The Gist: South London youths fight alien invasion on estate.
Outer space comes to the inner city. *Joygasm* Right? Nope. This film was an attempt to cross Kidulthood with Alien. Both great concepts in their own right, but combined is like custard and cheese spread on a cowpat cracker.
The lead character’s name is Moses. As in, leading the people to the promised land, The Chosen One, Moses? Just because you’re stupid enough to ‘merc’ a dog-like-alien, get all your friends killed, and then make up for it by cleaning up your own mess (killing the invading aliens), does not make you The Chosen One.
I did not like how ATB made out like it is OK to go around mugging women when you’re down in your luck. If you've ever walked through or past a group of boys dressed and acting like the above (an actual still from the film) by yourself and are semi attractive you will know how truly terrifying it is. And they make out like it's not a big deal.
The message is twisted beyond any sane recognition ... but then maybe the message was never meant to be there in the first place, which is a problem for me when you throw a bunch of teens from South London up on the screen and show them ambushing women, peddling A Class drugs and carrying deadly weaponry. There has to be a solid message to the teen audience this film will undoubtedly attract, otherwise what was the point of putting the stereotypes in there?
Was it meant to be a comedy? Was there never meant to be a social statement? Was it meant to be taken seriously as a Sci-Fi flick? I just can’t tell you. In fact, I refuse to believe this Director has accepted this as the norm, and have decided he royally cocked up the message.
Allow me to give you a snippet of the dialog in this film; “I'm killing 'em, I'm killing 'em straight.” *deep sigh* Yeah ... yeah, I know what you’re thinking.
All of the characters deserved to get eaten. Are we Keeping It Real? Those boys would have all died. Period. They would have gotten chewed up by those odd Alien-esque-glowing-teeth-on-the-blacker-than-black-Wookie-like-beasts, and spat out. Balaclavas and all. There was a feeble attempt to make me feel sympathy for these youths, and toward the end I almost felt guilty for hating them for what they were; thugs. Thugs who knew right from wrong, but had decided to take the easy way out and be ruffians.
Opposed to some other reviews I’ve seen, I thought it was shot well, paced well, and the performances from the actors was high quality. The effects were pretty good, better than I expected. Even the script wasn’t that bad. The mixing of concepts was what done this film in.
Ultimately, in this cinematic experience you get excessive cultural references and annoying stereotypes (that need to die now, but keep being reinforced by films like this). It was not that funny. More like cringe and laugh ... laugh because this is too painful ... laugh before it becomes uncomfortable to watch.
One thing I did note, I went to see this on a Friday night (at The O2) and the showing was empty. Ouch.
I don’t rate films with stars because I find it pointless. What’s good to me won’t be good to you, and vice versa. I recommend everything I read and watch because it’s down to the individual to make their own damn mind up. What I will say, is don’t get your hopes up, like I did.
Director: Joe Cornish
Running Time: 88 minutes