District 9

Rated 4.0

South African director Neill Blomkamp’s sci-fi/action film has so much originality, visual imagination, and Robocop-style techno-splatter, you can just about overlook its numerous deficiencies. On a relatively low budget, Blomkamp creates a present-tense Earth in which aliens arrived, but were quickly shuttled into barbed-wire refugee camps. A goofy policy wonk (Sharlto Copley, very game) assigned to move the “Prawn” (a pejorative term referring both to their crustacean appearance and their status as society’s bottom-feeders) to an even more wretched location is exposed to something that makes him the target of corporate fascists, Nigerian gangsters and the mysterious Prawn. It’s too uneven and juvenile to deliver on its ambitions, and could easily be 20 minutes shorter (a dozen fewer shots of CGI goo hitting the lens would have sufficed), but it’s ultimately too blazingly unique to not recommend.