Aliens in the Attic

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Aliens in the Attic

Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn Schultz
Produced byBarry Josephson
Written byMark Burton
Adam F. Goldberg
StarringCarter Jenkins
Ashley Tisdale
Austin Butler
Robert Hoffman
Kevin Nealon
Doris Roberts
Tim Meadows
Voices:
Josh Peck
J. K. Simmons
Kari Wahlgren
Thomas Haden Church
Music byJohn Debney
CinematographyDon Burgess
Editing byJohn Pace
StudioRegency Enterprises
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date(s)
  • July 31, 2009 (2009-07-31)
Running time107 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$45 million[1]
Box office$57,881,056[1]
 
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Aliens in the Attic

Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn Schultz
Produced byBarry Josephson
Written byMark Burton
Adam F. Goldberg
StarringCarter Jenkins
Ashley Tisdale
Austin Butler
Robert Hoffman
Kevin Nealon
Doris Roberts
Tim Meadows
Voices:
Josh Peck
J. K. Simmons
Kari Wahlgren
Thomas Haden Church
Music byJohn Debney
CinematographyDon Burgess
Editing byJohn Pace
StudioRegency Enterprises
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date(s)
  • July 31, 2009 (2009-07-31)
Running time107 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$45 million[1]
Box office$57,881,056[1]

Aliens in the Attic is a 2009 American family science fiction comedy film produced by 20th Century Fox and Regency Enterprises and starring Carter Jenkins, Ashley Tisdale, Robert Hoffman, Henri Young, Regan Young and Austin Butler.[2] The plot revolves around the children in the Pearson family having to defend their vacation house. The film was previously titled They Came from Upstairs, which is instead used as the film's tag line. A video game of the same name was released as well.

Contents

Plot

A meteor shower rockets through open space. Four glowing pods are seen hiding behind the meteor shower. Suddenly the meteor shower makes a hard right and heads towards a distant planet Earth.

In a Chicago suburb, Stuart Pearson (Kevin Nealon) and his wife Nina (Gillian Vigman) head a family that includes 7-year-old Hannah (Ashley Boettcher); 17-year-old sister Bethany (Ashley Tisdale), who's just returned from a secret outing with her boyfriend Ricky Dillman (Robert Hoffman), and 15-year-old techno-geek Tom (Carter Jenkins) whose high school grades are low. Deciding the family needs some good old-fashioned togetherness, Stuart takes them to a holiday home in the middle of nowhere. Joining them is Uncle Nate (Andy Richter), Nate's 14-year-old son Jake (Austin Butler), Nana Rose (Doris Roberts), and identical 12-year-old twins Art (Henri Young) and Lee (Regan Young). Ricky also arrives unexpectedly and talks his way into staying overnight.

That night dark storm clouds swirl around the house. Suddenly, the four glowing pods land on the roof. An alien crew emerges, made up of Skip (J. K. Simmons), the tough commander, Tazer (Thomas Haden Church), a muscle-bound dude armed to the teeth, Razor (Kari Wahlgren), a lethal female alien soldier, and Sparks (Josh Peck), a four-armed techie, who is the only non-threatening intruder. Since the aliens knocked over the satellite dish Ricky and Tom are sent to fix it. Ricky then reveals to Tom that he lied about everything so far, his car didn't break down, his parents don't own a lake house, he's a lot older than 18. Ricky is actually in college and is five years older than Bethany. They find the satellite is beyond repair. Investigating further they discover the aliens. Skip tries to lull Tom and Jake into a false sense of security, but fails. Ricky is captured and implanted with a mind control device. The aliens, called "Zirkonians", via Ricky, lay claim to the planet (when asked why they didn't just say it themselves Skip responds, "This way is more fun.") Like a puppet/robot, Ricky grabs the boys - but Tom and Jake break free.

It isn't long before all five kids have seen the aliens. Tom takes charge and the kids discover the mind control device only works on grownups, giving them a fighting chance. They realize the have a responsibility to protect the adults by keeping the aliens' existence a secret. Left on their own, the kids create makeshift weapons, like a home made potato spud gun. They even obtain and learn to use the mind controller. They soon take control of Ricky and turn him against the aliens.

The adults remain oblivious and insist the youngsters go on a fishing expedition. Meanwhile Hannah and gentle tech Sparks become friends. Unlike his alien cohorts, Sparks hates battle; he just wants to return home to his family. As the aliens attack, the kids start to fight back. Meanwhile, Jake gets captured by the Zirkonians and is tied up and in the basement. Nana Rose comes under the control of the mind control device, which gives her super-human strength and agility. Under the control of the kids, she comes to their rescue and fights off Ricky, who is again under alien control. Nana gives Ricky a huge electric jolt, causing the alien plug to dislodge. Ricky then and there breaks up with Bethany because she talks about feelings and family too much.

