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October 3, 2018

Aliens in the attic

Why is Aliens in the Attic a masterwork?

Okay, first of all, it’s poster sucks.  Probably the worst movie poster I’ve seen that wasn’t for some kind of bad video game adaptation.  The first impression you get from this film is that it’ll be a really cheap video game movie, or worse still, a knock off of a video game movies.

33% Rotten Tomatoes, 91% google Users.  Wow, that’s a pretty big spread.

Why do Google users like this film?  Is it because the main character is a reluctant mathlete, the kind of budding engineer who actually knows how to rate a film on google?  Do critics hate it because they’re the kind of smart kid who still arguing with mom and dad how useless math is?  maybe.

Though the hero is a nerd, Aliens in the Attic totally destroys the kind of gross out geek that film critics like to identify with.  The obnoxious boyfriend gets owned, and becomes robotically controlled.  This is a kind of deep catharsis that a lot of teenage girls and their brothers love.  It makes a change from films like Dirty Dancing where the protective brother is the bad guy.

Now, the characters look weird.  But, despite being cartoonish, they are completely believable as part of the world, just as Pete’s Dragon and Roger Rabbit seem to be part of the real world.  In fact, the real world is more real than other cartoon-hybrid films, with characters that don’t have to be orphans or jaded detectives.  These are ordinary people, and even played by TV level character actors.

Yet, despite the fact that it at first appears to be a made-for-tv video-game-knockoff, the story of Aliens in the Attic offers something unique enough to be cinematic.  These aren’t merely Goonies going for a coming of age in stereotypical roles, these are thinking, moral humans, who are so real that it kind of hurts.

The kids are cousins, and so the meeting of these personalities is not as contrived as it might be elsewhere.  The unity against a common enemy is psychologically close to what similar aged cousins would experience in real life.  Sure, aliens aren’t real, but they’re not as stereotypical as the gangsters.  These aliens are simply adults who haven’t grown up yet, learning from the kids what it means to behave and to stand up for yourself.

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