Friday, December 18, 2009

District 9 Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 45.7 GB
Film Size: 22.8 GB
Film Rating: R
Region: Free

Video
District 9 comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The film is presented in a very interesting way, it start off feeling much like a documentary with archive footage and interviews, etc. Because of the way it is intentionally presented, we see footage which would typically be shot from a more low-end high-def camera as well as standard-definition moments. The standard-definition moments are never appealing, but they were never meant to be.

Once the film's introduction is over we really get a better sense of the high-def transfer, which is very pleasing. Everything looks very strong and the upgrade is extremely clear. I viewed this film on a high-def projector which made the experience that much better.

The film is far from colorful, we are mostly in drab and dull locations, but that doesn't keep the color palette from shining. The colors are rich but still fitting to the slum look environments, afterall this isn't supposed to look like a High School Musical film.

Detail is also very impressive, textures of environments, clothing and skin all become extremely clear. The film just looks great, free of any edge enhancement or DNR, and is everything a top notch transfer should be. Some may be turned off slightly by the standard-def footage in the mix, but it's really something that should not bother most viewers. 9/10.

Audio
A 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included for the Blu-ray release and sounds absolutely fantastic. The film starts off great, a more front heavy experience to exhibit the whole documentary style feel. When not in documentary mode the film really takes off audio-wise.

I love how immersive the track is, we are truly thrown into District 9 and it becomes real. Surround use is well placed, sometimes we may hear a person tacking from the left surround speaker or gunshots firing from the other. There is always something going on in District 9 and the clarity of it all is terrific.

Dialogue is always crisp and clear and the film's effects never overpower, it's one of the better balanced mixes I've heard. The action scenes in the film will really have your whole home theater shaking with excitement and we hear gunshots and results of firing throughout the entire sound system.

Is it the absolute best track on Blu-ray? No, but I have hard time imagining District 9 sounding any better. It's clear the sound mixers put a lot of work into this mix and it sounds all the better presented with DTS-HD Master Audio. I am very impressed by the mix and you definitely will be too. 10/10.

Extras

Cinechat
Chat with your friends via BD-Live while you view the film.

movieIQ
BD-Live connects you to access real-time information on the cast, trivia and more while watching the movie.

Audio Commentary
with Director/Co-writer Neill Blomkamp

Joburg from Above:
Interactive Map of Satellite and Schematics of the World of District 9.

Deleted Scenes (23:28) (HD)
There are 22 deleted scenes, presented in high-definition.

The Alien Agenda: A Filmmaker's Log (34:19) (HD)
A 3-part featurette that features a signficant amount of behind-the-scenes footage and information. A must see feature for any fan of the film.

Metamophosis: The Transformation of Wikus (9:52) (HD)
See all the work that was done to transform Wikus.

Innovation: Acting and Improvisation (12:05) (HD)
All about the improvisation in the film and what it added to the film.

Conception and Design: Creating the World of District 9 (13:18) (HD)
See all the work that was done to make District 9 come to life.

Alien Generation: Visual Effects (10:18) (HD)
All about the effects in the film, mostly about the aliens.

Previews (HD)
Moon
Michael Jackson's This Is It
2012
Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day
Zombieland

God of War III PS3 Demo
Insert the Blu-ray disc into a Playstation 3 to install the E3 2009 God of War III demo to your system.

Digital Copy
Compatible with iTunes, Windows Media and Sony PSP.

The extras on this release are very strong. We get a lot of behind-the-scenes footage and get to see how many things in the film were done. Gamers may find strong value in the included God of War III Demo alone, but District 9 fans will be very pleased by the included supplements package. 8/10.

Blu-news Summary
When I initially viewed the teaser trailer for District 9, I was not very sure what to expect. The film looked interesting, but it looked quite odd as well. I had some decent expectations though, as it did not appear to be a mindless alien popcorn flick, which we have seen so many of.

When I first started to watch the film I thought the movie was much different than I originally perceived, for a while I thought I was watching a documentary meets Cloverfield camera effects. That was not the case though and was just used to create an introduction to the film and the characters.

The film is like a documentary in which they feature interviews from time to time to explain the life of a certain character as time goes on, but don't let that be a turn off whatsoever.A couple of people who I viewed the film with were a bit turned off at the beginning but by the end they really really enjoyed it.

The film is extremely entertaining from beginning to end, there is really not a second that you will find yourself bored by what is happening on-screen There is so much mystery in District 9, especially from the locals. The production crew did a great job at making viewers feel like they are in an actual world rather than some strange fantasy film.

I did my very best to not include screenshots that would spoil the film, but expect much more from the movie. The film is very different from most sci-fi films even, which is ultimately rewarding and all the better. District 9 is a truly fantastic film that I would easily recommend ANYONE giving a chance. 10/10.

The Blu-ray release is great, featuring a strong video presentation with an amazing audio track. Extras are also very good on this release, making this Blu-ray disc 'Highly Recommended' to all.

Additional Screenshots:

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