SKYLINE - THE ALIENS WIN!

  • Director - Brothers Greg & Colin Strause
  • Cast - Eric Balfour, Scottie Thompson, Donald Faison and David Zayas
  • Genre - Sci-Fi/Horror/Zombie?/WTF
  • Watch Becuase - Dont watch, but Special Effects, Air battles are good.
  • Dont Watch Because - Everything else, especially the 'acting'
  • Rating - 1/5 (For the honesty)
  • VERDICT - An uninspired and featureless mashup of many alien-sci-fi themed movies with  irritating, over-the-top  onscreen 'performances' interspersed in parts by solid CGI. Also, a showcase for the color Blue in all it's hues. EPICFAIL.

Starting with a disclaimer: Review contains the entire storyline. You should know the entire story so you will not go and watch it, losing money and sanity in the process. Even though this movie is "So bad that it is almost good", I liked one thing about it: It is blatantly honest (will talk about it later). Skyline has its moments with some dazzling special effects, but nothing helps to get the movie going with it's run-into-the-ground storyline, uninspired and downright irritating screenplay, insipid and stereotypical over-acting by the unknown cast, disastrously trying to focus more on 'human emotions' rather than the action, and plently of dumb and WTF moments.

Pay money to watch these guys?

Los Angeles. (Where else? Seriously, what do these disaster movie makers have against L.A?) Here, our protagonists are among the hard partying, Ferarri driving, 'beautiful people'. We have lead dude Jarrod (Balfour), chick Elaine (Thomson) and others chillin' in Terry's (token black guy - Faison) luxury penthouse crib on the top of a 20 story exclusive apartment building near the L.A. Marina. We start off with the obligatory pre-disaster factors: Lame dialogues on the pretext of 'character building', necessary swinging party featuring lots of hot girls, spats between the lead couple and the ever cliched complication in the form of female lead's pregnancy.

Aliens (source/details unknown) attack the city at night. Their aim seems to be 'harvesting' humans for some purpose. Omnipresent is a creepy bright blue light descending to earth/radiating from alien bodies/crafts, and humans are attracted to it and hypnotized, and then sucked up into the alien ships/crafts/ bodies hovering above the city. Some aliens/craft scout the air, ground and buildings for any people who might have escaped. Our protagonists are holed up in the apartment for most of the movie, talking/arguing pointlessly, all their escape attempts spectacularly thwarted by the aliens. Meanwhile, human resistance against the aliens comes in the form of unnamed snipers, fighter jets, Drones and Nukes, but prove utterly ineffective against the vastly superior antagonists. To make a long story short, all of the cast are either killed or captured by the aliens, Oliver (building concierge) being the last one to go after he blows up himself and the apartment along with an alien who tries to capture him. The lead pair, Jarrod and Elaine are the last to be sucked up from the terrace into the main craft, while they embrace and last-kiss each other in slo-mo. By now the Earth is a ghost town entirely devoid of people. In the black slimy interior of the alien craft, Elaine watches Jarrod's brain taken out and inserted into an alien drone which becomes self-aware with Jarrod's thoughts. It gets up, trashes some aliens who were preparing to 'extract' Elaine's foetus. Other drones arrive to bring down Jarrod-drone. He turns around to face them and..

..Credits roll. Wait, what? The aliens win?! WTF? How can humans lose? :) (Sequel threat?)

The movie draws parallels and 'inspiration' from almost all movies of the Alien-Sci-Fi/Horror Sci-Fi genre: Aliens abducting humans for their end needs, intrusive and poky aliens with probes, humans chopping off alien limbs with axes, no reference to world leadership (War of the Worlds), Mother-ship strategy, nuking a city for the greater good, air battles (Independence Day),  General yuckiness and sliminess (Alien franchise) and so on. Human resistance is anonymous. There are no meetings between 'The President' and his generals to define battleplans, no consultations with 'The Prime Minister' and the president of France, no 'inspiring speeches and no cigars. In fact, there are no more than 20 people (and 1 dog) shown in the movie including extras, and some 10 of them have lines to say (including the dog). Barring special effects, the movie felt like a home video creation and claustrophobic. Set in one apartment and its immediate surroundings, it leaves the remaining part of L.A. as a distant skyline. Maybe it is because the movie was made on a shoestring budget of just 20 million dollars. (Which is the amount Avatar spent for body paint!)

Human resistance seems to be an afterthought (Hey, this is an alien movie after all) and seems to be majorly in accordance with the "How to deal with any alien problem" rule set by Hollywood: A squadron of predator drones and B-2 stealth bombers nuke the shit out of the alien mothership (along with half of LA). It looks destroyed at first, but then starts rebuilding itself and is back in business. Some of the battle sequences where F-18s, B-2s, B-22s etc engage alien crafts in dog fights are stunning and brilliantly done, like the one where a B-2 dances its way through the alien phalanx dodging, bombing and nudging enemy craft to deliver the nuke to the alien mothership, which I would say is the best 1 minute of the movie. That was some flying skills. But the unnamed human defenders get their ass handed to them ultimately.

Nothing at all is said about the aliens, but I would want to draw a conclusion that they are cyborgs, and will function only if a human brain is inserted into them. All these aliens carry spare brains with them, incase the one they have is damaged. We see in a basement scene that when the alien is damaged after being hit by an SUV, it kills a human, takes out his brain and inserts it into itself and is up and about again. All their ships are sort of vague as well, always shown from a distance. Even the attacking craft are shown just as specks of blue light. And the goddamned blue light is everywhere. Blue is to this movie what Green is to The Matrix.

The 'blatent honesty' part: One good thing about the movie is that it goes against the established Hollywood allegory of "Humans win in the end because we are awesome". We lose. They are vastly superior than us, and we stand no chance against them. Period. They will get our brains if they want to. So get that, Roland Emmerich! Maybe we lost because Jeff Goldblum switched to Windows or the aliens re-installed all their operating systems so that they are human-incompatible, or maybe because Tom Cruise decided to stay at home with his irritating little sister.

In short, dont watch. Oh and the producers have issued a threat for a sequel already! *Shudder*

All said and done, I still prefer this Skyline. But not in Blue. #kthxbai

  • dave

    Good review. Couldn’t agree more. I have a friend who is a writer and he can’t get a script/screenplay sold to save his life! But these guys “phone it in” and make millions. Doesn’t seem fair.

    • Unfortunate. Yeah, I guess the pre-requesite to get your script approved is loads of connections and a crappy track-record. Real talent hardly gets recognized, I wonder if anyone looks at the script anymore!

      Anyways I dont htink these guys made anything substantial, looking at the mudslinging they recieved.

      Thanks for writing in! Hope your friend gets his recognition very soon!

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