainly had no way of fixing himself. Christopher, meanwhile, had just found out about horrible experiments being performed on his people, and wasn't paying that much attention to Wikus.
  • It appeared that one could fire a Prawn weapon simply by forcing the gun into a subject's hand and hitting the subject in the arm with a cattle prod. So why couldn't they just start harvesting severed Prawn forearms and attaching a forearm/electrode combo to any of the weapons they wanted to use? The arm would probably wear out eventually, but with weapons that awesome, you could just market the electro-arm combo package as the "ammo" that needs to get changed out every so often.
    • Since Wikus was able to fire the gun with his non-transformed human hand, it was implied that the guns didn't just use DNA from the directly touched area, but probably was generated by an entire living being with infused prawn DNA. Also, I'm sure that it would be one of the first methods they would have tried, seeing how many prawn "parts" there were, stored in the labs of MNU.
    • I came to the same conclusion regarding the prawn weapons, that they needed a live prawn (or prawn hybrid) to operate, so just chopping off the arm wouldn't be enough... so why not hook up a living prawn to feeding tubes to keep it alive, encased in a contraption to keep it immobile and force it to pull the trigger on command and then mount the whole thing on a tank? It wouldn't be worth it for the smaller weapons, but some of those BFG's would be worth using on an armored vehicle.
      • I don't think that has any practical application—if they were to use these weapons in war, how would they move around these prawns-in-a-box? For the bigger mech-things, they required more complicated use than simply pulling a trigger, and if you have a hostage that aware of the weapon he has, he'd turn it against you. It'd be better to have willing participants, which I suppose is why they didn't need Wikus alive, since he was a hostage (although the most obvious intelligent thing to do would be to keep him alive for experimentation purposes).

Dalek: What about this: How the hell were the weapons brought down to Earth? The government brought down the prawns from the spaceship on helicopters. They saw everything they were carrying. It's not like it was hard to figure out it was a gun. And the robot-suit-thing filled with missiles... I'll give the government not knowing about the guns, maybe, but missile-toting robo-suits! Their was no other possible use for that suit!
  • For the same reason all that other alien tech was brought down: to exploit it. Only the aliens can use the tech, and they had to test it somehow.
    • I felt it was implied that what weaponry is seen in the alien camp is there because it was stolen from the MNU, either by the gangsters or possibly by the aliens themselves.

Why doesn't Wickus use the mech suit's gravity gun to to catch Koobus' RPG and avoid losing the suit's arm? And then shoot the RPG back at Koobus?
  • Because it had taken a crapton of damage, could barely walk, and Wikus wasn't exactly doing too hot at the time. Plus he seemed to mostly be using the suit by What Does This Button Do? mentality. If he had full control like Christopher's kid did, he'd have killed everyone without even being touched. Short answer: he was tired, hurt, and pressed for time. He did the quickest thing he could.
  • In that case, why didn't Little CJ just keep remote control of it?
    • Reviewing the film again, I don't think little CJ was controlling it. Look carefully at the displays little CJ is going over as opposed to the mech suit operation. The displays all prominently feature the mothership. I figure the suit was running on AI. As we all know, The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard. The first thing it does is scan the room, and it identifies Wikus as a friendly. It then moves to defend him and itself. Once the immediate threat is gone, it opens to allow Wikus access. Assuming this to be true, once Wikus took manual control, he'd have to access the weapons manually, too. He doesn't understand the prawn tech well enough to do so reliably or nearly as well as the suit AI does.
    • Furthering this: right after CJ turns on the mothership, the newsfeed cuts back in and the reporter says "...alien devices all around the city are activating..." right before the mothership starts moving. Sounds like, as a consequence of the mothership being activated, all of the alien tech that had been confiscated had turned on too. I guess the movie didn't show all the confiscated alien stuff in the MNU labs turning on and killing everybody...
  • More importantly: why not give the suit to Christopher after saving him? Surely he would know how to use it much better than Wikus himself. Instead, he tries to escort him to the shuttle - with Christopher at one point protecting himself with sheetmetal. Giving him the suit would have been a lot safer.
    • Because 1) Christopher is stronger and faster than Wikus and thus has a better chance of survival outside the suit and 2) the suit is a big, big, big target that is going to draw all the fire. Think of Wikus in the suit as a tank on an escort mission... he's drawing aggro so most of the enemies aren't even paying attention to Christopher.