The kids finally reveal to Bethany what's going on, and Sparks helps by making weapons for them. He also reveals the aliens want a device hidden under the basement which will make them grow giant. After rescuing Jake, the kids defeat Skip, Tazer and Razor, who flee on their teleporting machine. Sparks calls off the invasion and returns home. The rest of the vacation goes back to normal, except the kids grew closer to each other during their adventure. In the distance, Skip (apparently thrown clear when his ship left) appears, bent on revenge against the humans, but meets his demise when a crow flies by and carries Skip off to its nest to eat him.

During the credits, Bethany and Tom take revenge on Ricky by making him look like a fool in front of his new girlfriend, using the alien mind control device. Bethany comments "I am so keeping this".

Cast

Production

Development

The script was written by Mark Burton and Adam F. Goldberg. The film is co-financed by Fox and Regency while being distributed by Fox.[2][3] Fox snapped up the script in March 2006.[3] Marc Resteghini was overseeing for Fox while Kara Francis Smith shepherds for Regency. Barry Josephson was confirmed as the main producer while Thor Freudenthal was hired to direct principal production.[4] The principal production began in March, 2007.[4] The film was originally titled They Came from Upstairs but later changed to Aliens in the Attic while the first title is instead used as the film's tag line.[3] Ashley Tisdale's involvement in the film was confirmed in January 2008 as she was cast as Bethany Pearson.[2] Robert Hoffman, Carter Jenkins and Austin Butler were later cast in the film. Doris Roberts was signed on to the film in February 2008.[5] MTV confirmed that Josh Peck joined the cast as the voice of the alien Sparks.[6] John Debney composed the original score for the film. Tisdale recorded a song titled "Switch" for the film, which is also included in her second album, Guilty Pleasure. The original motion picture soundtrack was released on August 18, 2009.[7]

Filming

Principal photography began at the end of January 2008 in Auckland, New Zealand.[2][8] Auckland-based production company New Upstairs Productions said filming would run for 30–40 days from January 28 to April 18, 2008 with no filming in weekends.[9] The film was set in a rambling old villa transported from Remuera to a farm in North Auckland. The main set was an old manor and they spent $700,000 restoring the house.[9] The main shooting ended in mid-March 2008.[10] Tisdale, Butler and Jenkins went back to the set to shoot last-minutes scenes for the film on April 2009.[11]

Release

The film was released on July 30, 2009, in Russia and Malaysia; July 31, 2009 in United States, Canada, and Bulgaria; August 12 in the United Kingdom; September 3, 2009 in Australia. The film's original release date was in January 2009 but it was pushed back for unknown reasons.[12] The UK release also coincided with a charity auction for Save The Children which teamed up with eBay and 20th Century Fox where various celebrities, including several actors from the movie, sold items from their attics to raise money for the charity.[13]

Critical reception

The film has received mixed to negative reviews from critics; the film holds a 31% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 71 reviews, with the consensus stating "Inoffensive and kid-friendly, this mundane family comedy is light on imagination."[14] Metacritic gives the film a score of 42 based on 10 reviews.[15]

Entertainment Weekly described the film as "a pointless and harmless family adventure that doesn't mentally assault the 12-and-over set and looks like a lot of fun",[16] while San Francisco Chronicle has described the movie as being unoriginal and crowd pleasing.[17]

Variety stated the film doubtless would appeal primarily to a more narrow demographic of tweens and pre-teens and despite Tisdale's presence, it’s difficult to imagine many ticket buyers between the ages of 12 and 18[18] while The New York Times described Jenkins and Butler as the actors with more personality and Hoffman as the actor who provides the film’s occasional funny moments.[19]

The Los Angeles Times said the film is "an enjoyable kid-friendly film but not an out-of-this-world classic" and also mentioned the film belonged to Hoffman[20] and Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter said the director John Schultz played everything for laughs and earns a more than a few but tech effects deliver a fair number of those laughs and described the film as an "amusing family comedy".[21] Radio Times gave the film a three out of five stars rating, saying that the film is "a thrilling children's yarn with enough pop-culture references to hold grown-ups' interest".[22]

The Dove Foundation praised the film, saying it is "one of those movies that you find to be better than anticipated" and also said the film draws on realism in family dynamics.[23] Lara Martin of Digital Spy described the film as a "kid-friendly mix of Men In Black crossed with Gremlins with a healthy dose of Home Alone-style violence" and also mentioned that one of the biggest disappointments in the movie is the lack of screen time given to Tisdale, billed as one of the leading actors and concluded saying it seems "a bizarre and sad waste of her obvious comedic talent".[24] However, The Miami Herald gave a mixed to negative review, saying the film is a "children's movie mix of live-action and animation, it has a few positive messages, a few laughs and a few comic throwdowns".[25]

Box office

In the US, the film was distributed by 3,106 theaters, but grossed a disappointing $2.9 million on its first day, and $8 million its opening weekend, resulting in #5 in the box office.[1] The film has grossed the equivalent of US$1.3 million in Russia, US$10 million in United Kingdom, and a total of US$57 million worldwide total.[1][26]

Awards and nominations

Home media

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on November 3, 2009.

