Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Film Review: ATTACK THE BLOCK (2011)

ATTACK THE BLOCK is a British import featuring a cast of mostly unknowns (to we bloody colonials, at least) and the always adorable Nick Frost (from SHAUN OF THE DEAD).  It tells the story of an alien invasion set in south London.

I think that this was my favorite alien movie of the summer, actually.  It totally pisses on COWBOYS AND ALIENS and serves as a great companion piece to SUPER 8.  Both ATB and SUPER 8 tell the story of kids dealing with extraordinary circumstances involving extraterrestrial beings.  But ATB never takes itself too seriously (despite some children's deaths), and it's less weighty than SUPER 8... If SUPER 8 was comparable to STAND BY ME and ET, ATB is comparable to THE SANDLOT.  It's that movie that is a bit ridiculous which makes it fun.  More after the jump...

The story, in general, is that aliens fall from the sky into south London, and a street gang of kids try to prove themselves as badasses by fighting the aliens.  It's a fun, B-movie idea.  The kids act tough and are played with that pitch-perfect, prepubescent, tough-guy, naive, swagger.  In many ways I could relate to the kids in ATB much more than the SUPER 8 kids.  The SUPER 8 kids were cleaver and witty.  The ATB kids were like me... kind of stupid.

The gang, for the most part, are interchangeable but funny.  The lead boy, though, named Moses (played by newcomer John Boyega) was an excellent character.  Really, I thought Moses was one of the better heroes of the summer.  He's played with both vulnerability, wisdom and menace, and he changes between the three extremely well.  His first scene makes you really dislike him... so much so that you wonder how he will be redeemed... but he is.

The monsters in ATB had their moments of scariness, but I was frequently reminded of the scrunts from LADY IN THE WATER.  They were scary but a bit campy... which made it all the more humorous when they started killing.

The direction and pacing were fine... I think the fact that I can't recall a great or terrible thing about it is a great thing.  It wasn't distracting as I was really into the plot.

In general, ATTACK THE BLOCK is a fun movie.  It's by no means a classic or incredible cinema, but its a good way to close out the summer.  I give it 7 out of 10 Bastard Ants Crawling on My Desk.

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