Skyline (2010)

Skyline is visually stunning but utterly hollow. The CGI is masterfully created and amazing to look at, but all the beautifully-rendered aliens in the world cannot hide a terrible plot, an appalling script and some severely damaged acting skills. This film is very poor. Seriously avoid.

So what is it about? Well, the plot of Skyline could be written on the back of a beer-mat, with room for character development and some natty costume design. Aliens invade and suck people into their hypnotic light beams, presumably to kill them or give them a good probing. Some affluent people hide in their plush tower-block apartment in L.A., attempt to escape, then run back to their apartment to hide a bit more. Repeat three times until the inevitable conclusion. Then add a terrible, tacked-on ending that makes no sense. Plot solved! Let’s move onto characters…

Our protagonists are Jarrod (Eric Balfour) and Elaine (Scottie Thompson), a couple who are visiting their high-flying friend in L.A., and she’s discovered she’s pregnant! The cast is packed with slightly recognisable TV stars, and the biggest pull for some will be the inclusion of Scrubs’ Turk (Donald Faison). Sadly Faison is lumped with a horribly unlikeable character from the start, and you wish him death from the moment he appears. All the characters are also unfortunate caricatures – plastic tanned girlfriend, sexy bit-on-the-side, the comedy friend – who accompany our protagonists in a journey which… erm… nope. No journey. This film literally goes nowhere. The cast do a poor job of handling an incredibly poor script, which is so perfunctory and lifeless it’s not even worth mentioning.

Visually Skyline is phenomenal. Even if they do rip-off the aliens from a billion other sources (The Matrix, Independence Day) and their evil tentacles occasionally look like angry Christmas lights, the creatures still look fantastic. Even the ending, which will not be spoiled here, looks excellent and would probably make a stunning videogame. The explosions are awesome, the brief helicopter crash is spectacular, the vein-faced people look excellent. Yet looking good doesn’t stop something from being ultimately vacuous, which Skyline is. It is simply ALL about the visuals, although this is no huge surprise considering the creative team all come from a visual effects background (even the writers!) and are responsible for some of the stunning visuals on Avatar, Iron Man 2 and 2012. It is the antidote to Monsters’ slow-burning drama where less-is-more – Skyline is a characterless cliché monster-fest with sex, guns, explosions, war and a pregnant woman. Laughably bad.

Skyline is a thesis of wrong. It is so flawed in so many ways it is difficult to describe everything in one review – even the trailer lies to you! Ultimately the plotting is to blame for the film’s huge failure to captivate – it is a movie about aliens destroying the entire world, except we witness it from the inside of a room with the blinds pulled down. Even the action is repetitive! This would not be such a tragedy if the characters and dialogue were excellent, but they’re not. They’re terrible.

Skyline is very confusing. Despite its infuriating simplicity (aliens invade! Hide!), it makes very little sense. Aliens appear and sucked everyone into their hypnotic light to kidnap their brains. Their methods are varied, their abilities seemingly endless, their motivation baffling and their pursuit of individual humans pointlessly desperate. The aliens make no sense, the characters’ actions make no sense (“Let’s go to the marina!” Eh?!) and the general air of carelessness floats from the screen like an acrid stench.

The kindest thing that can be said about The Strause Brothers latest effort is that it’s 100% their best feature film so far. Is this a back-handed compliment? Yes. Their previous feature was the corpse-of-a-franchise-raping Alien versus Predator 2: Requiem. If you remove your brain for 90 minutes then Skyline is watchable, although it’s doubtful The Strause Brothers would smile at the irony of that statement.

Skyline is vastly pointless. A waste of time on a monumental scale. You can claim it’s a popcorn movie or it’s visually stunning, but this is no excuse to eradicate plot, pace, character, theme or intelligence from a film. Skyline is incredibly poor. Desperately avoid.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

One Comment on “Skyline”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Dave Scullion, Dave Scullion. Dave Scullion said: Cinema this weekend? Wondering what to watch / avoid? WATCH: AVOID: GOD NO!: [...]

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