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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An "ALIEN" movie VERY much about HUMANS.
One of the most striking, powerful and poignant statements about human nature made it's way to us during summer 09 in the form of this tough, gritty, bracingly realistic and singularly unique movie. "District 9", directed by Neill Blomkamp of South Africa, of all unlikely places, and produced by New Zealand heavyweight, Peter Jackson, of "King Kong" and "The Lord of the...
Published on Nov. 23 2009 by Richard S. Warner

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Your Typical Sci-Fi Movie
If you are a die-hard science fiction fan who loves the back story, history and technical details of a movie... then you may not like District 9. During the movie you do have strong feelings about the characters and the overall message of the movie. How can you not? Any movie that can make you feel indifference for the aliens and then sympathy 45 min later must be...
Published on Nov. 26 2010 by RobCons


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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An "ALIEN" movie VERY much about HUMANS., Nov. 23 2009
By 
Richard S. Warner "Saraswati-Son" (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: District 9 (Bilingual) (DVD)
One of the most striking, powerful and poignant statements about human nature made it's way to us during summer 09 in the form of this tough, gritty, bracingly realistic and singularly unique movie. "District 9", directed by Neill Blomkamp of South Africa, of all unlikely places, and produced by New Zealand heavyweight, Peter Jackson, of "King Kong" and "The Lord of the Rings" fame, relays a quite unique narrative premise only ever seen before in Nicholas Roeg's "The Man Who Fell to Earth" ... aliens not as benevolent gods or invading monsters, but as our victims.

An immense, almost city-sized alien spacecraft arrives and parks itself over the city of Johannesburg and then remains there, inert and incommunicado. Eventually we ( humans ) rouse the nerve to fly up to the behemoth spaceship to discover whatever we can. Eventually, once inside, we find a large population of creatures of a very alien form deep within. They are all sick, leaderless, disoriented and in a very bad condition. So what do we do? ...... drag them all off their ship, put them in a barb-wired enclosed ghetto/shanty town ( District 9 ), treat them with utmost disdain, near starve them and routinely deal with them quite brutally, even cruelly.

The narrative of "D9" begins in "medias re", the middle of the story. The "Prawns", as we pejoratively call them, have already arrived and have been interred in their ghetto for 20 years but are now about to be removed away from the Johannesburg environ and out to a more crowded prison camp. The government, through a giant multi-national corporation, MNU, has elected a new patsy, a pencil pusher ( Sharlto Copely ) from its office who has almost no direct knowledge of or experience with the aliens he "administers" to be the one to go in to serve "eviction notices" and begin the process of getting them all out. Wikus's video documentary of eviction day gives us a taste of his smarmy, self-assured, bureacratic personality and sets up the environment and characters that later explode into the main drama after a fateful turn of events changes his routine day into a major turning point for all.

At first Wikus is a despicable and insensitve bureaucrat who even callously dispatches young "Prawns" in their eggs with schoolboy cruelty and joy. But eventually we feel sorry for this almost innocent twerp once he meets with an accident that exposes him to an alien fluid that begins a radical transformation of his DNA. This transformation turns him from hunter and evictor into the hunted and despised. With break-neck rapidity things turn 180 degrees for Wikus and the hitherto clandestine unholy alliance between government, multi-national corporation and the military comes into sharp focus.

Indeed, eventually you are shocked to find out that, from the get-go, the military and MNU have been ferreting out the weapons potential in the aliens and their technology and NOT finding ways to help them, or even learn something that can actually benefit humanity. Unbridled lust for money and power, the two most defining characteristics of human beings, then kicks into high gear.

It all comes to a viscious head when Wikus, his life and reputation utterly destroyed, realizes that he is not going to be helped by his human compatriots, but indeed is being sought out to be used in the military's biological weapons research. This research also uses the aliens freely and hideously in merciless and "inhumanly" cruel experiments when the military understands that the key to said weapons technology lies in the secret of their DNA.

On the run and desparate to save his life, Wikus turns to District 9 for refuge, stumbling into the home of an alien he had tried to evict earlier that day. And it is this alien, "Christopher", with his small boy at his side, who holds the dangerous secret to Wikus' transformation and the salvation of the "Prawns". Ironically it is also here, in the alien's shack, that Wikus, tearfully desparate for mercy, learns his first lessons in it ... from a non-human teacher.

Apartheid, corporate adventurism, human medical experimentation of the type the Nazi's engaged in, governmental lies justifiying actions otherwise morally reprehensible and the seemingly inherent capacity of human beings for cruelty, morally bankrupt opportunism with a shocking lack of compassion are the real themes of this strikingly tough and original motion picture.

