I love Adam and Joe’s 6 Music show on a Saturday morning. It’s wickedly funny and brilliantly inventive in its humour, audience engaging and cod songwriting skits (Song Wars) so the notion of Joe Cornish writing and directing an Alien movie was intriguing, if difficult to predict what the outcome might be. But IMDB liked it so I went for it this afternoon.
The concept is built around what might happen if an alien invasion started in a council tower block scheme in South London and the band of brothers that inevitably unite to repel the invasion are a bunch of skanky kids and trainee villians.
It’s a nice elevator pitch, particularly when you throw in the fact that the only female in the posse is adopted, much against her will, after being held up and robbed by the bro’s in the opening scene of the film.
But I’m sorry to say it’s a bit of a curate’s egg if I’m honest.
The issue is that it can’t decide whether it’s a comedy (and if so would have been a challenger to Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland – and lost), a social commentary piece or a full-on monster movie (in which case it would be comparable to low budget shockers like Monsters, District 9 or Cloverfield – and lose to all three of them too).
In the event it’s all of these and none of them. And that’s the problem.
It’s partly let down by casting with most of the performances at best workmanlike and at worst either amateur (which I suppose most of the cast is) or caricaturised.
The special effects are really quite good, albeit done on a budget, but imaginatively so. In particular the monsters with their ultra-black bodies and fluorescent green teeth (nothing else) are a bit like honey monsters gone bad which gives them an air of the humorous but at times downright creepy.
I wanted to like this movie more and I suspect it’s Joe Cornish’s winning personality that has got him the funding for it and the, mostly, kind reviews.
But the truth is, it ain’t that great.
If you stumbled upon it on the telly I think you’d be pleasantly surprised but for a full ticket cinema admission it’s pushing its luck.