Run for Your Lives!

Skyline darkens the horizon with another bad alien movie

Don’t see Skyline if the following cinematic elements are important to you: a script, a purpose, things that make sense, good acting and/or a satisfying ending. However, you should go see Skyline if the following things are important to you: visual effects of any kind!

The Brothers Strause (Colin and Greg), famous for their computer-generated special effects, helm this mind-numbing snooze-fest. In the past, they have directed such cultural gems as the sequel to Alien vs. Predator and a Nickleback music video. Now, I’m not saying this movie is as bad as Nickleback, but it’s pretty damn close.

Stop me when you’ve heard this before: Unidentified flying objects descend upon a city (in this case, Los Angeles), flash a crazy light, destroy said city, are able to overcome humans’ best technology and kill a lot of people. That pretty much sums up Skyline, which brings absolutely nothing new to the genre. There is no emotional core to the characters, nothing that makes the viewer want to learn more about them or even root for them. Close Encounters of the Third Kind this is not.

But when a movie is all effects, then the really unique ones lose their impact. Remember how excited you were when Will Smith killed the first alien in Independence Day? That feeling won’t return in this film.

It’s frustrating as a viewer to see the “good guys” fail to get any effective offense in against the aliens.

In this case, the good guys include Jarrod (Eric Balfour, in a bland performance), his pregnant girlfriend, Elaine (Scottie Thompson), and Jarrod’s rich best friend, Terry (an unusually uncharismatic Donald Faison), who is cheating on his girlfriend with his assistant. Because, you know, they have to have something to discuss while fleeing from the aliens. Also, Oliver the doorman (David Zayas) is the older, wiser, gonna-fight-you-if-you-don’t-listen-to-me character. Only Zayas breathes a little life into this otherwise rote piece.

Bottom line: Nothing can stop these aliens. They are large and pissed off. And for being designed by visual effects geniuses, these extraterrestrials don’t really live up to the hype. They look like robots who had sex with Marjory the Trash Heap from Fraggle Rock and then were burned in a campfire.

The ending is ludicrous and has very little to do with anything that has come before it. Normally, this would infuriate me, but in this case, it is the perfect way to close out such a masterpiece.

Even though I can understand why the filmmakers would get excited to make this—they are effects wizards who get to play with effects here—I cannot understand why any studio would throw money behind it.

Where is the creativity and passion for making something good? Certainly nowhere to be found in Skyline.

Skyline (PG-13) ★☆☆☆☆



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