  • At the beginning, we see a woman explaining the origin of the name "prawns" explaining how it's an offensive racial slur because they're second class citizens, and prawns are "bottom feeders", hence the connection. Nowhere does anyone suggest that maybe they're called prawns because, you know, * they look like prawns?*
    • Uh, almost immediately after that, I recall hearing somebody saying "Well, they look like prawns!".
      • I immediately thought that they were called prawns for the same reason the formics from Enderís Game were called that, and figured the reporter was intentionally (or unintentionally trying to give it a more derogatory meaning.
    • Not to mention, just because they may look like prawns doesn't diminish the patronizing connotation it gives. Real Life example: comparing a certain race to some sort of monkey or gorilla.
    • Also remember that they're not talking about seafood, but these. I can think of relatively few connotations to being compared to an insect, intentionally or not.
      • Isn't the Parktown prawn a kind of pest in the first place?
      • Is it actually ever said in the movie they're named after the insect prawns? Because I have a hard time believing nobody saw the similarities between the crustacean before they decided to up and name them after bugs. Especially because there are a number of other pests that are far more common and derogatory that could have been used.
      • The director said they're named after those insects, and actually has a very good reason why: most South Africans consider them pests and kill them on sight, but Neil knows that they're quite harmless and beneficial, eating other household pests. They don't deserve the hate they're given, much like the Prawns.
      • By the way, the Parktown Prawn is basically a cockroach and can become a pest, like anything else, if its population is not kept in check. I don't think there's any hidden lesson here. Aliens look like roaches, we call roaches prawns, ergo we call aliens prawns. Simple.

  • Why didn't the MNU scientist bother to find out how exactly had Wikus contracted a mutation? I know they were supposed to be in a hurry (why is that by way, or did they expect him to turn in a xeno right there and then?) but it would've taken just one simple question: "Wikus, tell us what happend, in all details - if we're going to cure it, we need to know what could cause it." See? Simple. And please, "MNU is THAT evil" is not an acceptable answer because it undermines the story just as well.
    • The MNU scientists knew what happened to Wikus. They stated that he was the first one who didn't die when his DNA was rewritten. Apparently they tried a similar (or even the same if they got their hands onto some of the fluid) method to create hybrids.
    • As for why they were in a hurry, they had to get what they could while he was still mostly human to get it to work for humans. The longer they waited the further along his mutation went and the harder it would be to apply what they learn to normal or lightly altered humans.
    • They knew. A) It was caught on tape. B) They passed the little cylinder around in the lab; Wikus saw it.

  • It bugs me how unblushingly xenophiles switch from one interpretation to another depending on which one is more convenient momentarily: now it's "prawns are just apathetic and disorganised drones and without their Hive Mind they cannot stand for themselves or interact with humans in any sentient matter", and then it's "all the terrible things those horrible humans were telling about the prawns were lies! They do care about their kids and they do value life and property, and even if they derailed those trains it's just because they were pissed at those horrible humans for treating them badly". Would you kindly make up your mind, because you can't possible have both.
    • Why not? Christopher could have been one of the ruling class and was a child/egg when all the other rulers died.
      • Also, can't a political movement have different factions with different methods? Malcolm X and Martin Luthur King, Jr. had similar goals-but the devil was in the details.
    • We can't be sure what is the truth in the matter; we're surrounded by Unreliable Narrators. MNU spouts anti-Prawn propaganda, while Christopher in his blog responds with pro-Prawn propaganda. The fact is that we don't know for a fact which parts are true, which are exaggerated and which are completely fictional. It's possible that the Prawns are just collectively depressed and drugged out of their minds with catfood, or maybe they are just dumb drones unable to function without their leader caste. We just don't know. We need a sequel to start putting some facts together, and hopefully seeing examples of the alien society in its prime.
      • That, and the Prawns' behavior changed over time: at the beginning they were just mindlessly walking around and pillaging (presumably because of the disorientation caused by the loss of their leading class), which, among other factors, led to their imprisoning, but later their understanding of what is going on improved to the degree that some of them were able to understand relevant legal issues.
    • Yeah, this bugged me, too, especially because we keep being told both in the movie and through other material that most of the prawns are a caste of workers of dubious individual worth-yet Christopher cares passionately for each individual, almost like a A Father to His Men. It may be that with a bit more guidance from the leader caste, worker prawns may be more valuable as individuals than conditions in District 9 permit. However, it could also be that Christopher just thinks of his people as extensions of himself or doesn't appreciate an outside force whittling down his ranks.

