Friday, October 28, 2011

Attack the Block

A gang of teenagers in London find themselves doing battle with some nasty, hairy aliens with glow in the dark teeth.

This is a classic case of a movie getting overhyped before I saw it. It's funny and cute and I liked it, but when people start invoking the name of John Carpenter in their reviews I'm sort of expecting something a little more accomplished than this. Attack the Block has a great cast (this ought to be a starmaker for the kid who plays Moses, the hero) and a nice look, but its pace is rushed and uneven. I can appreciate that the filmmakers may have wanted to get right to the action and keep the momentum going, but if that was the case they should have streamlined the story more. Even coming in under 90 minutes it still has too many damn subplots and characters padding things out.

I'd say it's all more clever than successful. It has a fun screenplay with some good ideas for some cool action and suspense sequences (especially one where the kids get lost and disoriented in a smoke-filled hallway) but director Joe Cornish doesn't really have the chops to pull it off. As fun as it is to watch punk kids fight evil space monsters, the action is all kind of choppy and otherwise unremarkable in its execution.

I don't want to pile on this one too much, so I'll stop here. I still did quite enjoy it, I just wish my expectations had been set a little lower. I'd say it's more of a slight but genuine pleasure, rather than the new classic some folks have painted it as.

Grade: B-

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