Rating: 0.5 stars out of 5
Take the worst, most annoying parts of every alien invasion movie ever made, stitch them together like a terribly titled Frankenstein, and you get Skyline.
Billed as The Brothers Strause, co-directors Greg and Colin Strause’s previous directorial credit was the universally panned Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem. Their second alien themed feature miraculously manages to make their disastrous debut seem like an Oscar contender.
It’s almost as if the Strauses and writers Joshua Cordes and Liam O’Donnell watched Independence Day and War of the Worlds amidst a sci-fi movie marathon and thought, “Hey, how can we steal all of those ideas and make it worse!?”
To be fair, our intrepid sibling directors are special effects wizards by trade and have only recently begun dabbling in directing, which likely explains why they treat things like ‘acting’, ‘story’, and ‘common sense’ as mere inconveniences to be ignored. That would be kind of fine actually if the visuals were anything remotely special – they’re not.
Jarrod (Eric Balfour) and Elaine (Scottie Thompson) are vacationing in Los Angeles to visit their friend Terry (Donald Faison) when suddenly aliens attack. The invaders come down in brilliant balls of blue light that irresistibly attracts humans to their doom like sailors to sirens.
It is revealed these aliens are abducting people by the billions to eat their brains. Beyond that, compelling questions such as “What are their plans?”, “Where are they from?”, “Why are these people so stupid?”, and “When will this movie end?” are raised. All except the last one is reasonably answered.
Characters spend their time holed up in their condo apartment, occasionally peeking out at the mayhem from behind their blinds with a telescope. When that gets boring (and how could it not?) our protagonists decide to make a run for it to the marina so they can make for a quick getaway via luxury yacht.
This imbecilic plan is decided upon independently, not once, but twice! Yes they still decide that this is a good idea even after the first expedition ends with half of the group dying. Why would you run outside when there’s plenty of food, running water and electricity in your house? Nobody apparently told them that this isn’t a Signs sequel (because these aliens aren’t afraid of water last we checked) so wouldn’t being stranded on the open ocean make them sitting ducks?
Forget the lapses in logic, there’s actually a lot of drama to be mined from a bunch of characters huddled together in a metaphorical foxhole. Usually these types of movies are seen from the perspective of presidents, scientists, fighter pilots or important figures of that sort. The conceit of watching a disaster unfolding helplessly like the little people, the faceless extras who get killed in five seconds of screen time in other movies, is pretty interesting.
Movies like Cloverfield have effectively used this scenario to mine bucket loads of emotional gems from the suspenseful close-quarter interactions of normal folks in high-stress situations. Unfortunately Skyline is too preoccupied with adding that little extra FX glimmer to their marauding extraterrestrial vessels to even consider delving into dramatic tension.
What we end up with is a movie with events nobody cares about, characters nobody cares about and a story nobody can make sense of. This is a film so bereft of anything resembling a redeeming feature that it is truly an exercise in ineptitude - a case study for film students on how not to make films.
About Hidzir Junaini
Hidzir Junaini is 24-years-old and a wealthy playboy billionaire by day and a caped crusader by night. Only one of those is true. He’s actually a freelance writer, blogger, full-time film buff and some-time socially awkward nerd. He also writes about music, restaurants and nightlife for MetroWize Asia.
Hidzir was the winner of the inaugural inSing Movie Lover contest that garnered over 1,000 participants. The Movie Lover contest is a search for a candidate who possesses outstanding passion for movies and a talent for writing engaging movie reviews.