It’s no secret that Hollywood seems to think it continues to maintain the monopoly on the Alien invasion genre. Films like War of the Worlds, Independence Day and even Close Encounters of the Third Kind instantly spring to mind. In the latest venture of the sci-fi obsession, the Russians have jumped on the bandwagon. Having created — despite its low-budget margins of its English Language counterparts — a visually spectacular, yet subtly bizarre invasion come love story in Fyodor Bondarchuk’s current offering.
The opening sequence sets the pace as an unidentified object is spotted in the skies over Moscow during a meteor shower. Forced to believe they are under a substantial threat, the Russian Military follows orders to shoot the ship down causing major devastation as the large spiralling craft comes crashing to the earth, cutting through buildings like butter and killing innocent people.
With Moscow now on high alert and politicians wanting to investigate the stricken craft full force, it falls upon Colonel Valentin Lebedev (Oleg Menshikov) to calm the situation. He commands his army to find out exactly what the biochemical armour suited Aliens need from them. Via telepathic communication, Lebedev agrees to allocate them time to repair their ship. While time ticks by without an isolated act of aggression from the grounded Aliens, unrest and fear begin to darken the streets. Lead by Lebedev’s wayward daughter Yulia (Irina Starshenbaum) menacing boyfriend Artyom (Alexander Petrov) and his gang of bigoted friends violence begins to erupt.
Bondarchuk takes on extremely heavy-handed socio-political themes of tolerance and acceptance of outsiders. Feeling like a hammer blow to the head as the picture hits the ground hard with far-right human’s taking matters into their own hands. Ludicrousness derives when humans pit themselves against far more advanced Aliens in a fight they so obviously never win. Bondarchuk has been meticulously clever in delivering everything you would want and anticipate from a sci-fi battlefield. Nevertheless, mid-way through the action takes a jolting and bizarre change in pace by throwing in the old clichéd girl falls for Alien narrative.
Having already taken the box office by storm within its own country, Bondarchuk’s flirtation with the genre incorporates the style of Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 in its unrefined and coarse aesthetic settings. The dazzling VFX effort that invokes the wet-dreams of the fans of the genre paired with copious amounts of high-octane thrills. Attraction is a valiant effort from the Stalingrad director, visually hitting all the right notes, but it falls flat on its face when it comes to the unoriginal and unconvincing script. It won’t transport you on a journey to another world, but it’s far from boring.
Attraction is set for a UK release on 19th January.