  • Early in the movie, we see Christopher scavenging for alien technology in order to fill his jar of fluid. He manages to collect a few drops, which appears to be enough. However, a bit later Wikus gets sprayed with some. Wouldn't Christopher have to scavenge more alien tech? Or was that part of the purpose of their raid on MNU?
    • Personally, this troper believes that the jar wasn't just used for containing the fuel- it was also another part of the purification process, used for sifting out any remaining impurities in the fuel. The stuff that Wikus got sprayed with was just waste. It's a stretch, but yeah...
      • Or maybe Christopher believes in redundancy and gathered extra fluid just in case. Since we know so little about how the stuff works in the first place, it's hard to speculate. It's possible that the fluid loss was great enough to force Christopher to sacrifice certain systems on the way home ("I'm gonna miss having a flush toilet"), but not so great as to force him to scrub the mission completely.

  • Christopher is obviously a very bright alien, why didn't he tell his friend to talk to the MNU guys while he sneaked out through the backdoor with the fuel? It was the most obvious thing to do, instead he decided to leave it there when he could've known MNU would take a look and turn the place inside out when they discovered all the weapons.
    • On the other hand, he's wearing barely anything and a high-tech looking canister is awfully suspicious. Also, while he's pretty knowledgable in alien technology, that doesn't necessarily mean he's going to do the smartest thing all the time. Considering the general situation all the aliens are in, and adding to that him and his friend just finished a twenty year plan when MNU is literally knocking at their door...he could've just made a bad decision.
    • To be fair, aside from not taking the canister, Christopher did tell his friend to appease the MNU guys by playing nice. Problem is, his friend did not pay attention and ended up inciting a search. Really, Christopher would have been better off taking it himself, but he was hiding an entire ship under his house and probably felt he was better off not giving MNU both pieces of the puzzle.

