Synopsis: Attack the Block follows a gang of tough inner-city kids who try to defend their turf against an invasion of savage alien creatures, turning a South London apartment complex into an extraterrestrial warzone.
Release Date: July 29, 2011 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Comedy
Big Talk Productions, the people who brought the world such creative films as Paul, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Shaun of the Dead have made another modern classic. This time, they take on the science fiction genre in Attack the Block.
Attack the Block starts with a gang of hoodlums in London, led by the tough but charismatic Moses (newcomer John Boyega), mugging an unfortunate woman. The crime is interrupted by what looks to be a falling meteorite that slams into a parked car right next to everyone. The thugs approach the car, and Moses is attacked by a creature that jumps out of it.
After wounding Moses, the alien runs off into the night. Moses and his boys track it down and, wanting revenge for what the creature did, they kill it. This leads to several more aliens pummeling down from the night sky, all of them seemingly coming after Moses. The gang gathers whatever weapons they can find, including guns, bats, and fireworks, and prepares to defend their friend and neighborhood from a bonafide alien invasion.
Attack the Block is not your father’s alien invasion movie. It’s not even your older brother’s alien invasion movie. Attack the Block is a hip, modern and fun update on an age-old motif. There are no flying spaceships or laser beams in this invasion — these aliens rely on their brute force and vicious disposition to fight the humans. Written and directed by Joe Cornish (the Joe in “The Adam and Joe Show”), Attack the Block turns the alien invasion movie on its ear.
There are more characters in Attack the Block than simply Moses and his gang. The woman that the gang mugs in the opening scene is named Sam (Jodie Whitaker), and she crosses paths with the gang several more times before the film ends. Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) has an undersized role as Ron, the caretaker of the stash of a drug dealer named Hi-Hatz (Jumayn Hunter), and Luke Treadaway (Clash of the Titans) plays another block resident named Brewis.
All of these polar opposite characters must join forces to fight against the invasion. Throughout the course of the movie, villains become heroes and enemies become allies. The common enemy of the aliens makes fast friends of the residents of the block while they defend their turf from the interplanetary strike.
Joe Cornish has been very hush-hush about how the alien creatures in Attack the Block were done. He hired Mike Elizalde (who did puppetry and animatronics for Paul and Monkeybone) to design the creatures and enlisted movement coach/motion capture performer Terry Notary (credited in the cast as “The Creature,” he also did work on Avatar and Planet of the Apes) to bring the Aliens to life, so there’s no clue as to the method used in the staffing.
The creatures do not look like CGI, so they were most likely done with a combination of puppetry and good old-fashioned guy-in-a-costume. However they were done, the aliens look cool. Instead of the standard scaly reptilian aliens that audiences have come to expect in alien invasion movies, the invaders in Attack the Block look more like rabid werewolves – a flying, furry frenzy of claws and glow-in-the-dark fangs that shred anything that gets in their way. And they look great doing it.
Score and Soundtrack
The music in Attack the Block was done by Steven Price (who edited music for the last two Lord of the Rings movies as well as contributing to the music from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World) along with British electronic music duo Basement Jaxx (otherwise known as Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe). The score is the perfect mix of classic theremin-Moog synthesizer bed and trip-hop techno dance party. For an alien invasion movie like Attack the Block, which mixes old-school science fiction with new school gangster noir, the combination is perfect. The soundtrack serves as the backdrop for a fun sci-fi alien invasion movie, but could just as easily provide the theme to a kick-ass Halloween party.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Joe Cornish
- Producer(s): Joe Cornish
- Screenwriter(s): Nick Frost (Ron), Jodie Whittaker (Sam), Luke Treadaway (Brewis), John Boyega (Moses), Terry Notary (The Creature)
- Editor(s): Jonathan Amos
- Cinematographer: Thomas Townend
- Production Designer(s): Marcus Rowland
- Music Score: Steven Price
- Country Of Origin: UK