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Attack the Block follows an unlucky young woman and and a gang of tough inner-city kids who make an unlikely alliance to try to defend their turf against an invasion of savage alien creatures, turning a South London apartment complex into a war-zone. Written by
The film-makers only used CG effects when absolutely necessary, and to enhance practical effects for the creatures rather than replace them completely. Even the smaller female alien that appears before the credits was a petite woman in a creature suit. A puppet-type head was used for some of the attack shots wherein Moses is suddenly bitten. The creature's head was a carefully constructed mask that had no eyes, and even the glowing mouthful of large, carnivorous teeth were achieved by animatronics (including twelve "servos") rather than added in post. The film-makers admit that it did help save money, but also had an unexpected benefit. The actors, rather than reacting to something that wasn't there, admitted that they were genuinely and unexpectedly frightened by the look and movements of creatures actually present (especially during chase sequences when a creature/creatures would pursue them at full speed). Nearly every actor said they felt especially intimidated-- many surprisingly so-- by the physical presence in a way they would not have if the creatures had been added digitally later. The same went for the majority of the settings; the director said it added authenticity and atmosphere to shoot on a set rather in front of a green screen. See more »
It was a good movie, so why would I hesitate to recommend it to my friends?
Because the concept, aliens land in a council estate and have to deal with chavs, is clearly going to be a comedy with a bit of social commentary. If you knew nothing about the movie, you'd be thinking, "Oh boy, those aliens won't know what hit them. I'd like to see them deal with what we have to deal with every day."
But instead of comedy with a bit of social commentary, it was social commentary with a bit of comedy. And the commentary could be summed up as, these are poor misunderstood kids and the system treats them badly. Whereas the average viewer thinks these are nasty little thugs and they need to be taught a lesson on how to be decent human beings.
Gripes aside, I thought it was a good movie. The monsters were great. Particularly effective were the teeth, which looked like glowing eyes from a distance and shark mouths from close up. The film was well plotted with a good explanation of why their block was being attacked. The fights and acting were okay but not great. The dialogue was apparently authentic, but it sounded made up, like the droogs' language in A Clockwork Orange. Maybe it could have been toned down a bit. Some of the action up and down the corridors became repetitive.
One thing I missed was vignettes of how other people in the block reacted to the invasion. Just brief clips. The filmmaker lost an opportunity for laughs there.
With more humour and more humanity learned by the protagonists, this could have been a great and entertaining classic. As it is, it remains good but a bit preachy.
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