  • Am I the only one who was weirded out by the fact that Wikus never directly repents for what he did? In the first part of the movie, he manipulates prawns into signing the eviction forms, threatens to kidnap Christopher's son, and kills a bunch of prawn babies. Pretty sick, right? Then he starts morphing into a prawn, so I figured "I get it, pretty soon he'll realize that all that stuff he was doing earlier was evil." But no, not really. He never says "sorry for threatening to kidnap your son", or "sorry for being a racist/speciesist/whatever before I started transforming". He fights against the MNU, but only because he wants to be cured, not because he's trying to save the prawns. Granted, yes, he does become Fire-Forged Friends with Christopher Johnson, but I was expecting a lot more than that. In fact, after Wikus starts transforming, no one in the entire movie (not even Christopher Johnson himself) makes any mention about Wikus's killing babies, being manipulative, and otherwise just being a (goofy ignorant) Jerk Ass back when he worked for MNU. It's like they all have amnesia or something.
    • I wasn't weirded out, but yeah I was kinda annoyed that he never had to really confront what he did. Buuuut, both him and Christopher are busy trying to get to the ship to really have a talk about it. Either Wikus is somewhere away from Christopher (fookin prawns * shakes fist* ), or they're being shot at. It isn't suprising that it may not have came up. Still, I would've liked it if they put at least a little more of that in there even if he didn't get to the point where he feels sorry for what he did.
    • I actually thought that was pretty realistic. It wasn't comforting, but it often takes more than Fire-Forged Friends to make a committed racist/speciesist (I don't like either of those terms, the aliens are not a 'race' and speciesist makes it sound like you're from PETA, but you know what I mean) realise that their bigotry is wrong. It's pretty easy for a committed bigot to think of a specific individual as different from the others. Sadly I am pretty familiar with this as I am related to some people like this. Think mighty human of ya/credit to your species/he may be a prawn but he's our prawn...
      • Well, ok, I can see how that could be realistic. But even if you're going to do that, the movie should make some comment about it, get the audience thinking about the question, like "Wow even after all that he's still kindof racist" or whatever. Instead, the movie just drops the idea entirely. It's particularly jarring given the fact that the environment of District 9 was based on the real-world District 6, where the South African government kept a lot of black people and generally mistreated them. If that's not a setup for some sort of lesson on racism, I don't know what is. And yet we have a racist protagonist who never repents, and his non-repentance isn't even touched upon.
      • You don't think life as a prawn isn't some sort of karmic justice? He can't see his "angel", he's treated like the very things he once despised and looked down upon, has no friends, must learn a new culture and how to speak a new language, and is pretty much alone in the world until Christopher maybe, maybe comes back.
      • It's worth mentioning that, when he's being experimented on by MNU scientists and realizes they're going to make him shoot a prawn, he begs them to let him shoot another dead pig instead. If he really doesn't feel bad about mistreating the prawns, he shouldn't care, yet he does. Wikus also makes a point at the very end of sending Christopher off, not with a "Don't forget to come back for me," but a "Go save your son" or something to that effect. He's seen that the prawns aren't so different from humans, including their attachment to their children.
      • The thing about this movie is, everyone thought there was some profound lesson or that the aliens in general and Christopher in particular were supposed to be the Mary Sue. Reviewers were all like, "oh I get it, it's an allegory for Apartheid/racism/etc., and therefore it sucks / is a brilliant social commentary". But actually, it's just stuff that happens and there's not much of a moral. So I think any kind of "hey, sorry for being racist" moment for Wikus would not only be impractical i.t.o. the storyline, it also wouldn't fit the tone and intent of the movie. It's supposed to be realistic (for a given value of realism) and if the characters took time out for anime-esque confessions of guilt or a "what did we learn today kids" moral, I think it'd very easily turn Narmy. ———
  • Why did the news anchor say that Wikus had been on the run for a week, when just moments later the viewer is informed that it had only been 72 hours since his exposure to the black liquid? Even if it was just MNU lying to the media, don't you think that someone (ie. Wikus' parents, friends, etc.) could have pointed out this time discrepancy?
    • People could have pointed out the discrepancy, but we didn't see it, and, the way news and urban legend works, people will remember the more exciting/interesting version of a story rather than the truth. Wikus didn't contract an alien STD, either, but people sure believed he did after the
picture was aired.
  • Several reasons. One, he was generalizing. Maybe Wikus started this in the middle of the work week. But that might not be right. Two, he just messed up and didn't catch himself. It's been known to happen. Three, Rule of Drama. Exaggeration isn't uncommon in the news.

  • Why didn't Wikus and Christopher switch so that Christopher could pilot the mecha? Wikus sucks at it; presumably, Christopher would be better at fighting in it. (I speculate that Wikus had no idea how to get out of the armor.)
    • When exactly could they switch? The only opportunity was the moment Wikus rescued Christopher, and getting out of that armor was likely to get them both shot. The soldiers would have capitalized the second Wikus gave up his advantage.
    • Besides, Christopher may only be a pilot. You wouldn't expect a airplane pilot to be able to operate a tank, so Christopher may not have had any experience with the suit himself.

