Aliens in the Attic

2009-10-01 16:34
Aliens in the Attic

What it's about:

The Pearson family rent a large house for their summer vacation, and watch a meteor shower on the first night away. Little do they know that they witnessed an advanced scouting party of knee high aliens – the Zirkonians. These visitors set up base in the attic and plot their invasion of Earth, using a device that lets them control humans like puppets. When cousins Tom (Carter Jenkins) and Jake (Austin Butler) discover the weapon doesn’t work on kids, they gather their siblings and hatch a plan to fight off the invasion.

What we thought:

From The Famous Five to Home Alone, children get a kick out of seeing other children defeat the (preferably adult) villains, crack some jokes, and have a fantastic adventure along the way. Aliens in the Attic sticks rigidly to this formula, but ends up wallowing in mediocrity instead of unadulterated fun.

Everything is adequate, from the cast (recognisable from several TV shows), to the gags (everyone enjoys seeing a pompous ass getting shot in groin with a paintball gun), to the well-worn story. The problem is that it aims low – it’s as if someone decided to cut all the spark and inspiration out of it and sell it straight to TV, and of course us lucky sods in SA get it at the cinema as if it’s the next big thing. Ashley Tisdale plays the eldest child Bethany, and while she may be a big star in the US, thanks to her Disney affiliation, sans her High School Musical cohorts she isn't able to rouse enough excitement.

The aliens themselves are the most annoying thing about this movie – they look alarmingly like that annoying Crazy Frog character (who 'sang' that ubiquitous ringtone by Axel F a couple of years ago) and talk in annoying clichéd voices. Their characters are all stereotypes too, and they bumble around like idiots. Even young children will begin to wonder how these technologically advanced beings fail to beat a gang of children, or why the aliens just didn’t use their mind control on the president of a country – it’s that ludicrous.

As the film progresses, the pedestrian CGI takes centre stage. There are plenty of scenes that should strike kids as awesome, but they don’t look any better than an action-packed TV ad. In the age of Pixar, Transformers, and Harry Potter, this lack of quality is actually insulting. 

The single redeeming feature is the role of Ricky (Robert Hoffman), Bethany's unlikable boyfriend, who gets turned into a human puppet. His elastic facial expressions and madcap physical comedy are the only genuinely funny things in the entire movie, and it’s a pity that he doesn’t get more screen time.

The only people who are going to enjoy this are under the age of ten, or parents who have been mentally numbed by overexposure to kids' entertainment. In the greater scheme of things, Aliens in the Attic is not that terrible, but it never reaches a level that could even be called remotely good.

A family’s vacation turns into a nightmare when alien invaders make camp in the attic of their holiday home.

tino 2009/10/05 7:34 AM
Ivan, you are correct my 9 yo & the other intended "target market" kids enjoyed it. Maybe your review aims too high? Hoffmann did a brilliant job, I have'nt laughed at slapstick in decades. I would rather say this is a "classic" kids movie & worth the watch.
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