4 September 2009

Prawn Basterds

Filed under: Movies — ktismatics @ 1:23 pm

*SPOILER ALERTS*  The Jews’ spaceship stalls in the airspace just above Warsaw. When it becomes apparent that the ship is no longer capable of transporting the Jews back to their Promised Land, the humans move the Jews, whom they disdainfully refer to as Prawns, into a big ghetto called The District. To accommodate rapid population increases among the Prawns, many more Districts are established throughout Europe. The Jews start to escape from the Districts, disguising themselves as humans by eating non-kosher food and learning to speak European languages. The Nazis decide they’ve had enough: they start implementing the Ultimate Solution to resolve “the Prawn problem.” Prawn Hunters scour the countryside rounding up the renegades.

Brad Pitt is a Nazi. One day, while clearing all the Jews from District 9 and sending them to “resettlement camps,” Brad comes across a secret moyel hideout and, while inspecting the “weapons,” accidentally circumcises himself. Brad considers cutting off the offending member but can’t make himself do it. Pretty soon the “infection” starts to spread: horrified, Brad finds himself gradually transforming from human into Jew. After awhile, though, he realizes that he kind of likes his new Jewishness. Pocketing the moyel’s knife, Brad starts roaming the countryside killing Nazis. The ones he lets go he circumcises.

Eventually Brad joins up with a ragtag group of American Jews. Together they form a vigilante posse known as the Prawn Basterds. One day they come across a Jew in hiding who has figured out a way to get the Jewish spaceship, still stalled over Warsaw, operational again. It turns out that the ship’s movie projector somehow jettisoned the fourth reel, which fell into a Warsaw junk heap where it was torn to bits by scavengers. Without the fourth reel, which contains all the footage describing the return voyage, the ship came to a standstill. Word reaches Brad that Louie B. Mayer and David O. Selsnick have painstakingly reconstructed the lost footage. The Prawn Basterds undertake the perilous voyage to Hollywood, where they secure the precious fourth reel remake. They head back to Europe.

fire girlBy the time they reach Warsaw the legendary Prawn Basterds have been decimated, leaving only Brad and one Jew, whose name is CHRISTopher, to fulfill the mission. The two of them become trapped in a movie theater with hundreds of Nazis, including Goebbels, Goering, Himmler, and Hitler. Brad, who is able to use his prawnized member to operate a super-sophisticated Jewish weapon, burns the theater to the ground, killing everyone in the theater, regrettably including CHRISTopher. Somehow Brad manages to escape; he recedes heartbroken into the war-torn Warsaw squalor.

Three days later, Brad casts his eyes skyward in astonishment to watch CHRISTopher miraculously rising from the smouldering pile of rubble. He carries under his arm the canister containing the Fourth Reel, which somehow survived the theatrical holocaust. He ascends bodily to the space ship, puts the reel into the projector, turns it on, and sits down at the controls. Brad, awestruck, watches the great airship rumble to life and veer off toward the southeast. Is CHRISTopher escaping, or will he return with a rescue party to ferry the rest of the Prawns home? The movie ends well-positioned for a sequel.

I hope I didn’t leave anything out…



  1. There are a lot of Jews in your reading. I can’t see why you fundamentally see the “prawns” as Jews (though one can make comparisons). Did it evade you that District 9 took place in South Africa? Or is it satricially best to see them as Jews?


    Comment by kvond — 4 September 2009 @ 4:05 pm

  2. Last night I saw BOTH District 9 AND the new Tarantino movie. By the time I got out of the theater at half past midnight the two movies were merging into this unspeakable hybrid. Did you like District 9, kvond?


    Comment by john doyle — 4 September 2009 @ 6:51 pm

  3. Is all that emphasis on penile mutilation supposed to make it romantic but unsensual, but still within the confines of Leviticus? As such, it’s anti-Semitic, isn’t it, or is this a kind of American sterlization that’s being satirized and/or demonstrated? Then there are the “booming sounds of the preview” of the, obviously, Spielberg movie, with the spaceship, etc., and ponderous awesome surfaces taking some sort of loud bombastic emotions. Good piece, though, because like an ‘exercise in castration’ and does evoke current Hollywood types, who are mostly pretty clipped themselves.


    Comment by Tony — 7 September 2009 @ 8:11 am

  4. Should there be an antisemitic reading of Inglourious Basterds, where the apparently Gentile redneck is in charge of the Jewish vigilantes? The American-Jewish conspiracy theorists are lampooned, not through denial but through exaggerated parody. Does it work, or is it just a pretext for Tarantino to display in a socially acceptable way his sexed-up violence? Should there be an antiblack reading of District 9, where the white apartheid enforcer is the hero? Anyhow, my little hybrid piece was just a bit of a goof, writing what came to mind having seen these two movies back-to-back.

    In District 9 the human grows an alien arm which runs the alien weaponry, while in the Tarantino’s movie the Jewish vigilantes carve swastikas into the Nazis’ foreheads, so I merged those two into a foreskin removal trope. While the implication is that the aliens (blacks) are potentially more powerful than the humans (whites), there’s a biological difference between the races that’s implicitly racist. The human propagandists imply that the hero’s transformation into an alien came about through miscegenation, which the hero insists is not the case: sex with the aliens is unthinkable. Nonetheless, it is the biofluids of the aliens that effect the transformation. But there is no middle ground: the hero is either human or alien, but his hybrid status is temporary. There may be a big and permanent apartheid when the mothership returns to take the aliens away. But there’s an implicit racial paranoia that the aliens will come back to take over the earthlings. Interesting premises laid out in this movie, even if it does devolve into a fairly traditional buddies-on-a-mission story.


    Comment by john doyle — 7 September 2009 @ 10:57 am

  5. Yay! I was riveted. But where are Anne Frank, Primo Levi and Shaft? We gotta get guns and posses for them and pump up the ultra-violence.


    Comment by Carl — 7 September 2009 @ 9:14 pm

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