Blasted: Gutta vs. Aliens Movie Review (Spoiler Free)
This Norwegian science-fiction comedy is part slap-stick & part fast-paced satire. The main principle is entertaining but can it hold up to other alien invasion features?
Genre: Action / Comedy / Sci-Fi
Director: Martin Sofiedal
Cast: Axel Bøyum, Fredrik Skogsrud, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Mathias Luppichini, André Sørum, Eirik Hallert, Rune Tmte & Evelyn Rasmussen Osazuwa.
Run Time: 114 min.
US Release: 28 June 2022 (Netflix)
UK Release: 28 June 2022 (Netflix)
German Release: 28 June 2022 (Netflix)
One of the few aspects I admire about Netflix is how open they are about producing, as well as, releasing foreign films. I adore South American, Spanish, French and Italian cinema, however, Scandinavian thrillers are amongst my favourites. Naturally, I was excited when I saw this Norwegian comedy on the streaming service, finally getting a chance to watch it during a flight to visit family in Spain. Sadly, this turned out to be a very mediocre satire.
When Sebastian’s childhood friend Mikkel crashes his bachelor party, making it all about himself, the only thing that can bring back the two together is an alien invasion. It is soon revealed that their teenage laser-tag skills come useful when defeating the invaders.
Inspired by the real-life UFO phenomena of the Hessdalen lights, a town in rural Norway, the script also pays homage to Edgar Wright’s The World’s End with a few sprinkles of Fargo. The dry humour plus fast quips, typical of Wright’s work, don’t always stick the landing though and would have served the story better, if the writers wouldn’t have focused so much on copying the Cornetto Trilogy’s formula, but whipped up something original of their own. Then there is the run-time, which was about 20 mins too long, with the first act being too much of a drag.
On the positive side, the direction they took to portray the aliens was innovative! Parasitic specks of light attach themselves to a human host, turning them into zombie-like creatures with glowing green eyes. Their vulnerability to infrared light was also very creative, introducing laser-tag guns as the means to combat these parasitic aliens. This added an absurd but comedic level to the narrative, as well as intertwined the backstory of the two main characters, exposed at the beginning of the movie.
When it comes to personas, some of the backstories could have been fleshed out better, to give the whole plot more gravitas. Especially when it comes to exploring the motivation of the Aliens that landed on Earth. They are simply there attacking humans and stealing electronic devices, yet their endgame is never really explored.
The characters are all likeable enough to care about their outcome - all except one! Sadly apart from the main two personas, everyone else is depicted as an over-the-top caricature of different human characteristics, with no depth.
Sebastian, portrayed by Axel Bøyum, is possibly the character with the most progression throughout the story. Having become a workaholic with no fun in life, he finds true friendship again amid an alien takeover, when his former best friend Mikkel is invited to his bachelor party by his fiance. He soon realises that the client he is trying to impress is despicable and that there is more to life than just work. Bøyum gave a good performance, showing promising physical comedy, although at times overacted a little too much.
Fredrik Skogsrud who plays Mikkel had good chemistry with Bøyum, yet their friendship never felt real. It is also never explored why the two had a fall-out in their teenage years, which makes the rekindling harder to believe. Skogsrud gave the best performance of all the cast, portraying Mikkel as charming, with a child-like sense of wonder. His skills at laser-tag make him and Sebastian, who were champions in the craft during their teens, the perfect heroes for this flick, as both are likeable people.
Ingrid Bolsø Berdal as police officer Hjørdis is criminally underused! She is the most interesting character, depicted as a sort of Marge Gunderson from Fargo, still never getting the much-deserved time to shine and her backstory cut short. Ingrid Bolsø Berdal gives next to Fredrik Skogsrud, one of the better performances.
André Sørum embodies Kasper, who is Sebastian’s client and the one despicable person in the whole narrative. Sørum plays well enough, embodying the role of a rich jerk; the character, on the other hand, was written as a comic-bookish shallow secondary villain. He seems to have some sort of a redemption arc, opening up slightly to the others, only to revert immediately to his old role.
The cinematography, just like the plot, pays a lot of homage to Edgar Wright’s directorial style, making use of quick cuts, interesting frames and creative visions. However, it doesn’t help that these short flashes of ingenuity are mixed between a pretty mundane camera work that is plain standard filmmaking. The colour palette is among the more creative aspects, as it changes depending on Sebastian's surroundings, nevertheless, it still is left with that dull colour imprint typical of digital film.
The crew knew exactly how to spend their budget, with the effects being pretty decent. Yes, it's nothing out of the ordinary and definitely not at blockbuster level, but for a smaller foreign picture about aliens attacking a rural town in Norway, the CGI looks very good. It also helps that much of the actual effects are practical, with the big computer-generated effects having been saved for the grand finale.
Verdict: Martin Sofiedal’s satiric alien-invasion feature, might be an ode to Edgar Wright’s comedic genius but lacks originality! The story is based on the inexplicable light phenomena, which has repeatedly reappeared on the skies of Hessdalen since the 1930s, though feels like a slightly modified copy of The World’s End. The characters are delightful enough to care for, nonetheless, except the two main characters, all are deeply underdeveloped, with Kasper being the worst. Ingrid Bolsø Berdal’s persona was among the most interesting ones, yet the actress’ screen time was inexcusably short. The cinematography was among the better aspects of the picture, though the colour grading is dull, even if creative! The effects are mostly practical, using good CGI effects during the explosive finale. All in all, this is a moderate one-time watch and a 5.5 out of 10!
Have you seen this Norwegian Netflix production? Let me know what you thought and as always, thank you for reading!