Blu-ray: ATTACK THE BLOCK (2011)
While it's not perfect, Sony does bring a handsome transfer of this low budget production, which is destined to become a cult classic. The MPEG-4 AVC encoded Blu-ray is true to its source. The color palette is desaturated and dark due to the low light. This lessens detail in the outdoor night sequences, as well as suffers from limited pixelation, but the picture becomes richer in the brighter indoor scenes. Film grain is natural and unobtrusive. Black levels, however, are inconsistent, but shine in the inky black of the alien invaders, which are meant to look like black holes running across the screen. And boy do the glow in the dark teeth of the aliens pop.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless track is very well mixed with some genuine dynamic moments. Dialogue is clean and balanced with the score and sound effects well. This is crucial considering the thick South London accents of the characters. Ambience is subtle but effective. Directionality is surprising at times as fireworks rocket from the front to back speakers or the ape wolf aliens leap across the front sound field. The LFE track booms with the dramatic score as the gang returns to the apartment complex.
The disc does not disappoint when it comes to special features. Three audio commentaries grace the release. All feature director/writer Joe Cornish, but the "Junior Commentary" has the teen actors John Boyega, Alex Esmail, Franz Drameh, Simon Howard, and Leeon Jones; the "Senior Commentary" feature the older actors Jodie Whittaker, Luke Treadaway, and Nick Frost; and the "Executive Producer Commentary" Edgar Wright. Each does an excellent job of giving each participant a chance to tell their experience working on the film. The teens give a fresh point of view, while the older actors bring experience. The Wright commentary is fascinating in how Cornish looks at Wright as a mentor and we get a perspective on how Cornish's experiences on the film are similar and different from Wright with his breakthrough cult hit SHAUN OF THE DEAD. Cornish also rips on commentary tracks that are just praise fests of the cast and crew, which I couldn't agree with more.
The hour-long "Behind the Block" making-of doc is one of the best making-of docs I've seen. It not only tells the full story of the production, but also gives a perspective into the fears of a first time feature director. It's not only a crash course in directing, but managing personalities, which includes your own personality.
"Creature Feature" is a 20-minute look at the creation of the unique aliens chronicling the stunt actor on the set to the digital enhancements later on. It's a great supplement to the making of doc. "Unfilmed Action" is a fascinating look at scenes that were written and storyboarded, but not filmed due to budget. Cornish gives an honest appraisal of why each scene was cut and how the cut changed the remaining scenes. Some of the cuts really helped with the pacing.
"Meet the Gang" is a short introduction to the young cast and their characters. Standard EPK material. "That's a Rap" has the cast improvising a rap.