Yesterday I toddled off to Skyline which I had been anticipating ever since I viewed the trailer. However, given how many trailers these days include pretty much the best a movie has to offer and can be completely misleading , I went with cautious expectations. Good thing too, because this one is a definite stinker.
* * * SPOILERS AHEAD * * *
On the positive side, it had great special effects but everything else is a mess. As for the other aspects, Skyline has a meandering amateurish script, lousy pacing and mediocre acting. The movie begins on a positive note launching quickly into the action as the invasion begins and people are swept into the sky into the alien ships with our main characters watching from their penthouse apartment. Then it grinds to a halt as it gives us a flashback to show us the why fore and wherefore of how our young couples met. This section proceeds glacially for 20 minutes or so until we return to where we left off. Obviously the point was to provide background and create empathy for our characters who would shortly be in an imminent life-threatening situation. It didn’t accomplish that, we are given uninteresting situations and dull dialogue.
The character dynamics are weak. Women filmgoers may even be affronted by the ineffectual women in this film cowering behind their men. An unsympathetic gold-digger personal assist, a jealous wife (Brittany Daniel), a head-in-the-sand girlfriend (Scottie Thompson), a cheating husband (Donald Faison) and aimless boyfriend (Eric Balfour) and a stock alpha male represented by the apartment supervisor (David Zayas) make up the primary cast. The best dynamic is between the two male buddies, with neither charismatic enough to carry the film alone. Unfortunately one of them (Faison) is killed off early on. Balfour is not up to carrying the film from that point.
The film borrows liberally from its SF predecessors, the alien fliers are reminiscent of the ships from the Matrix, several scenes where they are trapped and being searched for by alien scouts combine elements from War of the Worlds (the Tom Cruise version) and Alien. The light in the windows from Close Encounters and even the demise of the gold digger comes from Jurassic Park. All of the remaining characters fall into Star Trek red-shirt territory and are just there as victims.
The usual battles take place, the aliens seem invincible despite a few small successes. Damaged aliens and ships resurrect themselves. There is never an explanation of why or what the aliens are doing there to provide some context or big picture. Everybody dies except the girlfriend and she is captured. From a plot perspective the most interesting moments occur in the last few minutes of the movie. There we see the the couple among piles of bodies of those sucked into the ship. The alien tentacles rip of heads and consume the brains (why we’re not sure) and then birth new aliens. Eric Balfour is eaten next, only the girlfriend remains. WAIT! This isn’t an SF movie its a ZOMBIE movie! BRAINS!
The small twist has the alien birthed from Balfour’s brain retaining some memory and intelligence as he protects his girlfriend from the rest of his brother aliens. THE END.
Now if they had only introduced that story element half way through, we might have had an interesting picture. Overall a disappointing film. Wait to see this one until it hits the 99 cent bin at your DVD rental store.Two stars out of five.