Coming to 4K Ultra HD, Bluray and Digital from writer/director Neill Blomkamp and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is a return to DISTRICT 9.
In Johannesburgh, South Africa, it is 1982 and aliens are living in a camp they call District 9 unable to get to their ships and go home after 20+ years. Given the nickname “Prawns”, they live in a lawless camp that where survival of the fittest is given a whole new meaning. The government MNU (Multinational United), wants to relocate the aliens to another camp farther away from the city.
Appointed to the task of making that happen is Wikus van de Merwe (Sharlto Copley), an unassuming man who wants to go a good job to impress his father-in-law and executive Piet Smit (Louis Minnaar). In District 9, an alien Christopher (Jason Cope) and his little boy are looking for a chemical than can make going home happen but not before Wikus comes to their shack.
Finding the tube of chemical, Wikus opens it and the contents cover his face. Going in for treatment, it is clear that he is becoming an alien. Wanting to use his new alien parts, Wikus makes a break for it and the hunt is on. Wikus’ wife Tania (Vanessa Hayward) doesn’t believe what the media is saying about her husband.
The only thing Wikus can do is return to District 9 and get help from the alien Christopher to return to being human. Together they work but the mercenaries are close, and they do not care one way or the other how they get what they want. They are also dealing with Nigerian gang leader Obesandjo (Eugene Khumbanyiwa) that specializes in the unusual and they want Wikus as well!
Now Wikus must choose between becoming human or helping the aliens that he once thought were unwelcome in his world!
Copley as Wikus is the perfect person for this role and I have always thought so. As many times as I watch this film (and trust me I have watched it A LOT), it is Copley’s portrayal of a man caught up in something unique is stellar. As the story unfolds, it is Copley who brings us into this strange and dangerous world only to discover that his own is not so safe either.
Cope as Christopher is an alien, sure, but also the father of a young alien boy. He is raising this boy in a world that would rather eliminate them than learn about them in the best way possible. His only goal – to get them to their own home with their own people. This is such an interesting role considering he speaks another language but there is so much that can be seen on the ‘face’ of the aliens.
Hayward as Tania is a woman who can not believe what everyone is telling her. I give her credit for having the heart and smarts to know that something is going on and that her own family is involved. The way Wikus talks about his wife and family is so touching which lends to the kind of person he is.
Shout out to Khumbanyiwa as Obesandjo because this character scared the bejeezus out of me! Yet, he shows the cruelty of the human race and it is Wikus who experiences the betrayal. So who is the creature really?
Other cast include David James as Col. Venter, Mandla Gaduka as Fundiswa Mhlanga, William Young as Dirk Michaels, Kenneth Nkosi as Thomas, Sylvaine Strike as Katrina McKenzie, Robert Hobbs as Ross Pienaar, Nathalie Boltt as Sara Livingston, and Jed Brophy as James Hope.
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The Bonus Materials include 4K Ultra HD Bonus of Comic-Con Extravaganza Featurette, Original Theatrical Trailers, Hours of Archival special Features Including – Deleted Scenes, Director’s Commentary, The Alien Agenda: A Filmmaker’s Log – Three-Part Documentary, Metamorphosis: The Transformation of Wikus, Innovation: Acting and Improvisation, Conception and Design: Creating the World of DISTRICT 9, Alien Generation: Visual Effects and Joburg from Above: Interactive Map of Satellite and Schematics of the World of DISTRICT 9.
The film was released in 2009 and nominated for four Oscars in 2010 for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Writing Adapted Screenplay, Best Achievement in Film Editing and Best Achievement in Visual Effects. All of these nominations were well deserved! That being said, DISTRICT 9 received over 112 nominations from other festivals and award opportunities with 31 wins.
DISTRICT 9 is a film that had and still has so much to say about the way we treat one another. Sure, there are aliens but the representation of them here is that they have something to offer the humans but are treated like dirt and kept like caged animals.
Wikus is a man who never saw what was coming being used by the people he trusted. Once he becomes something else, the true colors of those around him are vivid and frightening. Turning to Christopher and his young son for help, they protect each other from what is headed their way. Both sides have something to lose and turning to each other might save them, might.
DISTRICT 9 is still one of the most fascinating alien films but also the most heart wrenching films about two races that had so much to learn from one another.
In the end – you are not welcome here!