District 9 DVD: Review By Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

Right now Avatar is all the rage but District 9 bests it in the area that matters most... solid storytelling.
  • OVERALL
    4.5
    SUPERB
  • Feature
  • Picture
  • Sound
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
THE GOOD
This solid movie is destined to be a DVD favorite for years to come.
THE BAD
The DVD images seemed a little too baked in parts.
THE FEATURE
Wikus (Sharlto Copley) is your garden variety, middle management stooge. He works for the government and he's been put in charge of evicting a group of aliens (derisively called "prawns" because they resemble that sea dwelling animal) who have landed on earth. They live in a slum area of Johannesburg, South Africa and the country wants them out. Wikus goes into that area and is so annoying as he leads the mission, one can't help but wish for his early demise. This almost happens as Wikus gets exposed to the aliens biotechnology and suddenly becomes one of the beings that he is trying to rid his country of. With the government after him, Wikus is changing quickly and all he wants to do is get back to normal and figure out a way to be with the woman he loves. Numerous battles of epic proportions ensue, but what really sells this film is how we as viewers come to start rooting for this character. Eventually, he joins forces with the aliens and as the movie ends that is actually where it begins.

In the end District 9 works because it plays politics but it isn't overt in how this is done. This movie is an action film, mixed with comedy, mixed with a solid story that doesn't make the mistake of trying to overly humanize all the characters.
THE EXTRAS
Director's Commentary

Neill Blomkamp sits back and talks about making this film. He discusses setting up the shots, the logistics of pulling off the effects that we see at work here, and what it was like with a cast of unknowns when he was essentially one himself. He seems likable enough and I got the sense from this track that he was pretty genuine. I really liked hearing about how he pre-visualized a lot of the shots. There was a great deal of preproduction work that went into pulling off the look of this film and all of that appears like it was used to good effect.

Deleted Scenes

The Alien Agenda: A Filmmaker's Log

If you are short on time then I would highly suggest watching this three part doc*mentary on the making of this film. It has a rich quality to it that takes the viewer on the journey that Blomkamp went on in order to make this film. We get to see how the effects were tested, how the actors got involved and how the screenplay was worked on in order to make this movie achieve the look that it did. Sure, it covers much of the same ground as the commentary track, but if you are short on time I think that this section gets the job done a little better.
THE VIDEO
1.85:1 - Widescreen. I was somewhat disappointed by how dark this movie looked on standard DVD. To be honest I feel that there are movies that should only be on DVD. I also feel that there are movies that should only be on Blu-ray disc. This is one of those movies that I think would probably play better on Blu-ray as it would have more space to breath. There is so much happening visually that compressing that down can only do the film a disservice. Director of Photography Trent Opaloch has done a very fine job of giving this movie a war torn, gritty look, but also leaving enough room for the effects to be able to present themselves.
THE AUDIO
Dolby Digital. English, French 5.1 - Dolby Digital. Subtitled in English and French. Close Captioned. The audio on this release was solid. I didn't watch this movie on my HDTV but rather on my 13" television set. I feel that this standard DVD retained a lot of the bigness, audio-wise, that this movie had when I watched it in the theater. Also, the soundtrack to this movie really gives District 9 an almost epic feel.
THE PACKAGE
The main spaceship in the film hovers over the Johannesburg slum that the aliens reside in. The back cover features 4 shots from this film, two of which showcase the aforementioned aliens. There is a description of what this movie is about, a Special Features listing, a cast list and technical specs.
THE FINAL WORD
I will be the first to admit that when I first heard about District 9 I was dubious. I was interested in seeing the film but then I watched a trailer where the Wikus character (or someone) is trying to interview the aliens. This film looked terrible and I quickly gave up on it. Then, the folks at MovieWeb took me to see it for my birthday, and I was quickly proved wrong.

Mixing elements of the U.S. and it's policies on immigration and "illegal aliens," South Africa and their own dark history with apartheid, a military machine gone out of control, and a lot science fiction, it isn't surprising that District 9 caught fire in the way that it did. Also, when you factor in how amazing the effects look, this movie had a lot going for it and since it delivers it is readily apparent that this DVD and Blu-ray disc will be with us for years to come.

