Late one evening in LA, strange blue lights descend from the sky upon the city. They are the beginning of a hostile alien invasion. A small group of survivors look to escape the invasion as the armed forces attempt to beat them back.
Hoo boy! I am still kind of run down from the fabulous NYC Horror Film Festival & I’m nursing a bit of a flu but where am I? That’s right…at the movies! Your favorite scribe still tries to get you the info you need to know before you spend your hard earned money at the box office (I’m a bit late on this one admittedly though).
So what the hell is “Skyline” all about? Well it was hard to miss the massive promotional push that Universal has given this pic so I don’t think I need to bother you with too many plot details & that’s very easy for me to do because there really isn’t much plot to discuss. “Skyline” tells the story of a group of people trying to escape LA in the midst of an alien invasion. The aliens descend upon the city in the middle of the night with blue globs of light falling from the sky onto different parts of the city. These globs of light are intoxicating to everyone who looks at them & once you are mesmerized by them they suck you up into large starships waiting in the sky. The script by Joshua Cordes & Liam O’Donnell tries to throw a bit of background into the characters at the begining of the film but “Skyline” wasn’t produced for it’s character development. As a matter of fact the characters in this movie seem to do the stupidest f*cking things possible every chance they get. It’s as if they want to die as soon as possible. If you know not to look at the beautiful blue lights..then don’t look at them dammit! If you know the streets are crawling with alien beasties looking to gobble you up, stop insisting that you can make a run to the harbor where you can (hopefully) find a boat & try to escape because it seems “They’re not over the water”! They’re everywhere! It’s evident in every frame of the film that the city is just sick with aliens all over it’s streets. The surviviors see it when they have the guts to look out their window & use their telescope(!) You see where I’m going with this one people?
It’s not that the film is terrible. As a matter of fact I think “Skyline” has some of the best CGI effects I’ve ever seen in a movie…ever. They’re especially effective since most of them take place during the day & you can scrutinize them very carefully. In light of the reported budget of the film ($10 million) this is a major leap for films that want hang with the big budget boys (Transformers, Avatar, etc) but don’t have $100 million + to spend. But then again the film was directed by the Brothers Krause (that’s how they’re billed onscreen) & they are special effect experts so maybe they just know how to stretch a buck or two. But movies aren’t all about effects nowadays are they? Real directors direct real actors. Not some youthful remnants from cable tv & b-movies. Not that the actors aren’t very good because they do the job they’re asked to do adequately (except Eric Balfour, more on that in a few), It’s just that the pitiful script asks them to be stupid for 100 minutes & I just got tired of it this time around. As for Mr. Balfour, I really believe that he is Sylvester Stallone’s bastard child. If/when you watch this movie, you tell me if he isn’t the utter doppelganger of a young Mr. Stallone. The resemblance is astounding! The only difference I saw was that Balfour is a bit taller & when he speaks it’s intelligible. But man oh man does he have the Stallone “brood” down pat! I just wanted him to scream out “Adrian”! one time…
But that’s all the script asks him to do, brood & give stupid suggestions to the other survivors. I think he could’ve tossed in a little improv somewhere in the middle of this mess to spice his character up a bit. I also want to take this chance to chastise Universal for basing so much of the advertising on the face of Donald Faison (Scrubs). His is the most recognizable face in the cast but he’s also the only black cast member as well. Do I need to continue here? Get my point? I think it’s a bit misleading to see his face all over the commercials for this movie & not have him in the movie for very long. And as I said earlier, everyone makes the stupidest decisions that they could possibly make in light of their situation. The script is absolutely clueless all the way around.
Why doesn’t the military arive until day 2 of the invasion? Why do our few survivors make it through a nuclear(!) explosion that takes place seemingly only a few blocks from where they are watching? Why do the final survivors do the stupidest f*cking thing possible as they are apprehended by the mothership? And why do the filmmakers continue for another 10 minutes after what should have been the ending to let us look inside the ship & end on what has to be the stupidest f*cking ending I’ve seen this year & quite possibly one of the stupidest endings ever?
It’s so f*cking stupid that it continues through the credits in STILL FRAME & really quickly so that most won’t see it because they’ve already left the theatre! It makes absolutely no sense at all, even in still frame. It’s just stupid, plain & simple. Which is depressing because like I said, the effect work is astoundingly effective & for so little money as well. It’s just a shame that it’s all done in the service of a absolutely asinine script. This combination of “Cloverfield” & “Independence Day” fails in spite of it’s amazing visuals because the script fails to address it’s characters in a realistic fashion & assumes that everyone in the theater is as stupid as the script is. Well I might be stupid but I’m not f*cking stupid, you know what I mean? I’m pretty sure if you’re reading this you’re not stupid either (my acolytes are a smart bunch). So if you’re planning to see this movie go to an early matinee so you don’t end up paying $12 a ticket & check your brain at the door before you sit down because your IQ will go down a point or two if you leave your brain in your head after the movie is over.
The Saint gives “Skyline” 2 out of 5 shrouds because of it’s outstanding visuals & nothing else. If the effects weren’t up to snuff it might’ve gotten my first zero of the year & that’s saying something. See it if you must but you can wait for it’s dvd release. It’ll look awesome on Bluray I’m sure. Until next time people, don’t forget your prayers. To ME!!