Video game

Aliens in the Attic
Developer(s)Playlogic
Publisher(s)Playlogic
Platform(s)Wii, PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS, PC
Release date(s)August 4, 2009
Genre(s)Action-adventure
Mode(s)Single player

A video game based on the film was released August 4, 2009, developed by Revistronic and published by Playlogic. The game features the storyline of the film and is available for Wii, PlayStation 2 Nintendo DS and Windows PC. The game also offers players two different gameplay perspectives depending upon which video game platform player choose.[29] For Wii, Nintendo DS PlayStation 2 and Windows PC player, the game allows player to play as Art Lee Tom Hannah Jake Bethany and The Four Alien Exploers featuring 15 levels.

References

  1. ^ a b c d Box Office Mojo. Aliens in the Attic.
  2. ^ a b c d "Tisdale climbs to film in "Upstairs"". Archived from the original on 2008-05-02. http://web.archive.org/web/20080502150615/http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/film/news/e3i3fd4ee13311f0402cc4f33aeb4254a72. Retrieved 2008-01-12. 
  3. ^ a b c "Fox Heads 'Upstairs' With Burton". Variety. 2006-03-02. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117939196.html?cs=1&query=they+came+from+upstairs. Retrieved 2008-01-12. 
  4. ^ a b LaPorte, Nicole (2007-01-22). "Freudenthal to Direct 'Upstairs'". Variety. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117957918.html?categoryid=13&cs=1&query=they+came+from+upstairs. Retrieved 2008-01-12. 
  5. ^ Doris Roberts Signs On 'They Came from Upstairs'. Variety.com.
  6. ^ Josh Peck Heads Out Of This World For Ashley Tisdale's Sci-Fi Flick 'Upstairs' MTV.com. Retrieved on 04-03-2009.
  7. ^ Aliens in the Attic: Soundtrack. Amazon.com.
  8. ^ "Tisdale set to join "They came from Upstairs"". Archived from the original on 11 January 2008. http://www.movieweb.com/news/96/25596.php. Retrieved 2008-01-12. 
  9. ^ a b Shepheard, Nicola. "Hollywood Movie Filming At Auckland Manor". The New Zealand Herald. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10489055. Retrieved 2008-01-12. 
  10. ^ "NZ's Just What She's Been Looking For". The New Zealand Herald. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=10495444. Retrieved 2008-01-12. 
  11. ^ Back to 'Aliens in the Attic' Set. Ashleytisdale.com. Retrieved on 2009-07-14.
  12. ^ Vena, Jocelyn.Ashley Tisdale Hones Alien-Fighting Skills In 'They Came From Upstairs'. MTV.com. Retrieved on 2009-08-15.
  13. ^ Celebrities Raid Their Attics For The Children's Society Auction, Save The Children website, accessed 17 August 2009
  14. ^ "Aliens in the Attic Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/aliens_in_the_attic/. Retrieved 2012-03-8. 
  15. ^ "Aliens in the Attic". Metacritic. http://www.metacritic.com/movie/aliens-in-the-attic. Retrieved 2012-03-8. 
  16. ^ Aliens in the Attic Review. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2009-08-15.
  17. ^ Hartlaub, Peter (2009-08-03). "Movie review: 'Aliens in the Attic'". The San Francisco Chronicle. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/07/31/DDCJ192BNO.DTL&type=movies. 
  18. ^ Aliens in the Attic - Review. Variety.com. Author: Joe Leydon.
  19. ^ Aliens in the Attic. Movie Review. The New York Times.
  20. ^ Aliens in the Attic. Movie Review. The Los Angeles Times.
  21. ^ Aliens in the Attic - Review The Hollywood Reporter.
  22. ^ Aliens in the Attic - Movie Review. Radio Times
  23. ^ Aliens in the Attic - Movie Review. The Dove Foundation.
  24. ^ Aliens in the Attic - Movie Review. Digital Spy.
  25. ^ Aliens in the Attic - Movie Review. The Miami Herald.
  26. ^ "Movie Aliens in the Attic - Box Office Data, News, Cast Information". The Numbers. 2009-08-14. http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/2009/ANATC.php. Retrieved 2009-08-16. 
  27. ^ Teen Choice Awards Nominees List of Nominees.
  28. ^ Young Artist Awards Nominees List of Nominees.
  29. ^ Aliens in the Attic Video Game

External links