Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080p / 23.976 fps
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3656 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3656
kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio French 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
English SDH, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Thai, none
• Introductions by Ashley Tisdale
• The Ashley Encounters – in HD (4:09)
• Animated Short: Behind the Zirkonians – in HD (15:26)
• Lights! Camera! Aliens! – in HD (9:31)
• Meet the Zirkonians: Interactive fun facts
• Kung Fu Grandma
• Brian Anthony
• Fox Movie Channel Presents x Josephson – in SD (27:31)
• 3 Deleted Scenes – in HD (3:34)
• Alternate Ending – in HD (2:48)
• Gag Reel – in HD (4:54)
• Digital Copy Disc
Rare in this environment of political correctness, and given
every opportunity to be otherwise, Aliens in the Attic is
unabashedly message and irony- free. It's a fun piece of
completely frivolous, though not particularly silly family
entertainment. It's a sort of Invaders from Mars meets E.T.
by way of English-speaking Gremlins – but without the terror
or the tears. On the other hand, it's really not much of a
movie. It has little suspense or punch, and it takes too
long for the lead character, Tom Pearson (Carter Jenkins),
to find his worth. Even so, I enjoyed the time I spent with
it, though I doubt it has strong rewatchable credentials.
I'm otherwise entirely unfamiliar with the director, John
Schultz, but I see that the IMDB lists a few family films to
his credit. From the special features, he hardly looks old
enough to have any background at all, but seems he does.
Aliens in the Attic has not proven itself to be a lucrative
proposition, unable to make much more than half its budget
in ticket sales in the U.S. in the first three months since
The Movie: 5
The set up is that while the Pearson family is vacationing
at a rented summer home, aliens land on their roof who
threaten to invade the planet. To make sure that humans are
conquerable, the Zirkonians send a quartet of little green
who engage in relentless intrateam rivalry. Most on the outs
is Sparks, their young engineer, who hasn't an antagonistic
bone in his body and soon befriends some of the kids who the
aliens first want to control. The main device the Zirkonians
use is a kind of video game console that controls the
behavior of humans. As it happens, anyone under 18 is immune
to its effects, which give the kids time to defend the
territory and protect the adult - most of them anyways.
The kids may have saved the planet from an alien invasion,
but it is Robert Hoffman's amazingly rubbery performance
that steals the show, whether he's playing older sister
Ashley's two-faced boyfriend or under the mind and body
bending control of the aliens.
captures were ripped directly from the
The first number indicates a relative level of excellence
compared to other Blu-ray video discs on a ten-point scale.
The second number places this image along the full range of
DVD and Blu-ray discs.
Never having seen this movie in the theatre I can't say how
much of its increased black level and saturation is an
original effect, pressing shadows into near non-existence at
times. On the other hand, perhaps this was the filmmakers'
way of creating a certain element of suspense, which the
movie otherwise lacks. Elsewhere, there is a stunning almost
surrealistic look to the image, especially outdoors in
natural light, with beautifully rendered contrast and no
evidence of electronic haze. A normal film grain is present,
appropriately so depending on the lighting. In other
respects the transfer appears to be intact and
artifact-free, without evidence of tampering or
Audio & Music:
The uncompressed DTS HD-MA mix is certainly clear enough,
with its crisply expressed dialogue of natural sizes and
true timbres, and its dynamic music score and effects. But,
the mix was curiously uninvolving, resulting largely from a
certain carelessness to the placement of surround
information. Most disheartening was any sense of the attic
above our heads when heard from the floor below. The kids
would hear sounds from the ceiling and look up, but we
don't. On the other hand, most of the environmental sounds
(wind, rain, crickets) come into play nicely.
Hidden windows for the Extra Features, but what is there is
easy to read and access.
Clearly Fox knows who the public wants to see here, and it
ain't the aliens or the director or the boys – it's the one
and only Ashley Tisdale, who we will remember as one of few
reasons to have indulged in the High School Musical saga.
Ashley is only a supporting player in this movie, with
little to do but function as the older sister – a princess
in gestation. But as our M.C. she's just the right person to
put us in the right frame of mind for the extra features.
She even has a kind of video blog of goings on the set – in
HD, no less – titled "The Ashley Encounters".
Elsewhere, there is a clever 15-minute animated comic book
"Behind the Zirkonians" which details the backstory of their
arrival on Earth. "Meet the Zirkonians" is a less stellar
interactive contribution that describes details about each
of the alien characters. The "Gag Reel" is just your routine
series of flubs and outtakes. It's in HD, though, for what
it's worth. The alternate ending is shown with incomplete
animated aliens woven into the segment. It's worth more as a
work in progress than an alternative ending.
In place of an audio commentary, Fox offers several features
in high def, only one of which, "Lights Camera Aliens",
purports to be a production essay. It's on the short side,
but entertaining and covers the ground of special effects.
In SD, but also in an attempt to cover production, at least
in theory, is a Fox Movie Channel presents Barry Josephson
Targeted for the pre-teen set, Aliens in the Attic is
a harmless bit of fluff, not nearly as dull nor as insulting
as I expected. For what it's worth, I rather enjoyed it. The
image quality is quite good, though the audio is hardly the
stuff aliens are made of. Extra features are fun with lots
of Ashley for all.
November 9, 2009