Blomkamp's direction is tight and suspensful, keeping you on the edge of your seat right from the very first frames. The action is fast and electric and nothing in the film is superfluous. The story is rife with profound ethical questioning but is not entirely without compassion and humour. In fact, the greatest moments of compassion are almost entirely non-human. The cinematography is perfection. The dozens of shots of the spacehip at all times of day and conditions of light are so real they're striking. The "Prawns" themselves and their interactions with humans are also remarkably real ... all too real. And the ending sets up the inevitability of a Part Two.

A unique sci-fi film with a very fresh premise, shot largely in a mock documentary style and brandishing a sharp, stinging indictment of the darker side of the human race. "District 9" is, I think, already a must-have in any good science fiction lovers collection.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything Sci-fi is meant to be!, Dec 27 2009
By 
Peter Cantelon (Morden, Manitoba, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
District 9 is a brilliant movie and is everything good sci-fi should be. It takes a no holds barred look at humanity and our tendancy to fear, hate and ultimately dominate what we do not understand. Strong themes of xenophobia, racism, the universality of love, compassion, friendship, family and community dominate this movie. Somehow director Neill Blomkamp manages to deliver all of these themes in a fast-paced, action packed sci-fi blockbuster bound to become a classic.

The film is based on a short film by director Blomkamp and was created with the modest budget of $30 million. Everything about this movie works. Set in South Africa the themes become more profound as they mesh with the nation's history of apartheid. The cast is fantastic and unknown actor Sharlto Copley as main character Wikus van de Merwe is brilliant and should be nominated for an Oscar considering this was his first professional acting job.

The film looks fantastic in blu-ray and the sound is crystal clear. The effects are fantastic looking and the aspect ratio of 1.85:1 nearly completely fills the entire screen. Blu-ray exclusive features like interactive maps etc really make you feel good about buying into the Blu-ray player and HD tv that you have.

All in all a fantastic movie by this new transplanted South African director (Blomkamp lives in Canada). I very highly recommend the movie.
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4.0 out of 5 stars amazing, Jan. 30 2014
By 
Jody L. Wild - See all my reviews
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got this for only 5 bucks and its awesome. i gave only 4 stars because picture quality is only so so. MUST BUY
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5.0 out of 5 stars District 9 is a masterpiece!, Jan. 12 2014
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District 9 is the directorial debut of Neill Blomkamp and let me start off by saying this is an excellent film! The Picture quality of this film is very smooth and the audio is very crisp and clear. The disc is loaded with special features and so much bonus content to keep you entertained for 3 hours.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Really Good movie, Sept. 30 2013
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After seeing Elysium, I wanted to see District 9, and I have to say while I didn't love the movie I did like it. It was more political then I expected, which is cool. There are similarities to how aboriginals have been treated in many countries around the world but most especially South Africa. Definitely a movie to see!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Top notch, Sept. 17 2013
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This review is from: District 9 (Bilingual) (DVD)
Really clever and engaging. Social Commentary wrapped up as a Sci-Fi action. I love it. Knowing that it's the male lead's first on-screen role puts an exclamation point on what an incredible job he did, one of the best performances of the year the year it came out. I could recommend this movie to anyone.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the better modern alien movies., Jan. 30 2013
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This movie had a fresh take on the alien movie genre. I really enjoyed this film both for it's original story line as well as some of the great cinematography in the film. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who likes a good action/sci-fi-ish type of movie!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A commercial action sci-fi film that's also smart, political, darkly funny, and at moments very touching,, Oct. 11 2012
By 
K. Gordon - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: DISTRICT 9 (DVD)
Blomkamp does the amazing by combing roller coaster excitement with an intelligent context that makes all the noise about something. While some of the ideas are occasionally heavy handed or on the nose, it's so exciting to see a Hollywood action film that traffics in ideas, that I'm willing to forgive the occasional 'I get it already' moment, or logic lapse, or easy coincidence, or mediocre supporting performance.

The story is simple. A million plus grotesque looking, starving and sickly aliens get stranded on Earth when they essentially run out of fuel. And while at first humans try to reach out in friendship, before long corporations are trying to make money by exploiting their technology (especially, or course, their weapons) and the aliens are herded into a 'district' and walled in. (That the film is set in South Africa is one of those choices that feels like gilding the lily - even though that is the film-makers home). And it's clear that progressing from apartheid to Nazi style medical experiments and concentration camps is the next step.

