I hate middle school kids. They have an inflated sense of confidence from a lack of experience and their body chemistry dumping an excessive amount of testosterone into their system. Sex becomes an option, competition becomes more than a game, and all of a sudden they believe their opinions not only matter, but are correct. On top of all that, they are too young to punch.
“Attack the Block” is an amazing accomplishment for it stars these over-confidant bastards, and is still entertaining. “Attack the Block” is an english film about a group of South London hoodlums defending their territory from an alien invasion. It’s kind of like a small scale “Independence Day.” Even though it’s an alien invasion flick, the events of the invasion are centered in one location.
Shortly after mugging a woman, a meteorite crashes down next to the prepubescent gang. After a moment of inspection, a four foot eyeless alien with jagged teeth lunges towards them. The leader of the gang, Moses (John Boyega), kills it with his bare hands and parades it around as if it were a hockey trophy. Not long after the first encounter, hundreds of meteorites crash in their town. Much larger and much more dangerous aliens emerge from the craters. The aliens are feral creatures that don’t have motives passed their primal instincts. They are much more like the aliens in “Alien” than the methodical and intelligent alien from “Predator.” They look similar to an eyeless black gorilla-bear with large glowing teeth. It’s neat to see an alien that doesn’t really resemble anything you’ve seen before.
On paper, this movie should be terrible, but it turns out to be incredibly well made. The cinematography is sleek, the soundtrack is stellar, the effects meld well with South London, the pacing is energetic, and the performances are so well executed that you start to care about morally corrupt and annoying leads. John Boyega steals the show as the stoic and steely Moses. It’s an accomplishment for anyone to play the grizzled hero, but to do so as a 15 year old is unheard of. According to his IMDB, this is his first movie, so I’m curious to see what else he has to offer.
This is also the directorial debut of Joe Cornish. Who’s Joe Cornish? I’m not sure, but his ability to bring all this great talent together, and produce a fun movie like “Attack the Block” is impressive. He made a movie that seemed unique, but at the same time nostalgic.
If you ever talk to me about kids movies, I go on a rant about how they’re water downed and give children sugar coated expectations for life. “The Goonies,” “Land Before Time,” and “Time Bandits” are made for children but they deal with life threatening and horrifying situations. I’m not suggesting that these movies will prepare kids for alien invasions or situations involving time travel, but life has a large bandwidth of emotions. Being respectfully introduced to those emotions at a young age is a nice precursor to adult life. Those movies are entertaining, and at the same time, don’t talk down to kids. They assume kids are intelligent and give them challenging ideas like being alone, death, and responsibility. Little Foot watches his mother get killed in “Land Before Time.” I like“Happy Feet,” but I haven’t solved many problems with dancing.
I feel that “Attack the Block” does something that very few movies geared toward young adults do. It looks at them eye to eye and demands something of them. It’s a fun movie, where 15 year olds kick-ass, die, make poor decisions, and grow up a little bit. It’s violent, funny, and dramatic when it has to be. This is a good movie overall, but it’s one of the best movies made for that age range. If more middle school kids watched movies like this, I may not want to hit them so much when I see them.