District 9 (2009) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Science Fiction
Sony || R - 112 minutes - $39.95 || December 22, 2009
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2009-12-29


Buy this DVD from Amazon.com!
.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Neill Blomkamp
Writer(s): Neill Blomkamp & Terri Tatchell (screenplay)
Cast: Sharlto Copley, Vanessa Haywood, Mandla Gaduka


Theatrical Release Date: August 14, 2009


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • Deleted Scenes
  • 5 Featurettes
  • BD-Live
  • Digital Copy


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Hindi

Comment on this and other movies on the message board!


.::THE FILM::.

In 1982, a massive star ship bearing a bedraggled alien population, nicknamed "The Prawns," appeared over Johannesburg, South Africa. Twenty-eight years later, the initial welcome by the human population has faded. The refugee camp where the aliens were located has deteriorated into a militarized ghetto called District 9, where they are confined and exploited in squalor.

In 2010, the munitions corporation, Multi-National United, is contracted to forcibly evict the population with operative Wikus van der Merwe in charge. In this operation, Wikus is exposed to a strange alien chemical and must rely on the help of his only two new 'Prawn' friends.

The first thing that comes to mind is - "Damn. Am I actually watching a movie that shows America's putting Aliens into refugee camps?" Yes, yes I am. The second thought was "Oh, cute. They live by our rules and we can even understand them?". And the third "Wait, this is a little bit racist!".

The first part of the film starts off very much like a documentary looking back at what happened. Not only do we get a peak at where it all began, but a look at how Wikus changed from a shy, geeky guy into a totally different person. The problem here is that Wikus comes off as being so annoying and comical for a good part of the film that by the time where he starts to become a bad ass and go through, uhh, changes, we're still left with the taste in our mouths of how much of a loser he was just days beforehand.

The film takes a dramatic shift in tone 45 minutes into it - what was once a comical romp now turns into a full-blown action film. Thankfully I was able to adjust to the dramatic shift but I can see how it might put off some people. As I already mentioned above, Wikus is a completely different person. If you had fallen asleep for an hour and woke up, you would think you were watching a totally different film.

One of the greatest things about the film is the Prawn's themselves. This is some of the best CGI I have ever seen. They not only look very detailed, but when put next to humans, you can't even tell they are CGI. They blend in so well, and show so much emotion in their faces, you would think these are the real deal.

I'll be honest, the ending pissed me off. Not just pissed me off, but made me furious. Without giving it away, the film ends at a point where you think there is good 10-15 minutes left (and in fact, there is - it's just very long credits). A sequel seems almost like a given at this point given its decent box office, but who knows when Jackson will get around to it. As it stands, I can imagine viewers being a bit frustrated.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Sony has included an Embossed Slip Cover for this release. All features are presented in HD.

Let's get the BD-Live stuff out of the way first:
MovieIQ - If selected, while watching the film, you can pull up IMDB info. CineChat - Oh boy... chat with your friends while watching. Obviously both **Blu-ray Exclusives**


Johannesburg from Above - An 'interactive' map. Personally, these type of things serve no interest to me. **Blu-ray Exclusive**
Commentary with Neill Blomkamp

Deleted Scenes (23 Minutes) - A total of 23 Deleted Scenes are included here, and most of them are just additional MNU/Alien discussions. Some are simply alternate takes (complete with a human in a suit standing in before CGI work is done). Nothing here really stood out at me as must see.

The Alien Agenda: Filmmakers Log (35 Minutes) - Split into three parts, this tells you just about everything possible about the film. Part One is mainly Pre-production, Part Two (the best) deals with how Jackson shot the film, choosing a location while Part Three is editing and CGI.

Featurettes: (46 Minutes)
- Metamorphosis
- Innovation
- Conception and Design
- Alien Generation
- - It's seems some of this is already covered in the above 'Filmmakers Log', but these smaller, easier-to-digest featurettes focus on Wikus' transformation, how District 9 was created and the most interesting special effects.

Also a first for Blu-ray is the inclusion of a God of War III PS3 Demo (on the actual Blu-ray disc). So if you have a PS3, enjoy. Plus there is a Digital Copy (PSP/iPod) ** Blu-ray Exclusives **



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

District 9 is presented in 1.85:1 (MPEG4) on a 50GB Disc. Nearly everything about this encode is perfect - the CGI 'prawns' look real, the shanty-town of District 9 is very detailed and the the blood and guts come alive. Some mild grain is present and obviously there is a shift in picture quality when the film changes every once and a while to include documentary-type scenes that are meant to mirror that of carious TV news programs. This is probably one of the finest looking Blu-rays Sony has produced this year.

Sony has included an English 5.1 DTS MA Track for this release. Mirroring the picture quality: top notch. Dialog is perfectly crisp (both from an English and Alien standpoint) and when the film becomes more action-oriented half-way through, you'll enjoy explosions, gun shots, mech-walking and the space craft taking off.



.::OVERALL::.

District 9 is a great Sci-Fi film that takes the genre and flips it on its head. No longer are we fearing the Aliens, but they fear us. We've taken them prisoner. Sure, they might have found a way to escape...but we're still very much in control. At times, it becomes a bit too much like Starship Troopers (silly humor), but overall I loved just about every minute of it. The Blu-ray packs very impressive audio and video along with a ton of features. Pick it up!