Attack the Block - Double Play Edition Blu-ray Review
Attack the Block comes to UK Region B-locked Blu-ray with a decent enough 1080p High Definition video presentation in the movie’s original theatrically broad aspect ratio of 2.4:1 widescreen. It should be immediately noted that the Director’s intention behind this fairly low budget piece was to craft a film with a distinctly comic-book style, to which end he has gone for a low contrast, gritty look that most definitely does not lend itself towards demo home cinema presentation. But it is what was intended, so the inherent black crush, pervasive grain, and overall lack of fine object detail and clarity should largely be forgiven, even if this is never going to be used as material to show off your home entertainment equipment. The colour scheme remains intact thankfully, and detail is still good, even if far from consistent, and, with the concessions made towards the Director’s intentions, this probably looks pretty damn close to the way in which he wanted it to look, and therefore is quite hard to mark down, except on a technical level.
Conversely, the audio track is easy to praise, boasting all of the bombastic elements you might expect from a bigger budget production, and a powerful score that pummels at your eardrums during some of the more elaborate set-pieces; as well as a keen attention to detail when it comes to some of the more ambient effects present in the quieter scenes. From the buzz of the neon lights to the rustle of the aliens coming from afar, there’s a heady atmosphere to this piece, and the more prominent, thunderous moments – which normally involve fireworks – showcase some decent dynamic usage and LFE accompaniment. The score is great, and will improve your enjoyment of the movie itself no end, a succession of beat-driven tracks which reflect the teen urban environment whilst also generating some much-needed momentum in the more tense chase sequences. Unlike the video presentation, the aural accompaniment could much more readily be used to show off your home cinema equipment, and is a commendable effort.
On the extras front Attack the Block comes in a Double Play edition that boasts Blu-ray and DVD copies of the main feature, as well as a whole host of extras, including no less than three commentary tracks.
Junior Commentary has Writer/Director Joe Cornish team up with several of the younger cast members, including the leading actor John Boyega, to talk about the production, their experiences working on a movie, and a few of their experiences on the streets themselves. Refreshing and informative, this is worth checking out.
Senior Commentary then partners Cornish up with most of the older members, including Nick Frost and Jodie Whittaker, also throwing Boyega into the mix, even though he’s technically not a member of the ‘senior’ group. Thankfully there’s very little overlap here, and it is difficult to say which track is conclusively better as here we have Frost involved, and he’s always a humorous commentator, although I’d probably still listen to this second because the style of the first commentary is still more original.
Executive Producer Commentary is perhaps a commentary too far with Joe Cornish and Edgar Wright teaming up to deliver the most technically detailed offering, and one which comes with plenty of anecdotal background and reflections on their work as a whole, but which is basically too much to stomach after the other two. Perhaps if listened to across a few days this may be more accessible. It’s a shame because there’s plenty of background information relating to what it is like to make your first movie, so perhaps those interested in that side of things might want to check this track out first.
Behind the Block is an hour-long Documentary which charts the making of this production. It’s a comprehensive beast, rivalling the main feature itself in terms of length, and giving you background information into pretty-much every single aspect of this debut directorial effort, with plenty of on-set footage, b-roll clips, and interview comments, as well as comparatively little final film footage. The best thing about it, though, is the fact that it is packed to the brim with hilarious moments, mostly thanks to the comments from the younger cast members. Well worth watching.
Creature Feature is a nice 20-minute companion-piece to the main documentary, which looks exclusively at the aliens created for this piece, the difficulties that stemmed from the budgetary restrictions, and the different look that they were going for.
Meet the Gang spends just a brief 4 minutes with the young cast members themselves, and it is nice to see them off-film, rather than just hear from them, but this does not even compare to the full-length commentary that they provided.
Unfilmed Action is the closest thing we get to deleted footage, with Cornish taking us through a couple of scenes that he never got to shoot; he shows us the relevant storyboards and you can certainly imagine how they might have turned out quite good. Considering the main feature itself is really quite short, it’s a shame these were never filmed as they may well have suited a re-integration into the film for some kind of home format Extended Edition.
That’s a Rap is a brief compilation of the cast all rapping, which is quite entertaining and reflects the fun that the cast and crew must have had on set.
Finally we get a selection of Previews to round off the disc, which, somewhat annoyingly, have to be individually skipped prior to watching the movie, as well as a couple of Trailers.
Always on the look-out for a quality new indie production, Attack the Block comes recommended. From the same production company that gave us Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, Joe Cornish's directorial debut takes us to a South London council estate, where his dialogue works wonders coming out of the mouths of a bunch of local lads (not professional actors) – a group of teenage hoodies who have to protect their apartment block from an alien invasion. Don't worry, this isn't Battle: UK, but more like a modern update on Gremlins or Tremors, infused with some witty and thoroughly entertaining lines, and an unusually unpredictable script which will likely have you hooked right from the outset. There are plenty of bigger, flashier movies out there in the alien invasion genre, but it's still nice to know just how much a talented writer/director can do with a good idea and a little money.
On Region B-locked UK Blu-ray we get decent video, excellent audio, and a whole host of extras, including no less than three audio commentaries – all of which are worth a listen. Throw a DVD copy into the bargain and this comes as an easy purchase for fans of the film, and, at the very least, a recommended rental for newcomers.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £19.99
Our Review Ethos
To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.