Skyline

Posted: November 14, 2010 by crowbait in Film, Reviews

Skyline, the relatively low-budget indie alien-invasion flick by Colin and Greg Strause ( Aliens vs Predator- Requiem), opened this weekend. Let’s get right to the point. It’s terrible.

Strange lights descend on the city of Los Angeles, drawing people outside like moths to a flame where an extraterrestrial force threatens to swallow the entire human population off the face of the Earth.

Here’s a review from Crowbait:

The positive:

Uhhhhh….. Design of alien ships were good. Some effects were impressive. That’s about it.

The negative:

Despite enjoying some of the actors in their television roles on Dexter or Scrubs, the performances here are lackluster to say the least. It’s hard to blame them though, considering the material they’ve been given to work with. Unrelateable, unlikeable, unconvincing people. I have no idea what relationships the characters shared. Why was T-Money offering J-Rock a job as a visual effects guy? Who are these people? We’ll never know because there’s no time for character development when aliens attack!

Actually, there’s plenty of time. It’s just all spent in overlong scenes of people looking out windows at things the audience is not shown or in bickering about how to escape. Or not escape. Or do. Not. Our characters trap themselves in a penthouse apartment and against all sense remain there for the better part of the film. This only highlights the budget limitations of the film as shooting outside of the building would break the bank.

So we have bad acting but the directors are known for their work in special effects, so that should make up for it right? Wrong. All of the best effects are on display in the trailer. Monster designs are suitably moist but are derivative of The Matrix or Cloverfield and lack imagination. Some effects sequences meant to thrill are so over-the-top they become comical, like our protagonists limbo ducking under the flaming wreck of a jet in mid-crash.

Add to this a nonsensical plot about aliens harvesting people to eat brains and J-Rock’s unexplained and sudden development of super powers and the result is a film that would be a joke if only it didn’t take itself so seriously. A few moments of cleverness in the script are soon squandered. For example the military, recognizing that the aliens can hypnotize with eye contact send in squads of remote controlled drones to attack the alien ships. But any intelligence this sequence displays is nullified when a nuclear warhead detonates about a half mile from the penthouse hideout and its only impact is to make the blinds fall off a window.

There were horror elements in this film that could have made for a very different experience but the need for a larger audience, and thus a PG-13 rating means that these avenues must be unexplored.

A note from Jenny Dreadful: When snacking on brains… just like with M&M’s… don’t eat the red ones! The ending made me laugh really hard, but I wouldn’t call that  positive feedback.

Does it pass the Bechdel Test?

Yes. There are some women. They have names. They talk about cigarettes.

Would we recommend?

Rather than watching Skyline, may we recommend one or more of the better sci-fi films that it is mimicking? How about Cloverfield? Or The Matrix? There’s Day of the Triffids and even ID4 does this one better. And if you’d rather see this same scenario as a horror-themed action video game, go play Prey.

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Comments
  1. ronBunxious says:

    Okay. ID4 gets a recommend over this one. Wow. I really wanted to see the giant alien human-sky-vacuum. Well, I guess I can just keep re-watching the trailer.

    Thanks for the review… and thanks for saving me some money. ;D

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