  • Now, forgive me if this point was explained in the movie and I just missed it, but why did the fuel of an alien ship of all things start turning Wikus into a prawn? I just find it strange that minimal exposure to an alien fluid ,the fuel source of a ship of all things (Would exposure to Diesal turn a prawn into a human?) would radically alter one's DNA to the point where they slowly turn into a member of another species.
    • Their fuel is a lot more complex than gasoline. It's distilled from their genetically-locked alien guns. But, to the question, it is never explained. It's just a plot device.
    • It's stated that the Prawns use bio-technology that not only requires Prawn DNA but is implied to be operated through their nervous system. Thus, the fluid would not, like the above troper said, be a simple gasoline analogue but appears rather to be a genetic intermediary between the machines and the Prawns' bodies. As such, it probably has Prawn DNA in it and uses that DNA to "correct" supposed "irregularities" to keep the operation of the machines as efficient and fluent as possible.
    • Word Of God says that the fuel was actually nanomachines that were supposed to repair the ship, and when they came in contact with Wikus, they "repaired" him and turned into a prawn.

  • So where, exactly was the Gauteng or South African government in all this? The issue of the aliens aside, governments tend not to like it when private international corporations building up their own private armies and run around doing whatever the hell they like on that government's soil. Even if they had contracts with MNU to build that stuff for them, I have real trouble believing that there wouldn't be regulations or inspectors or something to keep MNU from doing what it just did. If nothing else, why didn't someone from the government go "whoa up there cowboys, what's going on here?" when they found out that a private company with no loyalties to South Africa was doing something questionable with one of their human citizens? Or at least, why the hell did they put the guy who told them all that in prison?
    • You seemed to have missed one of the main points of the film. It was to warn people about the increased privatization of supposed government functions. Like Blackwater in Iraq. It was to illustrate how, given enough power and responsibilities, corporations will become more powerful than governments.
      • This doesn't explain why the South African government thought it would be a good idea to give MNU so much power and authority in the first place, much less why they would allow them to run rampant no questions asked. We see those guys abducting and detaining South African citizens without the authorities inquiring what's going on, and searching their private homes without a hint of at least the authorisation of a court (not to mention, slaughtering a slew of intelligent lifeforms). More so, MNU seems to instigate bounties on peoples' heads and broadcast them on national television, and have people arrested if they reveal information about the company's plain illegal activities. The South African government should have, at the very least, taken note of truly massive shootouts taking place between MNU, aliens and the Nigerian warlords and intervened, if only to show that... well... they still care about what's happening in their own country, even after 20 years. In fact, the only hint of intervention in the MNU's activitis for most of the film is United Nations expy threatening to write an Strongly Worded Letter... to a company. In other words, MNU is doing stuff that even most democratically elected governments wouldn't get away with, both domestically and internationally.

  • The thing that bugs me most of this movie, is how Wikus keeps pulling things off of his body. "Ooh, a fingernail came off, let me pull on all my other ones to see if it happens again. Ooh is that a tooth that fell out, well let me try to get some more! Hey is that my skin getting pushed by some weird growth? I wonder what will happen if I pull on it?
    • If you brushed your hair and got a clump for your trouble, wouldn't you try again just to be sure? Same thing here but more extreme. Wikus, especially at the start, is having trouble believing it's really happening.
      • Or maybe it was his newly acquired Prawn instinct in action. (Of course, we do not know why would Prawns have such an instinct to begin with.)

  • Wikus was half transformed in 72 hours. And Christopher said he'd come back in 3 years to treat him. That's way too long to think he could possibly restored by then. Why didn't Christopher just take Wikus with him, cure him, and bring him back when he went to rescue the rest of the aliens?
    • Too long by human standards. Unless Chris was lying, he could probably fix Wikus no matter how far gone. He also did seem to have it in his head to take Wikus with him.

