Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Aliens in the Attic

E.T. Go Home

I think I'm in a phase now where this holiday season's family friendly fare such as G-Force have more than surprised and satisfied in its entertainment value. They're not fantastic films, and perhaps my judgement over them has given way to nostalgia, where once I had unabashedly enjoyed films such as Honey I Shrunk the Kids, and Home Alone, with kids triumphing over the clueless adults in the films.

I didn't expect Aliens in the Attic to entertain as much as it did, given that the trailer was too cheesy and has that all too familiar storyline where it's kids versus aliens who want to take over the world, as usual. Moreover, the first 15 minutes in setting up the premise was pretty much a chore to sit through, where the family characters get introduced. Parents aside, we have Tom Pearson (Carter Jenkins) and his cousin Jake (Austin Robert Butler) leading the charge, together with Tom's little sister Hannah (Ashley Boettcher) who's in this reminiscent of Drew Barrymore's turn in ET, and twins Art and Lee (Henri and Regan Young respectively), as kids are immune to the alien's mind-control weapons.

In a mix of CG and live action, the CG aliens' lack of size makes for situations for laughter. Led by the voice talents of Thomas Haden Church, three of them are hell bent on completing their mission which has something to do with the Pearson's holiday home in calling for an invasion. But their weapons and tactics all seem to be impotent against the kids, especially since their engineer Sparks (voiced by Josh Peck) is very reluctant in assisting the cause of its peers, and somewhat drawing a parallel with Tom as the geek outcast standing out amongst the cool crowd.

Much of the fun here comes from the use of the “human Wii controller”, which allows the wielder to become the puppet master on its unfortunate victim. This you would already see in the trailer where grandmother Nana (Doris Roberts) slugs it out with an obnoxious teenager Ricky (Robert Hoffman) in quite artificially crafted scene. Thankfully though the best and funnier parts got kept under wraps, and credit goes to Hoffman for doing some really crazy antics that would likely leave you in stitches.

The plot's pretty straightforward and lightweight as well besides the fact that it's very much a predictable fare suited for a family outing, with positive messages to take away such as cooperation, and obeying your parents (told you this was a film targeted at kids). Stay in your seats as the end credits roll, because some outtakes will come on screen midway through, which provides a last hurrah for laughter.

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