August 24, 2009 12:00 PM

Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope | R

CRITIC’S CHOICE

SCI-FI

Attention, smart movie shoppers: Get two for the price of one—a clever political film and a kick-ass sci-fi thriller. In District 9 the two concepts mesh with splendid success. When their spaceship stalls over Johannesburg, towering, crustacean-like aliens—dismissively labeled “prawns” by local humans—are rescued but then fenced into a squalid shantytown. An obvious analogy to apartheid, 9 shows how the prejudices of one man (Copley) change—it’s Alien Like Me—after a virus begins to transform him into an alien. Overflowing with action, cool special effects and even a Transformers-like robot scene at the end, this unexpected summer treat (produced by Lord of the Rings’ Peter Jackson) is not to be missed.

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