District 9

Featured In Issue 145, December 2009

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
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Bloody violcene and pervasive language
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Color With B/W Sequences
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A, B & C
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Neill Blomkamp
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DTS HD Lossless 5.1
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District 9 is a story about a world where aliens have landed—only to be exiled to a slum on the fringes of Johannesburg, South Africa. One lone human discovers the mysterious secret of the extraterrestrial weapon technology. Hunted and hounded through the bizarre back alleys of an alien shantytown, he will discover what it means to be the ultimate outsider on your own planet. (Gary Reber)

Special features include commentary with Director/Co-Writer Neill Blomkamp; "Joburg From Above": an interactive map of satellite and schematics of the World of District 9; 22 deleted scenes (HD 23:28); The Alien Agenda: A Filmmakers' Log in three chapters (HD 34:19); Metamorphosis: The Transformation of Wikus (HD 09:52); Innovation: The Acting And Improvisation (HD 12:05); Conception And Design: Creating The World Of District 9 (HD 13:18); Alien Generation: The Visual Effects (HD 10:18); a playable PlayStation®3 demo of God Of War III, which unlocks an exclusive Making Of God Of War III; five previews; BD-Live functionality; plus a digital copy of the movie.

The 1.85:1 1080p AVC picture was shot digitally with the Red One high-definition digital camera. The character of the movie is that of a documentary. Fast-moving, hand-held camera movements are prevalent throughout. Fleshtones appear to be desaturated, as does much of the color scheme. Nothing about the color is accurate or natural, as the entire visual effect is that of a documentary. Some scenes approach a natural visual rendering, but these are intermittent and occur as the story progresses. The imagery is rough and perfectly depicts an almost post-apocalyptic setting in District 9. Resolution is generally good, with sharp and clear imagery, though, suddenly the picture can soften and become unrefined. As the movie progresses, the visuals become more stable and cinematic. As the alien ship departs earth, the interior visuals are spectacular, with deep blacks and excellent shadow delineation. This is a very inconsistent visual experience and unusually different in its portrayal of a human and alien encounter. While unusual visually, there is every indication that the stylization is exactly what the filmmakers envisioned. Very creative. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is dialogue focused, with a forward presence due to close-miking. The dialogue is perfectly intelligible, except for the alien dialogue. The dialogue is also directionalized across the soundstage, and often off-camera dialogue is heard from the directionalized surround channels. The sound imagery is very realistic, as one would expect in a documentary. Atmospheric sound effects punctuate the soundfield, across the soundstage, and throughout the directionalized surround hemisphere. The surround energy, at times, is very aggressive, with pronounced sound effects and deep bass extension in all channels, particularly below 25 Hz in the .1 LFE channel. There is a limited music score that is very subdued during half the movie, but as the story unfolds, the music intensifies to underscore the action. The action really intensifies toward the end, with system-threatening bass and intense gunfire prevalent throughout the directionalized soundfield. The result is an exciting sonic experience that will blow the roof off your viewing environment, that is if your sound system is capable of reproducing the intense dynamics and SPL. (Gary Reber)