  • The fact that the xeno ship arrived at Johannesburg, Africa, of all places. Yes, yes I know, it's one of the reasons this movie is so wonderful and original, cause all the other movies had aliens landing on Manhatten, whatever. The problem is, origianl doesn't always means sensible. Least we forget, the starship came to Earth on autopilot, that guided it to the nearest habitable planet, after whatever disaster killed the crew. Ok, than wouldn't it be reasonable for the autopilot to choose some decent place on that planet instead of the official hellhole? You know, like Europe, or the black earth belt of Russia, or, hell, the USA? And please don't tell me the autopilot couldn't do that or broke just before it could, have some mercy for my intelligence.
    • Did you just imply that Johannesburg, Africa was not a "decent" place?
    • Don't like your Euro-centrism being challenged too much, do you?
    • No kidding. Who's to say the ship's AI was even concerned about 'decent' as much as 'survivable' or even what the prawn's definition of decent is? Even our own cultures can't agree on what's a decent place to live; even just in America people can't agree on whether rural is more decent than city life and will argue that each is more convenient and more livable than the other. Nevermind people trying to agree if 'civilized' life is better than living in, say, a tribal society or nomadic, patriarchal or matriarchal, republic, democracy, socialist, anarchist, etc. Each culture will generally argue that their way of life is better than any other unless said culture doesn't adequately provide for their basic needs. And no, football, internet access, and indoor plumbing are not basic needs, and don't try to tell me that they are, have some mercy for my intelligence.
    • The ship's AI wouldn't be looking for which spot on a planet had the best wifi, or the nicest folks. It'd be looking for which spot had the right conditions for its passengers, such as temperature, atmosphere, certain minerals and elements, etc. South Africa simply happened to have the best environment for the prawns to touch down. Besides, if the ship's AI searched for that kind of thing, the prawns would've run into such crazy mishaps as landing on the sulfuric, volcanic moon of a gas giant, populated by the most decent species in the galaxy.
    • Climate? Perhaps the computer picked the area with the climate best suited to the prawns. And there's always the possibility that the computer picked a random inhabited place, and got Apartheidville by sheer bad luck.
    • Assume you arrive at earth from the south. What do you see first? Antarctica (ininhabitable), southermost part of South america (not much better), South Africa and maybe Australia. And *if* the ship could freely chose *and* know our political systems it would better not land in northern hemisphere, giving one of the largest factions too much power.
      • Look at a map, please. There's Australia and New Zealand and a good portion of Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil that's perfectly habitable(by humans) on the same level or below Johannesburg.
    • This does not require explanation at all. Why, in The War of the Worlds, do the aliens only invade England? This is equally arbitrary.
      • Aside from the possible climate reasons, perhaps the political climate had something to do with not landing anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere. Any unknown aircraft/spacecraft passing over North America, Europe, or Asia during the Cold War would have had so many anti-aircraft weaponry and nukes pointed at it. Perhaps if the ship's AI was capable of detecting those defenses, it went for a relatively populated area without as many threats around. It would by no means be out of range of the nukes, but it would be farther away.
      • That, and maybe the fact that South Africa was less industrialized than Europe or Noth America made it more suitable for an eventual terraforming (well, Prawnlandforming).
  • Come to think of it, that computer had enough juice in it to find the nearest habitable planet and guide the ship there, but not enough to send the distress signal home? Because if it had done so, where the hell was the rescue mission? Or were the xenoes back home totally fine with loosing a whole ship, even if they didn't give a damn about the drones aboard? Especially since, as a starfaring race, xenoes are bound to know that the only one habitable planet across many light years is inhabited by a moderately advanced race, that will certainly take interest in the sudden gift from the sky. Do my ideas that the prawns are an advance land force for the oncoming invasion actually have some ground under them?
    • All of that assumes several things. One, the AI is advanced enough to determine industrialism, rather than mere viability. Two, it can determine not only industrialism, but living conditions (as in standard of living) in the area. Three, that it could somehow gauge public reaction. It parked over a city. The fact that it did that much is impressive. As for sending a distress signal, look at the nav map Christopher pulls up. He zooms out to numerous galaxies. It's doubtful they could transmit a signal that far.
      • Wouldn't matter if they sent out a distress signal because the signal would have to travel the distance. Given that the Andromedra Galaxy (the closest to us) is 4 light years away, that'd be 4 years just for the signal to get there, another year (at least) for them to muster up a force or figure out what to do, and then a few more years to actually do it... and THEN they'd have to travel to Earth (at likely much less than light speed). Any sort of response to the alien's situation would be measured in decades at the very minimum.
      • First, it was stated that 20-30 years had passed since the Contact and second, Chris promised to return in three years, which places the xeno homeworld just 1.5 years of starship travel away from Earth (obviously the signal would've travelled much faster).
      • Unless their communication abilities are slower than their ability to travel. Maybe they don't have subspace transmission.
      • Perhaps the Prawns come from an arid planet, and Johannesburg's countryside just happened to be the closest approximation?
      • "Given that the Andromeda Galaxy (the closest to us) is 4 light years away," No no no. Alpha Centauri the star, is 4 light years away. The Andromeda Galaxy (which isn't the closest galaxy, the Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy holds that honor) is 2.5 million light years away.
      • Who knows if their communications system still works? Whatever happened o the ships crew could have disabled the communications system for interstellar fast news. Or it needs a "prawn" in the communications chair, is heavily encrypted, ...

