Aliens in the Attic (2009)

Aliens in the Attic (2009)
 
 
 

Attack the Attic

Step away, hormonal female! - Ricky Dillman

Carter Jenkins and Austin Butler in Aliens in the Attic

One of the hardest things watching & reviewing a children's movie as an adult is not to be too critical and rip it to shreds. You have to remember who the target market is, what they care about and as such whilst from an adults point of view "Aliens in the Attic" has numerous issues it is the imaginative and fun sort of adventure which I am sure young audiences will enjoy. In fact it almost feels like it has been written by children, that's not a criticism, because the story which sees a group of children battling aliens is the sort of fantasy game I would have played as a young child. And so whilst there are things about "Aliens in the Attic" which annoy me I am sure young audiences will find it simply fun.

Tom Pearson (Carter Jenkins) is not looking forwards to the family holiday, in part because his parents are annoyed at him for poor grades but also because his Uncle Nate (Andy Richter) and his cousins including Jake (Austin Butler) are joining them at the rented house. And to make matters worse Ricky (Robert Hoffman - Shrooms), the smarmy boyfriend of his sister Bethany (Ashley Tisdale) also shows up. But none of that matters when Tom and Jake discover aliens in the attic who have the ability to control adults but not children. With their brothers and sisters Tom & Jake must do battle with these aliens, save their parents and send them packing before they take over the world.

Doris Roberts as Nana Rose Pearson in Aliens in the Attic

So as already mentioned "Aliens in the Attic" felt to me as if it had come from the minds of children because it comes across like an imaginative fantasy that I would have played as a young child. As such this storyline which sees a group of holidaying children do battle with 4 midget aliens they discover in their attic is not the best constructed but is simple enough to amuse young audiences. It's basically children being imaginative and tackling aliens, be it with adhoc spud guns or garden rakes all of which is dressed up with some great CGI and comedy.

The thing is that as an adult I found myself initially annoyed when something is spoon fed, we learn that the little taser darts the aliens shoot allow them to control only adult bodies. It's very forced yet it's the sort of reasoning and forced explanation which young children would have imagined acting out battling aliens, an adhoc reason conjured up to explain how something can suddenly happen. And so whilst there are more, from a musical interlude to a Matrix style fight sequence between two remote controlled adults, which from a grown ups point of view is just stupid, it is the stuff of children's imagination and is amusing for young children or I hope so.

Of course whilst we have all these battles going on, and to be frank that is all the storyline there is, it is dressed up in CGI. Now the first time we see the CGI aliens you can't but help like them, midget aliens are cute even if they are nasty but the best thing is that "Aliens in the Attic" never becomes solely about the CGI. Accompanying this CGI is a lot of humour, children's humour which is stupid but also so much fun and even as an adult I found myself laughing at much of the stupidity especially that surrounding by the kids Nan played by Doris Roberts.

Now the thing about "Aliens in the Attic" is that there really isn't a bad performance, both Carter Jenkins and Austin Butler do a good job as Tom & Jake who lead the attack on the aliens. But at the same time there is nothing which makes you remember them, in fact you are more likely to remember Doris Roberts in what is really a small part because she has the funniest scene. Of course young children will be more entertained by the alien midgets and so this is again something which is only a problem for grown ups who find themselves watching this.

What this all boils down to is that "Aliens in the Attic" is I hope an entertaining movie for young audiences who will like the imaginative fun of children taking on a bunch of aliens. But for adults it does serve up little to keep them entertained with the exception of a fun scene featuring Doris Roberts.

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