District 9 is a new film coming out soon by Peter Jackson (of LOTR fame) & Neill Blomkamp that looks into the impact of an incredibly huge UFO that is stranded on Earth, forcing it's occupants to become the newest refugees in the city below. The newly arrived aliens are not exactly greeted with welcome arms and they must eek out a living while being treated as unwelcome second-class citizens. Tensions are high on both sides as the aliens face discrimination in a thinly veiled plot line dealing with racial inequality. By now you're likely thinking "Uh, wait a minute.... aren't you describing the terrific Alien Nation from the 80's?" Well, yeah, but substitute Johanessburg, South Africa, for Los Angeles & giant insect looking aliens for the close-to-human aliens of Nation and you've got District 9. I guess the guys had a bunch of resources available to them after the aborted Halo movie project and they decided to take advantage of them. OK, now that we got that out of the way, District 9 is really a big-budget version of Alive in Joburg, a short film by Blomkap in 2005 that is virtually the same story. Now you could argue that Alive in Joburg is then the child of Alien Nation but there are some notable differences in the two works. The biggest item is that Los Angeles was capable of absorbing a new community within itself while in Johannesburg natural resources are already scarce to begin with. If you can't afford to feed your own family, you won't exactly be happy about a new group of people to compete with. Alive also introduced a different aspect of the story by having multiple UFOs come to Earth with those UFOs remaining hovering over the city instead of the single ship that that crashed in Nation. Not only are the ships still hovering over the city but they have tethers coming out of them that are anchored deep in the ground. What is their purpose? Are they stealing what precious little resources there are in South Africa? Nation is first & foremost a cop movie, the story of a detective having to overcome his own bias whereas Alive is shot in a documentary style. They may both tell a similar story but Nation explores racial tension as a backdrop while racial tension is the story told in Alive with no pretense. Alive may be stark but it may be even more telling of our society that UFOs & aliens are needed to get people to pay attention to the story being told.