Blu-ray Review: ATTRACTION

Dec 05, 2018 Posted by in DVD/Blu-ray, Reviews | Comments

It is an exciting day in Moscow as everyone prepares to watch a meteor shower, but things quickly take a terrifying turn. An alien spaceship is detected over the city, and the Russian air force is deployed to take it down. As the spaceship crashes towards the Earth, it leaves death and destruction in its wake. Martial law is declared and the military forces take over, instating a city-wide curfew, and fencing off the area around the spaceship as they try to figure out what the aliens want. They are hoping to prevent a war from breaking out with the aliens, and cautiously weigh their options. However, as the days pass, the citizens get frustrated by a rapidly-decreasing water supply (caused by the alien technology). They start to riot and demand that these alien invaders be wiped out, or else they will take matters into their own hands.

In charge is Colonel Lebedev (Oleg Menshikov), a widowed father who drifted apart from his teenage daughter, Julia (Irina Starshenbaum), when his wife died. Julia is frustrated that her father doesn’t listen to her, and the current crisis isn’t helping matters. The Colonel also doesn’t approve of Julia’s delinquent boyfriend Artem (Alexander Petrov), and tries to prevent his daughter from seeing him. One day, while Julia, Artem, and some friends are exploring the wreckage, they encounter one of the aliens. Julia nearly falls from a building, but the alien saves her life. However, the others see it as a threat, and attack the alien, causing him to plummet off the building. They look for the body, but only find the alien’s armor, which they take back to their garage hangout to examine. However, Julia notices a human-like person among the ashes and debris, and returns later on her own to investigate. She decides to nurse the alien, Hakon (Rinal Mukhametov), back to heath, and help him return to his ship. She discovers a humanity in this alien unlike that of her fellow human beings. There is a lot we could learn from these aliens, but the rioters are getting worse, and it’s only a matter of time before things escalate too far.

Attraction is an interesting blend of sci-fi, action, romantic drama, and social commentary. After seeing the trailer, I was expecting more of a Starship Troopers alien battle type of film, but it is most certainly not. There are action sequences that open and close the film, but the crux of the movie is more of a cerebral drama that looks at how humans react to the unknown. Julia starts off with these delinquent friends, but her contact with this alien makes her a better, more caring person. She realizes that her friends are not good people, and so she tries to distance herself from them, but that is easier said than done. While there is this love that forms between Hakon and Julia, the film is not a love story per se. Julia sees this innocence and good in Hakon that she doesn’t see in her own friends. And Julia is unlike any other human Hakon has seen before—she was willing to risk her own life in order to help him.

The film also has a lot of humor. There’s the fish-out-of-water aspect as Hakon learns about and tries to fit into the human world. I was reminded of films like Splash or The Little Mermaid, where there’s this use of silent physical humor and facial expressions. There are also some fun moments where Julia manipulates her father in order to gain access to restricted areas. Plus, there’s the typical nerdy sidekick, Google (Evgeniy Mikheev)—who presumably named for his vast knowledge of facts. He is obviously infatuated with Julia, and is very awkward around her. Google is willing to do anything to help her.

This Blu-ray release provides a solid video and audio presentation. This is a visually stunning film, especially the opening sequence where the spaceship crashes to Earth, causing lots of destruction. The picture goes from bright and colorful to dark and murky, depending on the weather, but it always looks beautiful and extremely detailed. Even as the city is covered in ash, and debris is constantly floating in the air, the picture remains pristine and eye-catching. The film was released theatrically in 3D IMAX—I wish home viewers had been given the option of a 3D release, like director’s Fedor Bondarchuk’s previous film Stalingrad. I think it would have been quite a visual treat.

The Blu-ray includes both the original Russian language soundtrack in a Dolby Atmos mix as well as a DTS-HD 5.1 English dub. I opted for the former as it provided a much fuller sound. I found the English dub to be a bit more subdued, with the dialogue taking the forefront and the score and effects more muddled in the background. The dub also sounded too over-acted and fake, while the original language soundtrack felt a lot more natural, the only drawback being having to read subtitles. The Atmos track sounds amazing, making excellent use of the height channel as helicopters fly overhead. You can feel the thunderous roar of the alien ship and other explosions, and the room is filled with the film’s beautiful melancholy score.

The disc includes three short promotional behind-the-scenes featurettes as well as a VFX demo reel and some trailers. The Blu-ray disc comes packed in a standard HD keepcase with a cardboard slipcover.

What’s Included:

Film: (2:12:27)


    • 1080p / Widescreen 2.39:1
    • Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Russian Dolby Atmos
    • Subtitles: English


  • Featurettes
    Presented in Russian with English subtitles. Play All or select from:

    • Young Actors (2:17)
      The three young actor talk about auditioning for their roles, their characters, physically preparing for the film, working with the director, and more. Includes behind-the-scenes footage, and interviews with Rinal Mukhametov (“Hijken”/”Hakon”), Irina Starshenbaum (“Yulya Lebedeva”/”Julie”), and Alexander Petrov (“Artyom”/”Artem”).
    • Superstars (2:02)
      Director Fedor Bondarchuk discusses casting his veteran actors, while the cast members talk about what drew them to the project. Includes behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with Sergey Garmash (“Vice-Prime Minister”) and Oleg Menshikov (“Colonel Lebedev”).
    • Promo Reel (3:00)
      The director and crew talk about coming up with the look and sound of the aliens, and bringing the action to life. Includes behind-the-scenes footage, concept artwork, and interviews with director Fedor Bondarchuk, executive vfx supervisor Arman Yakhin, and sound designer Dave Whitehead.
  • VFX Breakdown (9:15)
    Demonstration of how various layers and types of effects were utilized to compose various scenes and sequences. Includes examples of concept art, computer graphics, simulations, green screen, and more. Footage is set to the film’s score.

  • Trailer (1:57)
    English language trailer.
  • Teaser (1:35)
    English language teaser.


Final Thoughts:

My Rating

Attraction is an entertaining drama that is a bit different from your typical alien invasion film. While it does have a few big action sequences, it is more of a though-provoking drama, with some really fun moments and interesting characters. The Blu-ray release provides a stunning picture, and a powerful Dolby Atmos soundtrack. The English dub acting leaves much to be desired, but the original Russian performances are excellent. The disc is very light on bonus material, but still comes recommended based on the film itself.