One of the most provocative and original films of 2009 is also one of the best! "DISTRICT 9" has been released on blu-ray, and shouldn't be missed. Peter Jackson produced the 1st mainstream directorial effort by Neill Blomkamp, and judging from what he's done here, one hopes for many more ambitious products from such a talented helmer.
The plot suggests a damaged alien spaceship has been hovering over Johannesburg, South Africa for 30 years. After months pass, without any contact between the alien ship and Earth, an earth crew is dispatched to break into the hull of the giant ship, wherein almost 2 million sick aliens are found. All of them are transported to swiftly built, unhealthy, overpopulated makeshift campsites, resembling the worst parts of Soweto during Apartheid. The political allegory runs deep throughout the film, and no one is left unscathed. Along with a huge corporate entity practicing Mengele-like experiments upon the alien population with the hopes of understanding how to utilize their weapons for record-breaking military sales applications, are the Nigerians seeking to exploit and kill the aliens based on vices such as prostitution with beautiful Nigerian camp hookers, and the Nigerian beliefs in using alien body parts in their stew!
The semi-documentary approach taken during the first 20 minutes of the film can be jarring and misleading. While the hand-held camera echoes the headache-inducing moments of "THE KINGDOM" and "BLAIR WITCH PROJECT," what's happening here is served better than those other films' were due to the process. The audience picks up a lot of important information about the main characters and the aliens' situation, along with some important clues helpful later in the film, during these moments. After the early documentary approach is finished, the narrative plot picks up speed with intensity and great imagery, as the main antagonist becomes the protagonist and "DISTRICT 9" sucks in its audience. Combining great special effects with skillful editing and direction serves the film well, but the script is also terrific. Various things happen during the latter part of the film, requiring the audience to assume things from various cues. "DISTRICT 9" never patronizes its audience. In fact, it expects they're very intelligent, and the film's power is due to this mutual respect.
SONY has provided the correct 1.85:1 aspect ratio for this AVC MPEG-4 1080p blu-ray. It's definitely the kind of image one will want to use in demonstrating the capabilities of their home theater system. Transferred from a HD Digital camera, every scene looks magnificent! Colors are vibrant throughout after the intentional documentary-approach of the beginning. Detail is also amazing, allowing the transition scenes from the alien compound to the high-tech industrial weapons facility offer even more impact. The facial imperfections of humans along with the most minute details of the alien design, are on display with stunning detail. Contrast is also excellent. "DISTRICT 9" is one more example of what SONY typically presents with their best blu-ray presentations.
SONY has provided a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. From beginning to end, the audience is immersed within an aggressive mix. Even within the plethora of gunshots, explosions, high-speed chases and more effects, all-important dialogue is perfectly intelligible. As the film's narrative moves along, the engaging mix becomes even more creative and enthralling. Another rousing mix from SONY!
Plenty of extras here, including a great commentary track with Blomkamp. It's the kind of commentary any fan of the film should enjoy. Blomkamp is amiable, and there's plenty of insight regarding virtually every aspect of the film, as well as his high regard and relationship for the film's star and his previous short film's connection to this one.
"ALIEN AGENDA" is a three part featurette, running over 30 minutes, exploring the challenges of the production as well as the film's effects and score.(1080i)
Other aspects of the film are also presented in 1080 featurettes, and all are worth exploring.
The deleted scenes segment offers 22 deleted scenes, in full 1080p and running over 20 minutes. 1080p trailers for upcoming blu-ray releases, and various BD-LIVE extras are also available along with a digital copy of the film and one for computer or portable device playback.