Spend Your Money on Attack the Block!
Last weekend, I had plans to see Harry Potter. I still haven’t seen it and was looking forward to the final installment. The person accompanying me to the movie suggested an alternative. “Hey, there are a few other things that are playing that might be interesting…” When he suggested Attack the Block, I jumped at the chance. I’d been hearing nothing but good things about it since it’s initial release in England and limited release in the US. Seriously, only good things, this entire time. So when the opportunity came to see Attack, I went for it. “We should see that right now. Harry Potter will be in theaters forever. We may not get another chance to see this movie.” So see it we did. And it was GOOD. Attack the Block made every other movie I’ve seen this year pale in comparison. This is the movie that ultimately answers the question I posed in my last post: You want me to see WHAT?!?!
Attack the Block was written and directed by Joe Cornish, who is also writing the upcoming Ant Man and Tin Tin movies. If you’re interested but skeptical about either of those films, this is your chance to see the man in action. He’s got a few British TV directing credits, but mostly he’s someone with whom I’m not familiar. If Attack the Block is any indication of how good Ant Man will be, it could very well end up being one of my favorite movies of the year it comes out. But I digress. Back the Attack the Block.
Attack the Block is the story of a group of London teens, who are essentially from the projects, defending their homes against an alien invasion. And that is really all you need to know about the plot.** It’s not a big budget blockbuster. It doesn’t have a bunch of CGI. In fact, I’m pretty sure the aliens were a bunch of guys in suits. AND IT WORKED. It was thrilling and scary and funny and everything Super 8 was trying to be. It brought back my nostalgia for the monster movies of yore. It had some similarities to 50′s sci-fi alien invasion movies without being cheesy. And it did all of this with what looked like a shoestring budget (IMDB estimates the budget to be around $9M). Take that Cameron and Spielberg, because I enjoyed this movie a whole lot more than I enjoyed Avatar and Super 8! Forget those films. This is the movie that needs your money. And for your sake, I doubt that it will last very long in theaters, so if you want to enjoy this on the big screen you need to move quickly.
- Dialogue: Although it may take you a little while to get used to the patois the London street kids use, the dialogue is immediately better than the thrown together mishmash of words that pass for a script in some of these summer blockbusters. It feels a lot more natural than other street kid dialogue that I’ve heard in movies.
- Acting: The acting is solid too. For many of the main actors, Attack was their first film. This appealed to my ever present desire to see unknown actors up on the screen rather than a movie being a vehicle driven by a big name. Nick Frost is the exception, being the only well known star and his part is relatively minor compared to the other characters.
- SFX: Alien design in Attack the Block was intriguing and well done. Unlike some movies where the monsters/aliens/ghosts/etc. are scary up until you actually see them, the aliens from Attack the Block continue to be frightening even after the reveal.
- Tagline: Inner City vs. Outer Space. I get it. I understand the tagline dynamic. But I hate this one. Although to be fair, I hate most tag lines. I’m sure you could make an argument that this one is poking fun at other sci fi movie tags, but in the end it just makes me annoyed.
- Length: Its only 88 minutes! In most ways, this is probably a good things. This movie is very trim. There aren’t a lot of parts that felt unnecessary. If there was any spare weight, they cut it and that means that there really are no bad scenes. Unlike some movies, where you see a scene and it doesn’t make sense because they cut all the lead up or explanation to it, or you can tell the actor just really wanted to do this one thing and the director gave it; Attack the Block makes sense through and through. And I didn’t leave the movie feeling unsatisfied by its brevity, but I do wish it had been longer.
Overall: If you’ve got the money, make the time, because I know Attack the Block will not let you down.
** Normally I don’t like reviews that give you a long summary of the plot of the item being reviewed. I think it’s a tactic for eating up space and making a review seems longer, without actually contributing much to the review. If you want to know the ins and outs of the plot, look it up, because you won’t find it in most reviews I write.