Monday, August 22, 2011

Movie Review: Skyline


Between getting done with my painting goal, family visits and the kids going back to school, I haven't had a lot of time to work on hobby stuff, but I did manage to catch Skyline on Netflix online.

Before I begin, a quick note a trivia, according to Wikipedia Sony Pictures nearly sued the makers of Skyline because they were also doing work on Battle: Los Angeles without having informed them they were putting together a very similar film at the same time.  Nothing came of it, but the movie is about, well, aliens invading L.A.  The main character is Jarrod (Eric Balfour, who I keep wanting to ask "why the long face?"), a visual effects artist visiting an old friend named Terry (Donald Faison, whom you'll recognize as "Turk" from Scrubs).  Along for the trip is Jarrod's girlfriend Elaine (Scottie Thompson, who looked damned familiar until I looked her up and realized that she was the daughter of the arms dealer Tony was dating on NCIS).  The night after Terry's big Hollywood birthday bash, aliens invade.

Skyline has a strong "War of the Worlds" feel to it in that you see the invasion through the perspective of civilians, people who don't know what's going on, occasionally see military jets fly by, and basically go a little unhinged by what is happening.  Skyline also gives a nod to Independence Day by showing a big fighter-jet vs. alien starfighter battle with the one ship with the big missile making it through to the mother ship.  I haven't spoiled anything here, because it isn't the climax of the movie.

In the end, though, what Skyline has in the way of plot is aliens kicking the beejeezus out of humans.  The aliens are practically bullet-proof.  They regenerate.  They fly.  The small ones are the size of refrigerators, while the large ones are the size of Godzilla.  They have city-sized mother ships like ID4.  And the big kicker is that they have hypno-beams, so don't look at them too much.  So most of the movie is the cast running around like chickens with their heads cut off while the aliens gruesomely abduct them so that their brains can be sucked out.

Speaking of which, having seen this and Cowboys vs. Aliens in the same month, I'm struck by how you can show brains being removed like a slurpee from  7-11 and get a PG-13 rating, as long as there is not one boobie flicking past the screen.  This movie is downright gory at times, but someone is okay for me to take an eighth grader to.

Oh, and the ending?  There's no ending.  The movie just stops, because the director/producers wanted to make a sequel, and for a film that only cost ten million to make and brought in sixty, we'll probably get it whether we like it or not.

Skyline was a pointless schlockfest, full of wooden acting from characters that really weren't all that sympathetic.  With half a million spent on filming actors and ten million on CGI effects, this is just a visual effects spectacle with little to offer aside from freaky-looking aliens and a lot of glowing brains getting gulped by aliens.

3 comments:

  1. Pretty spot-on with what I was thinking; a pointless movie. It had a good idea and had potential, but it showed none of it. Besides, it's really hard to empathize with a bunch of characters who are too rich for their own good living an elitist lifestyle.

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  2. What got me was that Donald Faison's character was made less likable, despite the fact that Faison has an almost Wayne Brady quality to him.

    I thought the movie felt like a zombie flick, not an alien invasion flick, because they kept teasing the possibility of having that atavistic breakdown of society/sanity/whatever that happens in those films as everything falls apart, but that never happened. The plot never seemed to gain traction: we're staying, we're leaving, we're staying, we're leaving, etc. And characters would be added and taken away just for the sake of having someone else get gulped by aliens.

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  3. I agree with your review. I didn't expect the "ending" though I sort of wonder how they would make a sequel with the two main characters in the situation they are in...at least the Jarrod character.

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