Here is why older people don’t understand today’s kids: Aliens in the Attic features two twin boys, both video game fans. One of them is wearing a t-shirt for the Atari 2600 game Grand Prix. Does anyone believe the kid has played the game, let alone know what it is while they pound away on their DS in the car?
More than likely not, but Aliens in the Attic loves video games, or at least as much as those corporate sponsors from Nintendo and Microsoft were willing to pay for the plugs. A Nintendo DS is prominently used as a brief plot device, a Wii is seen in the background being played, and actual dialogue mentions the alien invasion is “… like the Wii” because it is “real.”
It could be said it is necessary for the plot, as the flatly developed aliens utilize a mind control device on the adults that allows them to be controlled with the technology. When the kids gain access to this, they torture their sister’s boyfriend Ricky (Robert Hoffman) by making him slap himself and dance stupidly. This provides the best laughs in the film, along with another video game inspired moment from Nana Rose (Doris Roberts) as she dragon punches the remote controlled Ricky after falling under the technological spell herself.
Aliens in the Attic knows its audience, moving quickly to the alien invasion which concerns a meager four creatures, as a recon team of sorts, smashing into the summer home of the Pearson’s. The adults are of course baffled by the behavior of their children, and are wisely eliminated from a portion of the story so the kids remain the focus.
The target audience should be able to identify with one of these stock characters (many of whom would be destined for death in a slasher film), from the bullied math genius, little girl who befriends the cute Zircon invader, above mentioned video game fanatic twins, and the apparent jock. Ashley Tisdale (of High School Musical fame) plays a high schooler obsessed with her boyfriend, leading to plenty of botched romantic moments the younger kids in the audience should be pleased with.
Aliens in the Attic is nothing if not engaging for kids. The aliens are creepy but non-threatening, and their assault leads to plenty of antics, including some lively, harmless action to keep them on-screen for the duration. The ending is completely absurd, with the aliens increased to the size of trees, yet the oblivious parents fail to hear the action while staring at fireworks in the backyard. While entirely forgettable, Aliens in the Attic should meet any grade schoolers expectations, and the parents only have to suffer through the general blandness for about 80 minutes.
Fox delivers a crisp AVC encode that will likely be the most pleasing aspect to those sitting down with their kids for this one. A bright contrast accentuates the saturated, strong color and accurate flesh tones. Black levels are wonderful, and remain so for the running time. Shadow delineation is fine, maintaining the excellent (if inconsistent) facial detail in darker areas such as the basement.
Aliens in the Attic starts a little rough, with the shot of a house revealing some excessive noise, but it immediately turns itself around. Noise is rare for the rest of the movie. A fine layer of film grain is unobtrusive, and the encode holds up without artifacting. Alien armor (or it could just be their style on planet Zircon) is a nightmare of flickering, but remains a mild distraction and not necessarily an encode fault.
A DTS-HD mix is at times flatter than expected given the amount of action, but more than serviceable. The alien’s first appearance is nicely heightened by blowing wind and leaves in the rears. The front soundstage is rather expansive, offering some decent effects split into the stereo channels.
Other action scenes such as the zero gravity fight remain mostly in the front, with sporadic rear usage. Bass is strong as cars move into the frame blaring their stereos, and during the finale as Doris Roberts beats up Robert Hoffman. Each time they hit the ground, the low-end reacts powerfully.
A fireworks assault inside the vents of the house is another highlight, with the echoes filling the room appropriately. The track excels in the mid and high range, with crisp pops from the explosions and clear dialogue.
Fox’s zero-extras rental exclusives make it impossible to review the bonus features without a review copy, which the studio did not send. This review will be updated if a retail edition is obtained.