The teen heroes of the last year’s best alien invasion film “Attack The Block” will probably save the Earth, but they’ll have to ask mom first. And thanks to the massive marketing budgets of “Battle: Los Angeles” and “Skyline”, their working-class heroism has gone largely unacknowledged.
I have a suggestion for the makers of alien invasion schlockbusters Battle: Los Angeles and Skyline. I think they should surrender enough of their grotesquely immense profits to the makers of the REAL winner of the past year’s alien invasion movie invasion – Attack the Block – that it at least breaks even at the box office. I mean, I’m not going to be as mean as Roger Ebert about it, but as excellent as “Saving Private Ryan”, “Blackhawk Down”, and “District 9″ were, there’s no need to spend 70 million bucks chopping them together haphazardly into ANOTHER film, wasting thousands of people-hours of solid acting, dynamic camera work, and expensive consultations with the military, only to turn out a heartless war movie sprinkled sparingly with aliens. And “Skyline” – in spite of its inventive alien visuals and the potential in its “human brains as energy” premise – seemed to share two of the greatest weaknesses of “Battle”. If you’re going to hire a bunch of actors and make them act a bunch, at least let them act like people someone will CARE about. In both films, I think many viewers probably CHEERED the demise of key characters not only because they were fundamentally unlikeable, but also because it meant the movie would end that much sooner. At least in films like “Independence Day” you got to see absurdly gratifying moments like Will Smith dragging the alien through the desert cussing. If you haven’t seen “Attack The Block”, put it on the top of your list. It’s probably one of the most fun alien invasion films since Mars Attacks! It was produced by the same people that brought us “Shaun of the Dead”, and is a gratifying 88 minutes of stylish visuals, amusingly engaging action, and meta-ironic social commentary. All taking place in a single working class flatblock of South London. Hilariously, for the film’s American release, Sony Pictures came close to adding subtitles, concerned that American audiences wouldn’t be able to understand the characters’ South London “Jafaican” accents. Thankfully, they left well enough alone; the street slang banter of the kids as they battle the aliens is about half of the genius of the film. You owe it to yourself to watch “Attack” the next time you’re looking for some humorous adventure in your sci-fi, and we ALL owe it to the film’s creators to at least help them break even. This little flick is a gem.
|Attack the Block is hands down the best of the last year’s alien invasion films. Sadly, in spite of its meager 13 million dollar budget, it still hasn’t broken even with a box office of just over 5 million as of this writing. Budget: $13 million, Box Office: $5,287,439|
|Skyline has some stylish aliens, but I think the general intention of having a bunch of people act a lot before you kill them is to give viewers a chance to get to like them. I rather enjoyed the demise of the characters myself. Budget: $20 million, Box Office: $67,520,213|
|The makers of Battle: Los Angeles tried to sue the makers of Skyline, who were also their special effects people. While this may have been somewhat legit, it may have helped if the creators of the film were creating something more than a mashup of “Private Ryan”, “District 9″ and “Blackhawk Down”. Budget: $70 million,
Box Office: $202,466,756
|What a difference an “of” makes. Replace the colon in Battle:Los Angeles. Release it on the same weekend. Profit. This mockbuster probably has done more to confuse consumers than Skyline EVER could. Interestingly, the movie isn’t even set in LA. Budget: N/A, Box Office: N/A|