S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r
District 9 [Blu-ray]
(Neill Blomkamp, 2009)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: TriStar Pictures
Video: Sony Pictures
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 45,202,568,585 bytes
Feature Size: 24,495,630,336 bytes
Video Bitrate: 19.69 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard case
Release date: December 22nd, 2009
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3958 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3958 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 2717 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2717 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround
English (SDH), English, French, Hindi, none
• movieIQ: connects you to access real-time information on
the cast, music, trivia and more while watching the movie!
Digital Copy for PSP, PC or Mac
Description: From producer Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy) and director Neill Blomkamp comes a startlingly original science fiction thriller that "soars on the imagination of its creators" (Peter Travers, Rolling Stone). With stunning special effects and gritty realism, the film plunges us into a world where the aliens have landed... only to be exiled to a slum on the fringes of Johannesburg. Now, 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.
For decades — at least since Orson Welles scared the daylights out of
radio listeners with “War of the Worlds” back in 1938 — the public has
embraced the terrifying prospect of alien invasion. But what if,
notwithstanding the occasional humanist fable like “E.T.,” all those
movies and television programs have been inculcating a potentially toxic
form of interplanetary prejudice?
A busy opening flurry of mock-news images and talking-head documentary chin scratching fills in a grim, disturbingly plausible scenario. Back in the 1980s a giant spacecraft stalled in the skies over Johannesburg. On board were a large number of starving and disoriented creatures, who were rescued and placed in a temporary refugee camp in the part of the city that gives the film its title. Over the next 20 years the settlement became a teeming shantytown like so many others in the developing world, with the relatively minor distinction of being home to tall, skinny bipeds with insectlike faces and bodies that seem to combine biological and mechanical features. Though there is evidence that those extraterrestrials — known in derogatory slang as prawns because of their vaguely crustacean appearance — represent an advanced civilization, their lives on Earth are marked by squalor and dysfunction. And they are viewed by South Africans of all races with suspicion, occasional pity and xenophobic hostility.Excerpt from A.O. Scott at the NY Times located HERE
District 9 looks remarkably crisp on Blu-ray from Sony. The image quality is exceptionally smooth - even the more obvious CGI effects. The high contrast, at times, reported theatrically, seems to have translated exceptionally well in 1080P. The color palette leans to the cooler, more passive, end of the scale but this is an impressive representation of how it appeared theatrically. The frequently jittering camera, giving an pseudo-improvisational aura, still produces a solid appearance as do the extensive digital visuals. This is a dual-layered transfer utilizing the AVC encode with the film taking up about 25 Gig. Detail has some very strong moments and there is some depth notable. With the 'documentary feel' of the film there is some authentic gloss in certain sequences. Contrast exhibits healthy, rich black levels. The aliens themselves look as alive and real as you might anticipate from the stills. This Blu-ray has a genuine feel with purposeful weakness in the video-eque broadcast stock once again instilling the film's verité leanings. I really have no complaints with this Blu-ray appearance that seems un-manipulated and dynamically sharp. Aggressive thumbs up!
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
I've kind of thrown in the towel in terms of critiquing these lossless track. District 9's DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 3958 kbps is perfect. It reports bountiful separation, bass response and strong high end. I couldn't find any negative issue with its rendering at all. Clinton Shorter's score is adept and crisp - sounding bountiful and deep when called upon. The audio supports the film in all sonic areas. There are subtitles available - even optional English for the commentary!My Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
After pressing 'Play' you have the immediate option to opt for Movie IQ which, if chosen, includes a small icon while the film runs which you can access to have filmic details and information displayed on screen. This only works if your player is connected to the Internet - ditto for the cineChat feature which allows you to chat to friends as the film runs. Supplements include a commentary with Director/Co-Writer Neill Blomkamp, 23 deleted scenes and the three-part documentary “The Alien Agenda: A Filmmaker's Log.” The first part of the documentary explores the pre-production process and creation of the world of District 9, Peter Jackson’s role in producing the film, and the unorthodox approach to using South Africa as the setting for this film. The second part delves into the shooting style of the film utilizing small handheld cameras to tell the tale, the difficulties of shooting in Johannesburg, the challenges of shooting scenes that would include visual effects later in the process, and the overall challenges encountered during the production process. The third chapter of the documentary investigates the task of designing and editing the film's sound effects, and the general challenges encountered during the editing process. There are also four featurettes: “Metamorphosis: The Transformation of Wikus” looks at the practical effects employed by filmmaker Blomkamp and the artists at WETA to create Wikus’s metamorphosis into an alien; “Innovation: The Acting and Improvisation of District 9” shows Blomkamp’s direction of the actors, his encouragement of improvisation, and the actors’ process for working together under these guidelines; “Conception and Design: Creating the World of District 9” depicts the amazing design and theory behind the world of District 9, including Alien Design, Alien Technology, Space Travel, MNU and The First Reaction Force Battalion; and “Alien Generation: The Visual Effects of District 9” offers an in-depth look at the process of shooting visual effects scenes and incorporating CGI aliens realistically into the scenes in post-production. Bonus features exclusive to the Blu-ray Disc include a Digital Copy and the Interactive Map feature “Joburg from Above: Satellite and Schematics of the World of District 9,” that allows users to explore alien technology and weaponry, MNU mercenary armory, and more from the film through a series of satellite maps, schematics and photo-real files. The Digital Copy file will be included on the Blu-ray Disc for transfer to the PSP via PlayStation3, a PC or a Mac.
December 14th, 2009
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be
it, but film will always be my first love and I list my
favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze