District 9 – Blu Ray Review
District 9 is based on Neill Blomkamp’s short Alive in Joburg. Blomkamp was also responsible for the independantly produced Halo based short. I’ve posted both shorts below.
Synopsis: 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 Film: After getting dropped for the Halo feature, Blomkamp went on to fully realize his short “Alive in Joburg” with the help of Peter Jackson. The film starts in a documentary style as events unfold with reluctant hero Wikus Van der Merwe training a rookie agent on a routine eviction campaign. Blomkamp directs this film masterfully switching frequently from moving camera to controlled camera styles when needed. Altough some may find the story a little dry in the beginning, stick with it, as Blomkamp is creating a bond between you and the character played by Sharlto Copley (Murdock in the upcoming A Team movie). Once in the second and third act, the film doesn’t let go as Wikus finds himself fighting for his life and humanity.
The Prawn are also beautifully presented and look like they have a very japanese influence in their design (see artists like Takeyuki Takeya and Yasushi Nirasawa). Their movement is fluid and believable, exhibiting very lifelike and realistic responses to everything around them. District 9 is a fantastic film that should be seen at least once!
The Blu Ray: Because of the styling, there is a fluctuation in video quality throughout the film, but when it’s sharp, it’s very sharp. The picture is stunning at a full 1080P. There was a shot where you could count the grains in a wooden gun stalk. The Prawns were even more lifelike if you can imagine that. The audio is equally impressive if you have the system to take full advantage of it, but still sounds great on a 2 speaker system. The extras are quite good and all in HD. The documentaries run almost an hour and a half and are quite informative, with little repetition. There’s about 20 mintutes worth of deleted or extended scenes which aren’t really necessary, but interesting nonetheless. Audio commentary, production book, and a few other extras round off this disc, making it a very worthwhile purchase. It also includes a God of War 3 demo if you have a Playstation 3.
District 9 is an easy recommendation, buy it now!
The original short by Neill Blomkamp called Alive in Joburg. Worth the watch if you haven’t seen it.
What many thought to be a short or promo for a Halo movie was actually done as an advertising tool for Halo 3′s release. It definately gives us a glimpse into what a Halo movie might look like with the talents of Blomkamp, Jackson, and Weta Studios working on it. I still can’t get over how freakin’ good this looks!