While I wish the villains were less mustache twirling (some 'banality of evil' would have been even more chilling), the effects are great, and it's a film that grew, not shrank as it went along. For the first third I thought it was OK, the second pretty good, and by the end I loved it. And it's stuck with me.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A commercial action sci-fi film that's also smart, political, darkly funny, and at moments very touching,, Oct. 11 2012
By 
K. Gordon - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: District 9 [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Blomkamp does the amazing by combing roller coaster excitement with an intelligent context that makes all the noise about something. While some of the ideas are occasionally heavy handed or on the nose, it's so exciting to see a Hollywood action film that traffics in ideas, that I'm willing to forgive the occasional 'I get it already' moment, or logic lapse, or easy coincidence, or mediocre supporting performance.

The story is simple. A million plus grotesque looking, starving and sickly aliens get stranded on Earth when they essentially run out of fuel. And while at first humans try to reach out in friendship, before long corporations are trying to make money by exploiting their technology (especially, or course, their weapons) and the aliens are herded into a 'district' and walled in. (That the film is set in South Africa is one of those choices that feels like gilding the lily - even though that is the film-makers home). And it's clear that progressing from apartheid to Nazi style medical experiments and concentration camps is the next step.

While I wish the villains were less mustache twirling (some 'banality of evil' would have been even more chilling), the effects are great, and it's a film that grew, not shrank as it went along. For the first third I thought it was OK, the second pretty good, and by the end I loved it. And it's stuck with me.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A true sci-fi original, July 13 2010
By 
LeBrain - See all my reviews
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2009 was a great year for sci-fi fans. Not only did we get the wonderfully genuine Moon, but this movie also seemingly came out of nowhere. Films like these help make up for the trash that Michael Bay is ramming down our throats.

District 9 contains recognizable elements of classic sci-fi. The ship hovering over the city is an obvious homage to Clarke's Childhood's End, but this time the ship is not settled over a major city like New York. It is found hovering over director Neill Blomkamp's home town of Johannesburg, South Africa. This is a refreshing change. Michael Bay also ripped off Childhood's End, but as we all know he chose the ship to hover over the White House and blow it up!

The major science fiction theme here is xenophobia. Humans investigate the silent ship and find a million "Prawns" inside -- insectile humanoids, as different from us socially and psychologically as imaginable. They are out of fuel, stranded and starving, so a shantytown called District 9 is set up outside Johannesburg. This solution is anything but. 20 years later, after conditions keep getting worse and the Prawn population keeps expanding, the decision is made to forcably evict the Prawns from District 9. They will be re-settled in a tent city, a reference to events of the Apartheid era.

Echoing today's private corporate armed forces such as Blackwater, the eviction is handled by a private company called MNU (Multinational United). The man put in charge of this relocation is a junior clerk named Wikus van de Merwe who is hopelessly ill-suited to the task. Wikus, who serves as our protagonist, is at first nothing more than an incompetant fool who earnes the disfavor of the military men. He is protrayed as a real person with family and friends, but completely unsympathetic to the Prawns.

Wikus unwittingly stumbles upon a precious cylinder in the shack of a Prawn named Christopher. This cylindar can re-power the ship, but it also has adverse effects on Wikus, which will change his life forever. Soon, Wikus will find out for himself how it is to be an outsider, but also a valuable commodity. Wikus can now operate powerful alien weapons, the only human able to do so, which makes him a target on the run from both MNU and Nigerian gangs. And Christopher needs that cylinder back.

District 9 is disturbing to watch, both visually and thematically. Feelings of indifference toward Wikus eventually turn to sympathy. There are also moments of graphic sci-fi violence and gore. However, it is virtually impossible to turn away. The CG effects are stellar and look great in 1080p hi-def.

Much like Moon, there is much food for thought in District 9. This is aided by the fact that none of these actors are well-known to North American audiences, but the performances were still excellent.

The blu-ray disc is fuly loaded. There is a neat interactive map where you can explore District 9 and the alien ship, but this gets tiring after one or two viewings. More interesting are "The Alien Agenda: A Filmmaker's Log" and some featurettes on the effects in District 9.

District 9 is an absolute must for true fans of science fiction. If you have been hungering for the real thing, the real deal, then District 9 is for you. For casual fans and movie goers, you will enjoy the aliens, the combat scenes and effects as well as the storyline. District 9 is not for everyone, particurly those with a weak stomach, but is a very rewarding watch.

I can't wait to see what Neill Blomkamp comes up with next, and I hope the success of District 9 means he can continue to make unique films without bowing to Hollywood.

4 stars.
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District 9 (Bilingual)
District 9 (Bilingual) by Neill Blomkamp (DVD - 2009)
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