Attack the Block appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. The image always looked solid.
For the most part, sharpness looked good. A little softness crept into the image at times, but not frequently. Instead, the movie almost always appeared nicely detailed and distinctive. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge haloes remained absent. Source flaws were a non-factor, as this was a clean presentation.
In terms of colors, the movie went with a yellow “sodium vapor” or a heavy blue most of the time. The tones consistently seemed clear and concise within those parameters. Blacks were deep and firm, while low-light shots came across as appropriately dense but not overly dark. Overall, the picture appeared positive.
I also felt pleased with the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Block. An action-comedy that didn’t skimp on the “action” side of things, all of the battle shenanigans ensured that the mix offered plenty of involving material. The chaos filled out the spectrum in an active, involving manner that created a fair amount of exciting audio.
Audio quality also was very good. Speech seemed crisp and distinctive, as I noticed no flaws like edginess. Music seemed warm and full, while effects added a real bang to the proceedings. Those elements showed good clarity and accuracy, and they offered tight, deep bass as well. The track seemed vibrant and dynamic as it accentuated the movie in a satisfying manner.
We get a pretty solid set of supplements here, and we start with two separate audio commentaries. The first comes from writer/director Joe Cornish and actors John Boyega, Alex Esmail, Franz Drameh, Simon Howard and Leeon Jones. Billed as a “junior commentary” due to the presence of the young performers, all six sit together for a running, screen-specific look at what the actors were doing when they heard of the film, their prior experiences and how they were cast, thoughts about the script and characters, sets and locations, and notes on other cast and crew.
Group commentaries can be messy, but Cornish acts mostly as moderator here, which helps keep the track organized. Indeed, at the start, he mentions the common problems with commentaries – too much praise, too many obvious remarks – and swears he’ll avoid them.
And he usually does, though he doesn’t offer a lot of his own information. Cornish serves to prompt the actors and keep the conversation moving. He does this well, and he helps make the “junior commentary” significantly more thoughtful and engaging than I expected. Chats with young actors can be a silly drag, but this turns into surprisingly rich piece.
Called the “senior commentary”, the second track involves Joe Cornish and actors Jodie Whittaker, Luke Treadaway, Nick Frost, John Boyega, Alex Esmail, and Franz Drameh. All seven sit together for a running, screen-specific chat, though I should note that Drameh remains in the background much of the time; he’s there informally and doesn’t do much during the piece.
At the start, Cornish and the others provide more thoughts about their experiences with other commentaries. They then discuss cast, characters and performances, sets and locations, costumes, props, stunts and effects, and a mix of other production areas.
Cornish again often serves as moderator, and he does his best to keep the group of participants organized. He does well, and he throws in more information of his own this time. While he took a backseat to the kids in the “junior commentary”, Cornish becomes the most dominant speaker this time.
Though not to the exclusion of all others, as Cornish seems eager to ensure their involvement. This means a good balance between the director and the actors, as we find a nice mix of comments. The track becomes a little looser and less enlightening than the first one – the group plays things more for laughs this time – but it’s still a useful, enjoyable piece.
A third commentary comes from Joe Cornish and executive producer Edgar Wright. They sit together for their chat – their running but not especially screen-specific chat. On rare occasion, they allude to the material on screen, but that happens only a handful of times during the movie.
And that’s fine with me, as Cornish and Wright deliver a piece that’s probably the most interesting of the bunch. The guys discuss what it’s like to make “first films”, their relationship and Wright’s role on the project, various early filmmaking experiences and cinematic influences, and a few production areas.
Some may find it frustrating that Cornish and Wright say so little about Block itself. I can understand that perspective, but since the first two tracks focused so heavily on the film, I’m fine with this piece’s looser focus.
That’s especially true because Cornish and Wright deliver such an informative, introspective chat. We get a solid discussion of films from a viewpoint wider than just the specifics behind Block. The guys cover their thoughts well and turn this into a consistently intriguing, involving commentary.
After this we locate a documentary called Behind the Block. It runs one hour, one minute and 23 seconds as it provides notes from Esmail, Drameh, Howard, Jones, Boyega, Cornish, Whittaker, Frost, Treadaway, producer Nira Park, associate producer Lucy Pardee, special makeup effects designer Paul Hyett, and actors Michael Ajao, Jumayn Hunter, Sammy Williams, Paige Meade, Gina Antwi, Danielle Vitalis, Natasha Jonas, and Selom Awadzi.
The program looks at casting, rehearsals and training, characters and dialogue. We then follow the film in a “production diary” of sorts, as we trace the flick from the first day of the shoot through its completion. I usually like programs of this sort, and “Behind” does offer a mix of good moments. However, it focuses too much on the silly antics of the teen actors and lacks a lot of interesting filmmaking moments. There’s solid material here but it’s buried beneath gag reel-level goofiness.
Four featurettes follow. Creature Feature goes for 20 minutes, 29 seconds and includes comments from Cornish, Whittaker, Boyega, Jones, Treadaway, Esmail, Jonas, Howard, Hunter, Drameh, lead creature performer/movement coach Terry Notary, female alien actor Arti Shah, actor Adam Leese, creature performer Karl Baumann, creature effects Kyle Martin, stunt coordinator Paul Herbert, director of photography Tom Townend, post production supervisor Mike Solinger, Fido VFX supervisor Mattias Lindahl, Double Negative VFX executive producer Alex Hope, and sound designer Jeremy Price. The program covers the design and execution of the movie’s aliens as well as some notes about stunts, sound and photography. “Creature” comes with a little fluff, but it usually digs into the details well and gives us a fine take on the beastie-related issues.
Within the four-minute, eight-second Meet the Gang, we hear from Esmail, Jones, Drameh, Howard, and Boyega. They give us basic thoughts about the characters and actors. It throws in a few decent insights about the roles, but it’s mostly insubstantial.
Unfilmed Action goes for four minutes, 59 seconds and provides material from Cornish and Esmail. They discuss script sequences that were never shot, and we see these via some storyboards. Since we find no deleted scenes on the disc, it’s fun to check out these discarded bits.
Finally, That’s a Rap lasts two minutes, 23 seconds and features more footage from the set. We see the teen actors as they goof around and rap. We got enough of their antics in the documentary, so I think this is a pretty skippable piece.
The disc opens with ads for Columbiana, Retreat, A Good Old-Fashioned Orgy, Drive and Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. These also pop up under Previews and the disc includes the UK and US trailers for Block as well.
Chalk up Attack the Block as a disappointment. While it boasts an intriguing premise, it comes saddled with unlikable characters, flat action and a goofy-looking alien. The Blu-ray delivers solid picture and audio along with a surprisingly rich and dynamic compilation of supplements. I’m not wild about the movie, but the Blu-ray fires on all cylinders.