District 9 (2009) - Two-Disc Edition

Genre(s): Science Fiction
Sony || R - 112 minutes - $36.95 || December 22, 2009
Reviewer: Tyler Thomas || Posted On: 2009-12-29


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.:: 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

.:: 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


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French

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.::THE FILM::.

Iím trying to figure out what went wrong with District 9. Iíve taken into consideration the fact that nearly everyone whoís seen it has told me how much they liked it. Iíve taken into consideration the fact that normally I hate everything everyone likes. Iíve even taken into consideration the fact that Iíve been on a hating streak of movies as of late. Then I figured out that District 9 is just an overrated film that received so much attention for no real reason. Yeah, in case you havenít guessed it by now, I found the film to be rather boring and unoriginal.

Wikus (Sharlto Copley) is an agent for the government who goes around to random alien camps to make sure nothing shady is going on. Oh, I forgot to mention, this movie takes place with a giant spaceship hovering over Earth and aliens are alive on the planet too. The aliens though are treated like crap and thrown into camps run by thieves and vigilantes, and are pretty much forbidden to do anything they want to. Go human civilization go. While rummaging through an aliens house, he inadvertently finds a device and gets sprayed by alien ooze. He becomes violently ill, and is taken to his house where heís greeted by his wife Tania (Vanessa Haywood) and his coworkers on a job well done.

However, Wikus is still violently ill and passed out at his party. He is taken to the hospital where the doctors examine his arm only to find out that he is infected and is slowly turning into one of the aliens. He has a claw for a left arm now, and while the doctors try to sedate him his wife screams and asks whatís wrong with her husband. Wikus is taken to a facility for examination, and Nicolas (Johan Van Schoor) decides to kill Wikus and use his body for experimentation. Wikus, upset by the news, kills a few of the doctors and escapes the clinic. He runs away only to find that he has become an outcast of society and the government made up a fake story about him having intercourse with an alien, hence why heís grown an alien arm. On the run from the government, he turns to the one place where he can go: the alienís home where he was infected. Can Wikus return to his human form or is he stuck being one of which he hunted for so long?

This movie is about twenty-five minutes too long for people to enjoy. The science fiction part of the movie isnít anywhere near as cool as it should be, mainly because the aliens look like rip-offs from a famous Michael Jackson video with their crappy attire. I was really disappointed with the CGI effects of the movie and also the special effects used for the guns overall, as they just looked B-movie like and didnít do anything for me in terms of enjoyment or a ďwowĒ factor at all. The acting was also really sub-par for a film with absolutely no known actors or actresses in it, and when you center the film around an actor no one has heard of in the states here itís really hard to develop a relationship with the character while you are watching the flick.

Speaking of which, Wikus is one of the worst main characters Iíve seen as of late in films. His character is so cut-and-dry cardboard that it hurt me every time he tried to talk. The character is so mundane that I just couldnít care if he lived or died in the next few minutes, all I know is that I wanted the movie to end right away. The story about Wikus hating aliens, then becoming one, and then trying to help them escape from their planet has been done so many times before that this flick is absolutely nothing more than a re-hash of other older flicks. Whereís the originality I was promised? Whereís the ďthis is such a great movie Tyler, you have to see itĒ remarks at now?

The story is weak, the character is lame, and the special effects are a snooze-fest. This film has set the science fiction world back, and if the upcoming sequel/prequel thatís set for a 2011 or later date is any indication, odds are itís going to be as bad as this one. Sadly though, everyone else will like it except me. But then again, I have taste, and if you do, avoid this one.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

DISC ONE

Commentary with Neill Blomkamp: The director takes center stage for this commentary, mainly due to the fact heís the only one on it. Heís quite insightful for the entire duration of the track, so if you have the free time and want to hear more about the back story as well as the ideas that went into the movie then by all means listen to this.

Deleted Scenes (23 minutes): Some of these are actually entertaining, but the majority tends to fall flat and due to the sheer number I recommend passing on them. Some are scenes cut from the movie, while others are just the lame interviews that plague the film throughout.

The Alien Agenda (34 minutes): This is split-up into three separate parts, and in all honesty, each part is worth watching despite the fact I loathed the movie. Itís basically a half-hour long documentary about the movie, so if you enjoyed or didnít enjoy the film either way I still recommend watching this lengthy feature.

DISC TWO

The Transformation of Wikus (10 minutes): One of my favorite features available on this packed DVD is right here. This deals with the making-of for the character of Wikus from the movie as they show how he went from human to alien.

The Acting and Improvisation of District 9 (12 minutes): I found this to be rather boring, as this briefly shows what goes into coaching extra characters on what to do and the trouble with some scenes that were shot during the movie.

Creating the World of District 9 (13 minutes): In another obvious extra for the disc, the world of the film is analyzed and shown how some of the film was made. Itís a neat extra but I wish it was a little longer, as the movie as done with a ton of special effects and we donít get a lot of that here in this feature.

The Visual Effects of District 9 (10 minutes): Now this is what Iím talking about. This awesome extra takes a look at (believe it or not) the visual effects that are in the movie, and is definitely worth a viewing when you get the chance. Seeing how the characters (aliens) were made in the movie is incredibly cool, so I suggest watching this right away.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

The transfer for a new release should be pristine and done properly, but here we get a transfer thatís somewhat lackluster instead of perfect. I understand that the film itself is a dreary title and that the transfer shouldnít be colorful and bright. The problem lies within the fact that whites are slightly overblown and colors are a bit washed out. That and the fact that I found multiple scenes with noise and grain in them made my eyes hurt just a smidgen. The transfer isnít off-the-wall terrible although it could have had more work done to it to make this film be a little better for people who spend their hard-earned money expecting some major work done.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is a letdown on all levels. Surround usage for the most part is minimal at best, as even during the few action sequences of the movie I struggled to hear noise from the surround speakers. When I did hear them though they sounded phenomenal, but once again that was only a few times throughout. Dialogue had very little ďoomphĒ to it, as I only recall my sub turning on when the action sequences started such as a gun going off. Thereís way too much dialogue in this track, and itís light at best, so some points had to be knocked off because of that. This isnít really a terrible track though, just one that needed some bumping in a few categories to be better.



.::OVERALL::.

District 9 has some amazing special features, but the movie blows. The story is, well, for lack of a better term, stupid, and the characters (all three that matter) I couldnít care about the entire time I watched the movie. The technical package is decent though, and the two-disc edition is worth a rental for fans of the movie and to all others you may want to stay away from this district completely. Sorry aliens, you just arenít worth the money these days.