District 9 (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

District 9 4K ReviewDistrict 9 has been called a lot of things over the years.  It has been said that the movie will blow your mind and that it is a must see movie.  Harry Knowles of Aint It Cool News once went on record as saying he was mind f*#ked by the movie.  Heck, when last checked today, the film still holds a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes.  I remember my first viewing with it.  I didn’t really care for it.  However, I fell in love with it after only a second watch.  It is gut wrenching to watch though.  I’m a sucker for feeling terrible the way the aliens within are treated.  So I am going to spend the next several paragraphs giving you a quick history lesson about District 9 and convincingly try to explain why your mileage may vary with this one.  It’s not for everyone.

District 9 4K Review


A former co-worker of mine originally educated me on the following and I did a little research to make sure his statements were valid.  As history would have it, once upon a time the legendary Peter Jackson asked Neill Blomkamp to direct Halo, a film based on the video game of the same name.  I’m sure you are all familiar with the game Halo so there is no need to expand anymore on that.  Well it seemed that the movie studios and even Microsoft could not get along.  Can you even imagine Microsoft not getting along with anyone?  Eventually things kind of fell apart on the Halo project.  I was alright with that.  The last thing the world needs is another crappy video game movie.  So anyway, Peter Jackson felt like he needed to make it up to Neill, so he offered him a chance to expand his short film, Alive in Joburg, into full-length feature.  And the rest as they say is history.  Boom!

I remember reading that the film only had a $30 million dollar budget to work with.  The filming process involved months of shooting in South Africa before the creation and addition of the alien creatures.  I also read that only one actor portrayed them all.  I imagine it was done much in the same fashion as Gollum was from The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital company even had their own cooks in the kitchen helping out with the creation of additional visual effects.  One thing is for certain.  While the film had a low budget feel to it, the effects, for the most part, are top-notch grade A quality, even when judged by a stickler like myself.  And if you are surprised that you don’t recognize any of the actors, you shouldn’t be.  Within the $30 million dollar budget there is not an A listed actor to be found.  It worked for 2005’s The Descent all those years ago so that is not necessarily a bad thing.

The film opens with a series of interviews that introduces us to the confrontational situation and the location in Johannesburg, South Africa that is known as District 9.  We learn from the interviews that the aliens appeared 20 years ago as scientists and military personnel found them starving and malnourished.  They set up refugee camps for them while private companies quickly realized they could make money off of them if they could learn how to build and utilize their technology and weapons.  One such company, called MNU, tasks a field operative named Wikus (Sharlto Copley) with moving the aliens, often referred to as Prawns, to a new District 10 camp.  It is here that the first act closes and the second act begins as Wikus comes into contact with some peculiar black fluid that he will probably always regret tinkering with.  I know I would.

The outcome of his contact with the antagonistic black alien fluid is the meat and potatoes of this film as Wikus becomes a refugee and must find ways to fight alongside the same species he has been condemning all these years.  One Prawn, appropriately named Christopher Johnson, and his son are the key to his survival and his compassion.  It kind of makes you wonder where that name came from.  I will have to do a little research on that one some day.  So anyway, I think you can kind of see the cliché pattern building here where former enemies unite for a collaborated purpose and a man rises out of the ashes to become much more than meets the eye.

So what exactly did Harry Knowles mean when he says he was mind f*$ked?  I had to first consult the Urban Dictionary to find out for myself.  I believe Harry was referring to the following definition of the term he coined and other reviewers quickly followed suit with.  To be mind f*$ked means “to experience a situation which calls into question the way your mind currently sees a certain idea or the world in general.  Such an experience usually leaves the person stunned/speechless while he/she begins wrapping his/her mind around the new idea.”  I’ll give Harry Knowles one point for his proper use of the term.  I agree with him on at least that much.  My interpretation of the definition stems from the barbaric, and excuse me for using the word, but inhumane way the alien creatures were treated.  I guess you can say that the people of Johannesburg, South Africa treated the aliens just like Mr. Vick treated those poor pooches, down right disgusting.

The injustice inflicted on the aliens definitely opened my eyes to just how horrific different races are treated around the world.  Come on man!  Like I needed that movie for that am I right?  The mistreatment of the fictional aliens is no different then the persecution certain groups undergo in today’s world.  Plain and simple, the human race has always reacted very violent towards indifference and some things never change.  Freeing the mind, from the corruption caused by mankind, all hinges upon what the final shocker is that ultimately opens your eyes and removes blinders in this cruel world. The main character, Wikus, definitely experiences this revelation as he becomes intimately involved in the Prawn’s fight for survival.

So, does District 9 really blow your mind?  I think it does.  It definitely opens your eyes to how you treat others (or at least I hope it does).  I always welcomed a District 10 follow-up picking up where we left off here, but sadly that’s never materialized (at least to my knowledge).  The refreshing thing here and something that stuck with me during this 4K viewing is how thankful I was for the R-rating.  I do believe this could work as a PG-13 film, but with the 30 million dollar budget they had zero F-words were given.  They were free to make the movie they wanted and it shows in the performances of Shartlto and the raw heart and motion this story packs.  The documentary style this film was shot in is just the icing on the cake.  Now give me that sequel!

District 9 4K Review


The below video score and related critique of things here are based solely upon my viewing of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of District 9.