Right now Avatar is all the rage but District 9 bests it in the area that matters most... solid storytelling.

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Comments (21)

  1. Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

    Thank you Buckshot!

    You are the voice of reason on this site.

    Brian... I thank you for the compliment as well.

    You two can remain as users on this site. As for I AM THATGUY... go find yourself a spin cycle!!!

    - Mushy '09

    5 years agoby @mushyFlag

  2. Buckshot

    Good Review Mushy. I too enjoyed this movie, but I haven't seen Avatar yet. Though it did take me a little time to get into what was really happening becasue of the use of one camera. in the beginning.

    5 years agoby @buckshotFlag

  3. Brian

    A lot of amazingness happening in this CRAP-ASS review that tries so hard to burn on Avatar, but does no succeed! 1080p!!!

    5 years agoby @brianFlag

  4. Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

    BG couldn't carry my jockstrap.

    -Mushy '09

    5 years agoby @mushyFlag

  5. Timmy

    BG has done way less but his reviews have a lot of meat. He beat you hands down.

    5 years agoby @timmyFlag

  6. Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

    You know what I AM THATGUY...

    I am a serious reviewer. I have done over 1700 reviews. You may have played CALL OF DOODY12 like 800,000,000 times but that isn't lasting.

    My reviews are. They are insightful and well composed.

    I am going to stop this thread. It is a waste of my time.

    You can complain but you still read my words because you know that I am the #1 internet critic.

    -MUSHY '09

    5 years agoby @mushyFlag

  7. Timmy

    You spelled District wrong like 7 times in this review.

    5 years agoby @timmyFlag

  8. Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

    Stop being scared I AM THATGUY you didn't lose the battle. Just the war.

    -Mushy '09

    Also, are movies streamed to my phone hi-def?

    5 years agoby @mushyFlag

  9. Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

    Okay Justincase!!!

    you siding with I AM THATGUY!!!!????!!!

    You better not be!!!!

    -Mushy '09

    5 years agoby @mushyFlag

  10. justincase

    You guys are FUNNY!

    5 years agoby @justincaseFlag

  11. Timmy

    I think you just won the argument. Regardless. Good luck filming Watching a Movie 2 without lombardi

    5 years agoby @timmyFlag

  12. Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

    Full High Def...

    Like the FLIP??????

    MOTED.

    KODAK Zi8!!!! BEEEEEEEEEEYYYYYOOOOOOCCCCCCHHHH!

    - Mushy '09

    5 years agoby @mushyFlag

  13. Timmy

    They are not compressed. FULL HIGH DEF. look it up dick.

    5 years agoby @timmyFlag

  14. Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

    Shut up I Am ThatGuy. You wouldn't know M*A*S*H from DIFF'RENT STROKES.

    And you're one to talk...

    You connect your 2" iPod to your 200" TV and say things like...

    "The movies from my iPod aren't compressed."

    F-YOU!

    -Mushy '09

    5 years agoby @mushyFlag

  15. Timmy

    better yet just go watch anything that is a Robert Altman film.

    5 years agoby @timmyFlag

  16. Timmy

    Mushy, Just go back to watching M*A*S*H on your 13 inch TV.

    5 years agoby @timmyFlag

  17. Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

    You see I Am ThatGuy... you know nothing about movies. You just sit there and put on your Blu-ray goggles and think that no movies came out before 1985.

    Well, they did! And the mush is going to show you that...

    -Mushy '09

    5 years agoby @mushyFlag

  18. Timmy

    I don't even know what flubber is.

    5 years agoby @timmyFlag

  19. Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

    Yeah, that's what I thought... you have nothing say because you are too busy watching Flubber remakes.

    5 years agoby @mushyFlag

  20. Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

    I Am ThatGuy you only like movies that cost a gazillion dollars. If Robert Zemeckis has spent $1000,000,000 to motion capture people talking in a park you would watch it and say, "It was pretty amazing, deed!"

    You are what is wrong with movies.

    I am calling for your resignation from MovieWeb.

    -Mushy '09

    5 years agoby @mushyFlag

  21. Timmy

    should be 5 stars but good enough. Sorry the prawns weren't sitting in a park discussing alien politics.

    5 years agoby @timmyFlag