Skyline (possible spoilers)
ON DVD AND BLURAY
The poster tag goes “Don’t look up”, a clear indication that by looking up you will be hypnotised by this strange blue light coming from alien ships, forcing you to walk towards it and be vaporised. Now, clearly that’s not something you would really want to do, but after meeting this cast you would be begging for that blue light and would gladly offer yourself to the aliens in order to get away from this sorry bunch of complete morons! To say Skyline is a letdown is an understatement, this is a pathetic, dull, sorry excuse of a sci-fi film if ever there was one. At least the gung-ho, cheese fest Independence Day had some good bits (the first half an hour) and Bill Pullman. Skyline has nothing, after watching this I walked away as if I hadn’t actually just sat in a massive cinema screen and watched a film, it was THAT forgettable. Mind you, I should’ve expected this, coming from the Brothers Strause, the same pair who made the embarrassing Alien vs. Predator: Requiem.
So, this awful cast are as follows: Jarrod (Eric Balfour) with his long chin and silly tattoos, visiting his seriously annoying friend Terry (Donald Faison) who lives the life of luxury in LA in this posh apartment in a massive block which has a swimming pool. I couldn’t tell you what either of them does for work because I lost interest as soon as Terry started talking. It would seem Terry wants his best mate Jarrod to move to LA to work with him, much to the annoyance of Jarrod’s girlfriend Elaine (Scottie Thompson), she has come along for this weekend to celebrate Terry’s birthday and I swear, on a number of occasions I actually wished her dead. Dreadful character and the fact she happens to mention she is pregnant at completely the wrong time irritated me immensely. You getting the picture? Crap cast no chance in hell of siding with them as they are all badly written characters. Terry has a blonde bimbo of a girlfriend who at times looks in her early twenties, at others she looks about fifty, go figure! And it would seem he is cheating on her with Denise (Crystal Reed), the best looking of the bunch. Who the fuck cares, honestly. It all threatens to come to a head at Terry’s birthday as he gets caught, but clearly the writers forgot about character development and just want to get to the action. So do I, bring it on for god’s sake because I’m getting bored!
Waking up from the party, a strange blue light fills the apartment, and one of the party goers who were angry about sleeping on the couch decides to go outside on the balcony, and he is vaporised! Oh wow, look at the way the veins in his face turn black as he follows the light, this is exciting! Actually, it is, things could be looking up! What the fuck is going on here? Damn, it’s an alien invasion. Surely we’ve seen it all before? Can there be any originality here after such a bad start? The answer, for the odd brief moment is yes. At times Skyline looks like it’s about to go to new heights and deliver something new, fresh and inventive. As the group of friends try to come to terms with all these blue lights and strange craft appearing in the sky, things do get interesting. Suspense kicks in, mildly. Using their telescope normally used for perving (typical) the friends look at the bizarre dust clouds forming under the alien spacecraft. In a rather unsettling scene, we see bodies being sucked up to the ships, genius!! It is actually quite distressing. We just might be in for a treat here after all. Sadly, as soon as this scene is over, we go back to the apartment and our cast of morons bickering and panicking about what’s best to do. Some decide to stay; others think it’s best to make a run for it. They argue some more, they peak through the windows; they go up on the roof and manage to trap themselves. Oh but wait, big shot Terry has a gun, and he can blast his way through the metal lock and get us back in just in the nick of time before being caught by aliens!
Eventually they make a dash for it, and the flash car comes out from Mr. Big Shot Terry. In fact, the idea is to go quietly but he seems to have the loudest engine in LA, so what does he do? Yeh, lets rev the engine, make all the aliens aware I am about to set off in my car! We get introduced to a few more damsels in distress and a new monster that enters a scene unexpected with vicious intent. It’s a brilliant scene, and just as I was nodding off, this woke me up again and thoughts of Cloverfield came to my mind and I was excited again. Sadly it didn’t last and we now head down the familiar route of chases, deaths and fights with aliens. The military get involved and seem to do everything wrong, our cast of morons do everything wrong, oh, and it would seem that Jarrod, after viewing the blue light, has a connection with the invaders. Yawn, yawn, yawn. It’s all been done before and you just can’t get recent classics like Cloverfield and The War of the Worlds out of your head, knowing the alien invasion film can be done so much better. I’m not Independence Day’s biggest fan, but at least when I watch that film I can have fun. Skyline doesn’t seem sure if it wants to be a serious contender for disturbing, thought provoking sci-fi or just a comedy, the two together don’t work here at all. No matter how much the director’s try to convince you this is a serious film, it all falls flat again with some of the worst scripting I have heard all year.
The effects, I suppose, do make up for the script, they are stunning so hats off to those effects people, and with any luck their next film, World Invasion:Battle L.A , should be a major improvement. That said, you cannot fault the effects here, they are flawless and on the big screen look pretty damn amazing. The giant aliens look fantastic out in the open and in full view, although they do seem a bit stupid. The small aliens also look amazing, but again, no fault of the effects people, they get involved in situations that become silly. I mean, when you see one of the cast having a punch up with a blob which has a mouth and tentacles, it doesn’t give off that wow factor, it looks dreadful and I was begging for it to stop. The spaceships looks great, but again, no fault of the effects people, the ships can rebuild themselves???? Nothing is ever really explained here and it irritated me. Normally, I don’t like explanations if a film is clever enough to force me to make up my own mind, generally I respect that. Here though, it felt like the writers just couldn’t be bothered and that’s one of the major flaws with this film, it feels lazy. Hell, they didn’t seem to know how to finish the damn thing!
About five times before the film finally stopped punishing me I thought it was going to end, and it actually hurt everytime it carried on! We do get an Independence Day style fight in the sky involving planes and spacecraft, we get the heroes bit where they just might end up dying, and then we get a really REALLY daft bit on an alien ship. I won’t go into details but it is quite possibly the stupidest ending I have seen all year and it quite literally made my blood boil. I actually had to keep asking myself “Really? This is actually happening and this is how they intend to end it?”. It makes no sense and feels like a lazy, quick way to end a lazy, stupid film saved only by its special effects. Skyline is a bad film, and is not the best way to start this new wave of alien invasion films coming up over the next few months. Roll on Monsters and World Invasion: Battle LA.