  • Encoding: HEVC / H.265
  • Resolution: 4K (2160p)
  • Size: BD-66
  • Dolby Vision: No
  • HDR: HDR10
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Clarity/Detail:  The transfer here was culled from a 2K DI source albeit most of the film was captured in 4K resolution.  Like the 1080p Blu-ray depending upon where we’re at during the film will dictate how clear and remarkable the image is.  I say that because this one is told and shot documentary style in certain sequences (one of the only reasons why this isn’t a perfect score) so there is some rough source footage, which is intentional looking like that for a reason.  Outside of the documentary style footage there’s plenty of fine details and definition to be found everywhere you look in this 4K print not only in the humans, but also the aliens, environments, clothing and more.  Closeups reveal everything and I do mean everything!
  • Depth:  I mentioned the rich details up above and that’s exactly what I’ll talk about here.  Those details pop via the three-dimensional characters here and yield a superior depth of field within environments such as office interiors, district camps, fields, city streets and more.  
  • Black Levels:  Despite the differences in footage here the black levels of the film like narrative always remain deep and very natural looking throughout.
  • Color Reproduction:  The colors are very natural looking throughout and never blown out of proportion or over exaggerated.  The HDR infused presentation pops with wider gamuts of color via the different shades of alien skins especially the yellow and oranges not to mention the red in blood.  
  • Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are even, natural and only slightly off when directly involved with the different murky rough source moments I made reference to up above.
  • Noise/Artifacts: Unless I missed something I did not notice any instances of dirt, debris or blemishes on the print of this 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation.  There is a small veneer of intentional light grain in both the narrative and documentary sequences of the film.  

District 9 4K Review


Like I mentioned up above in the video section, the below audio score and critical comments of such are based solely upon my viewing of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of District 9.

  • Audio Format(s): English 7.1 Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible), English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, English – Audio Description Track 5.1 Dolby Digital
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dynamics:  Things sound spectacular here right from the very get go with a wide array of audio hitting you from every which direction.  It’s not sloppy either.  Oh no!  There’s a discrete sense of prioritization regarding every sound you hear around you at all times.  Best of all nothing gets lost in the shuffle not even the dialogue.  This is definitely an upgraded surround experience over the prior Blu-ray release.
  • Height: The Atmos is banging here with so much going so let me just list a few of the heavy hitters such as the score, helicopters, explosions, aliens jumping overhead, gun fire, dialogue and much more.
  • Low Frequency Extension: The LFE channel gets in on the action always creating that sense of gravity and heft throughout.  Moments like helicopters, crowds, army vehicles, gun shots, explosions, alien weapons being fired and of course a whole heck of a lot more.
  • Surround Sound Presentation:  The rear speakers are rocking the whole time here thanks in part to how immersive the whole experience is.  They make it sound like you’re right in the middle of this alien refugee camp.  The riveting action sequences, sound effects and even roosters all put you right dab in the middle of everything and the helicopter attack is just the icing on the cake.
  • Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is is mixed intelligible, loud, clear and crisp throughout here.  I had zero problems understanding any spoken word and yes the alien language is translated as subtitles onscreen.

District 9 4K Review


Sony brought District 9 to the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format with a couple new extras on the 4K disc and the rest of the previously released ones on the corresponding 1080p Blu-ray Disc.  Also included inside is a redemption code to watch District 9 whenever you want in 4K UHD on your favorite digital streaming platform.  Now let’s take a closer look at what’s on each of these discs.

Click to Expand View of 4K Disc


  • Comic-Con Extravaganza (HD, 17:18) – This was very entertaining to watch after the film’s conclusion as we see the filmmakers and Sharlto not only at the premiere of the movie at Coma-Con, but also at the press junket and actual panel.  All I’ll say is Nick got very lucky with Peter Jackson, but I’m not going to complain as I love District 9.
  • Teaser Trailer (HD, 1:46)
  • Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:23)


  • Deleted Scenes (HD, 23:28) – There are a total of 22 deleted scenes here.
  • Director’s Commentary
  • The Alien Agenda: A Filmmaker’s Log (HD, 34:19) – This one is a three-part documentary that includes the following three segments: Envisioning District 9, Shooting District 9 and Refining District 9.
  • Metamorphosis: The Transformation of Wikus (HD, 9:52) – Witness the practical effects that they used to convert Wikus in his alien transformation.
  • Innovation: Acting and Improvisation (HD, 12:05) – To make the film feel more documentary like improvisational dialogue was utilized.  Brilliant!
  • Conception and Design: Creating the World of District 9 (HD, 13:18) – Visit the set, props, tech and more in this look at how the movie was brought to life onscreen.
  • Alien Generation: Visual Effects (HD, 10:18) – Looks at the challenges of creating the aliens within.
  • Joburg from Above: Interactive Map of Satellite and Schematics of the World of District 9 (HD) – This extra allows viewers to navigate around a map of the places seen in District 9 like the mothership, MNU the district and more.

District 9 4K Review


So as I wrap up my 383rd professional 4K/Blu-ray review of my career here on Why So Blu I confidently believe that I dangerously armed you with enough ammunition up above to make you realize that the District 9 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release is a MUST-OWN film on the 4K format. I hope you can agree too.  With a bombastic Dolby Atmos audio surround track, a rock solid video presentation compared to the previous Blu-ray release, some new special features and one hell of a story that will make your heart beat sympathetically I don’t think I need to go on any further.  Just obey my marching orders and BUY, BUY, BUY this one!  Check out how to do so down below and thanks for reading.  Enjoy!


DISCLAIMER: This 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review was judged and graded using the following 4K certified Ultra HD Premium television set found here and player here.  Make sure to check out all our 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray reviews archived here.


District 9

Serves Up The Laughs Again

on 4K UHD Blu-ray



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District 9 4K


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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