  • Alien spaceship comes to Earth. Population is useless and cared about by nobody. Ship is left there, hanging in the air by means of a powerful antigravity system, powered by who knows what sort of reactor, or superadvanced battery. And the nation it's in, not to mention all of the world's superpowers, just... don't care. Here's a ship that could have all the solutions humanity would need to end the world's troubles, and it's just left there for two decades, with nobody bothering sending science teams in it and taking it apart bit by bit to try and figure out how it works. PERFECTLY BELIEVABLE!
    • Maybe they had trouble finding an engineer stupid enough to start dismantling random parts of an alien ship whose systems they couldn't even identify, while inside that ship, and while that ship is hovering a thousand feet in the air. That's basically the equivalent of expecting an 1800s wagon-wain to try to reverse engineer the engines of a Harrier while inside it and hovering.
      • and while the ship hangs directly over one of your largest cities, too. One mistake and you have the equivalent of several atomic bomb explosions at the ideal height for maximum damage...
    • You assume that no one is up there in the ship trying to reverse engineer it. We have been shown that humans are studying alien technology but have had little to no progress. Who's to say that is not the case with the ship as well? Maybe some engineers and scientists got an impromptu trip across the galaxy when CJ took off with them in the ship.

  • OK, something's just hit me. The Nigerians want to be like Wikus, right? And it was explained earlier that the Nigerians ran inter-species prostitution rackets. So how come the Nigerians didn't just get some prawn-lovin' and see what happens?
    • Who's to say they haven't tried? They've already tried eating them.
    • Interspecies prostitution is brought up early in the film. Given that Obesandjo repeatedly asks how Wikus came by his arm, they probably know the official line is crap and want the real reason.

  • What is going on with the depiction of Nigerians? Okay, I accept that there are probably psychopathic Nigerian gangsters who practise magic and cannibalism in the real world, but if the message of the movie was to condemn the apartheid's racism against blacks, why does it depict the majority of the black characters as shrieking, terrifying, demented villains?
    • Actually, Wikkus's friend at the start of the film is probably one of the most morally upstanding human characters in the film. He actually went onto the MNU computer database and exposed their horrific genetic research at the expense of being tossed in prison, and he was black.
    • Pretty much every human in the movie except Wikus and said friend is a "shrieking, terrifying, demented villain". Some of those humans happen to be black. Might as well accuse them of racism for making the white characters so evil.
    • Gangsters are typically violent and self-serving. Why would we expect them to be nice just because they are Nigerian and/or black? And as stated by the above tropers, no one who makes contact with the prawns is shown in a positive light, even Wikus who is our protagonist. The only exception was Wikus' replacement who happened to be black.
    • IMHO, black characters are shown in negative light to tell the audience that condemning the apartheid's racism is NOT the only message of the movie, i.e. the movie is not only an allegory of particular historical events but also a portrayal of the humanity in general.

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