Friday, November 19, 2010


Year: 2010
Directors: The Brothers Strause
Cast: Eric Balfour, Scottie Thompson, Donald Faison, David Zayas, Brittany Daniel, Crystal Reed

Cool poster huh? The trailer looked pretty neat too. Alien invasion films, if done right, can be immensely fun to watch. And this one kinda looked fun on the surface.

Skyline revolves around a group of friends spending the night at a penthouse of a large condominium who are awakened by a bright light outside their window. The bright light attracts people like moths to a flame, and before they know it, they'll be sucked right an alien spacecraft!

The friends, made up of Jarrod, his girlfriend Elaine, his best friend Terry, Terry's girlfriend Candice and his assistant Denise attempt to escape the building. But time and time again they are thwarted by the aliens, who come in different shapes and sizes. And the body count or body vanishing acts rise.

Colin and Greg Strause, who directed the abysmal Alien vs Predator: Requiem funded this film all by themselves. They even used Greg's apartment for filming most of the scenes. Now, as far as visual effects go, it is pretty impressive. The scale of the invasion is a lot like what you've seen in Independence Day i.e. huge ships, big explosions, big lights, the works. They also have giant aliens walking around, which reminds me of Godzilla (hmm lots of Roland Emmerich tributes here) and flying aliens with tentacles that look like The Matrix sentinels. Doesn't sound particularly original, but quite awesome anyway.

Unfortunately, Skyline is far from cool overall. I should have known actually, since it's the AVPR directors we're talking about. Their first mistake was giving us a bunch of characters not worth rooting for. The second was writing a really bad script for the actors to read, and the fact that they aren't very good actors to begin with only made things worse. And why would they restrict the story to just around the apartment building for the majority of the screentime? This caused the middle third of the film to stall and feel like they had run out of ideas to push the story forward.

And then there's the ending, which firstly, leads to an obvious sequel, but more importantly makes me go "you gotta be kidding me!" It's quite ridiculous, and really not necessary.

It certainly pales in comparison to Independence Day or War Of The Worlds, where in the former, despite it being a cheesy salute to patriotism, gave us plenty of funny moments and characters to cheer for; as for the latter, it focuses on a father's efforts to keep his family safe, even if he has to cross the line, which provides good drama. In Skyline, we have none of these, at least not in convincing fashion.

It's a great visual feast, but not much else. Which is unfortunate, because it certainly had potential. (2.5/5)

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