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Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Format: DVD|Change
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on 24 March 2015
This will not be everyone's cup of tea but for me this is one of the best sci-fi movies. Just a great storyline located in Africa where an alien mothership has remained over Johannesberg since it arrived and a colony of aliens has settled. Humanity treated them well at first but current times show they are now living in slums, and dealt with total hostility. The story centers around one man who becomes infected and begins to turn into an alien himself, he too becomes rejected from humanity and is in a fight for survival. The film is quite moving as he comes across an alien and his son who have the means to leave the planet and return home. On the surface it is a sci fi movie, with aliens and lots of blood and shooting and everything you would expect, but underneath there is a far more deeper meaning, perhaps more so with being set in Africa, of humans dislike for anything different, be it race, colour or creature. Well worth watching and Team Alien all the way! 5 stars :-)
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Neill Blomkamp's District 9 isn't exactly a new idea - it takes the basic premise of Alien Nation [1988] [DVD] [1989] of an alien spaceship crashing on Earth and its occupants having to become assimilated into a hostile human population - but the execution feels remarkably fresh because, rather than going for tired generic plotting, it's actually thought through what the consequences would be. Rather than opt for a simple cops and robbers drug running story, it starts out as a faux documentary before developing into a thriller as it follows its selfish antihero from too eager to please and cheerfully callous security company bureaucrat evicting the `prawns' from the fetid and violent gang-controlled Joburg shanty town they've been dumped in to a victim of the very people he works for after accidental exposure to an alien substance causes him to mutate and become a useful source of biological parts to harvest so his employers can take advantage of alien weapons technology that won't work with humans...

Unlike most found footage films, the first half hour or so works surprisingly well because this is a richly imagined environment with a lot of fascinating detail to fill in, managing to do it without seeming like pure exposition by contrasting the attitudes of the humans - mostly exploitative - with the violent aliens they barely co-exist with because their cultures are so incompatible. The parallels with South Africa's segregated past are very much to the fore, with the mostly white security forces treating the `prawns' as children who only respond to bribery or force, but rather than opt for the easy bad white guys option, the black South Africans treat them exactly the same way the white South Africans treated them back in the bad old days: they don't want them in their neighborhoods, don't want them taking good jobs that should be theirs, and want them kept in their place. The prejudices, superstitions and the lack of any attempt to understand each other are vividly conveyed with surprising economy and energy as we follow the initial stages of the eviction process, the film mutating along with its hero from mock-doc to chase movie as everyone from his father-in-law to Nigerian gangsters literally wants a piece of him.

Aside from excellent special effects and a wonderful level of cluttered detail, what really sells it is Sharlto Copley's remarkable lead performance, which is a world away from the normal sci-fi hero. He's a bundle of nervous energy as the front office geek who's been promoted beyond his abilities by virtue of marrying the bosses daughter, enjoys his work - aborting alien eggs is a particular source of childish joy - and even after he finds himself becoming one of them remains resolutely self-centred. He doesn't play for sympathy and he doesn't deserve it, yet despite being the kind of character who is usually just throwaway comic relief in most movies he remains a compellingly amoral yet believable centre for all the moral mayhem. Even as the body count mounts in the shoot `em up finale, he remains a credibly pathetic figure driven more by fear than heroism. It's a funny and impressive performance in a darkly funny and often exhilarating bit of smarter than expected scifi.

The extras are better than expected too, with the 22 deleted scenes, mostly from the first third of the film, surprisingly worthwhile. They would have slowed the picture down too much had they been kept in, but they show just how richly the filmmakers developed the social and political background, with an interview with the black American CEO of the security firm cheerfully insisting, Boer style, that the aliens' ship is categorically not their ship and therefore they have no rights to it a particular gem. There's also a three part documentary on the DVD and director's commentary while, as usual, Blu-ray buyers get additional featurettes that are also on the US NTSC two-disc edition and an interactive feature on the central shanty town.
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on 19 April 2015
A very very enjoyable Sci-Fi romp, it has all the elements of a great Sci-Fi film. Too many people are looking for deep meanings in the film and allegories about this and that, stuff them! The bottom line is that this is an excellent Science Fiction film with good acting, excellent special effects and an engaging story, if you want Hollywood bombast then don't look here because it's not that sort of film (thank God) there are no big mega stars to distract you and no typical Hollywood film music to try and con you that it's more exciting than it is.
This is the best Sci-Fi film I have seen for ages and I watch an awful lot of Sci-Fi.
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on 12 June 2017
Allegorical or straight film-making.I enjoyed the strangeness of it a lot.Just so original which nowadays is a rarity.With lots of interesting extras and great video/stunning audio this thought provoking film is one to add to your collection.
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on 19 June 2017
A surprise both for its plot and its setting. Not very far from reality though, if such an incident was likely to occur.
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on 27 July 2017
A unusual film theme set like a documentary in South Africa about alien's that come to earth.
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on 18 July 2017
Hilarious ! This is one of those movies I will watch again. A must for any collection.
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on 15 January 2017
some funny sides to this story but some sad areas too.
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on 31 March 2017
brilliant for my collection
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on 18 June 2017
Great film 🎥
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