Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope, Nathalie Boltt, Sylvaine Strike
Directed by Neill Blomkamp
Distributed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
We’ve seen all types of invasion films over the last few decades. Friendly aliens. Killer aliens. Illegal aliens. You name it. But have you ever stopped to wonder what would happen if extraterrestrials really ended up here either on purpose or by accident? I’m thinking it would be absolute chaos, and Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 handles this material in as realistic a way as possible.
The story is sad and simple: An alien space craft breaks down over our planet with no ability to get itself and its occupants back home. Of course we end up boarding the ship just to see what the deal is. On it a group of aliens are huddled together. Scared, cold, alone, and hungry. Said creatures are soon extracted, rounded up, segregated from us, and placed into shanty-ridden refuge camps. They’re constantly monitored, sometimes tortured, but always looked down upon by the human race despite their overwhelming leaps in technology over us. It’s then that we meet Wickus (Sharlto Copley), a company man just following orders no matter what the consequences for our unearthly visitors.
It seems that the people of Johannesburg, South Africa, no longer wish said alien infested slums so close to their homes, so the government has decide to evict the poor creatures and move them to a facility much farther away … and just about guaranteed to be a lot worse. It’s Wickus’ duty to serve these eviction notices, but things don’t go exactly as planned, and before you know it, Mr. Company Man becomes infected with some form of alien virus that begins to transform him into one of them. As if things can’t get any worse, Wickus is now being pursued by the very company he’s served, and the only place he can turn for help, both shelter and medical, is the aliens’ camp.
From there District 9 simply explodes. There are sequences and set-pieces within this movie that are nothing short of breathtaking. Mixing high octane action scenes with social consciousness can be one hell of a tightrope to walk in terms of garnering success, but with Peter Jackson backing super-talented new director Blomkamp, the material is handled expertly and with a truly steady hand. You’ll clap, you’ll shout, but most of all you’ll think and wonder exactly who the real monsters are here. Simply put, this film is incredible, and Sony has given it the treatment it deserves for its home video release.
The DVD’s picture and sound quality will do just fine, but if you have the tech at your disposal, there’s no question that Blu-ray is the way to go with this flick. It’s tailor-made for it! Every single square inch of your (hopefully) high definition TV will be popping with activity, clarity, depth, and detail. Colors are vibrant, blacks are dreamily deep, and everything comes across looking razor sharp. In fact, this could very well be one of the best looking Blu-rays of the entire year. As for the sound? It may even be better than the video … if that’s even possible. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack will have your speakers working overtime, and the immersion this soundscape offers is as perfect as it gets. Bravo.
And what of the special features? There are three different ways you can get your hands on District 9. The single-disc DVD is home to a rock solid and enjoyable director’s commentary, a whopping twenty-two deleted scenes, and the near thirty-five minute The Alien Agenda: A Filmmaker’s Log three-part documentary. The two-disc DVD edition comes with all of that along with four more featurettes covering everything that they should (see their titles below; they’re all good and pretty much self-explanatory), and the Blu-ray comes with all of that and a few other really cool bells and whistles.
Of course there’s Sony’s exclusive online features like MovieIQ, which treats you to all manner of behind-the-scenes info, etc., while watching the film, and Cinechat, which allows you to engage in real time chat with other viewers while watching; but the star of this exclusive show is without question Joburg From Above: Satellite and Schematics of the World of District 9. You want wow? This is wow. This ingenious interactive map allows viewers to navigate around each location seen in the film — you can check out the mothership, visit MNU Headquarters, and of course poke around those nasty slums, all the while learning about each and every one. Simply put, it’s all here! Character backgrounds. Text biographies. Concept drawings. In-depth looks at alien biology. Not to mention the first of its kind demo of the PlayStation 3 game God of War III. If you’re a fan, you’ll be sifting through this near overwhelming amount of content for some time to come. That’s a guarantee.
This, my friends, is what we call a winner. A winner in every shape of the word. Don’t hesitate. This is one package that needs to be on your shelves and in your home video libraries ASAP. Get it. Love it. Watch it again, and again, and again. You won’t be sorry!
Single-Disc DVD Special Features
Double-Disc DVD Special Features
Blu-ray Special Features
4 1/2 out of 5
5 out of 5
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