Review: 'Skyline'

An Independence Day scale invasion told as a Friday the Thirteenth slasher film with visuals inspired by The Matrix and shot on a shoestring. Verdict? Not too bad.

A few hours before dawn in Los Angeles, clusters of unearthly blue lights descend in a pattern all over the city. In the aftermath of an penthouse bash the night before, one of the party-goers goes to the window to investigate only to vanish as if suddenly pulled away. As seen through the eyes of a handful of mere humans, aliens begin systematically drawing victims to their ships and willfully hunting down any who resist. Who they are and what they want aren’t as important as “Does humanity stand a chance?”

This kind of slasher-esque film used to be more common place; take a bunch of television actors on hiatus, stick them someplace dangerous, then kill them off one by one. But Skyline is all about the special effects, which means that virtually every moment of back story on our heroes (read: victims) is less than filler, it’s pure unwanted distraction. The real meat of the film is all running and surviving, but one extra scene tacked on right after the inevitable ending acts as a preview to what my come next. Skyline is pure eye candy, but it’s mighty tasty.

Is there any easy way to say to the filmmakers that every moment spent shooting the back story was a waste of time? Ugh. It would have been enough to move forward right where things started out, but instead we are made to endure dribble. The moment the running starts, Skyline manages to outshine Cloverfield in mere minutes, then keeps charging ahead to show off more goodies. By the time we see a fighter jet rolling over a rooftop and smashing into a monster, the filmmakers, Colin and Greg Strause, are pretty much having their way with us and purely showing off.

It’s already been suggested that Skyline plays more like the resume of a special effects graduate trying to get a studio’s attention, but underneath it all are hints of social commentary that have been far better explored elsewhere. The extra scene at the end provides more answers than the entire rest of the film as well as sets up where it all could go from here, a tiny ray of hope even in the face of the end of the human race. Would Skyline have been better without it? We’ll have to wait for the sequel to find out, especially since this film made back its entire budget in three days even without hitting first place at the box office.

(a two and a half skull recommendation out of four)

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About Grim D. Reaper

Host of MovieCrypt.com. With my likeness being used in hundreds of films without permission, film critique isn’t dead until I SAY it is.
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2 Responses to Review: 'Skyline'

  1. Carl says:

    Well, that was a waste of ELEVEN MILLION DOLLARS. One can only imagine what someone with a vision could have done with that chance. Why was this produced independently? There was nothing, nothing new or original in this movie. It was boring as hell, and yes, you’re right, the characters were distracting, in fact, they were annoying.
    But I don’t know, get critics free tickets? ‘Cause nobody should have to pay for this demo reel. First, you have to endure this dumb dialogue, second, it’s not a movie. It’s just a show off of special effects. Like some Youtube videos from kids to show off their Abilities with After Effects.
    Okay, it’s getting cold, theatres are heated, so I’d say, let the audience pay $ 1 for 90 minutes of a warm place to sit around. That’d probably be fair.

  2. Mikelona says:

    C’mon, why are people always so harsh with sci-fi? Everyone panned this movie, OK the characters are annoying, so what? The aliens and the effects were out of this world. The premise of the aliens kicking butt was what really made this work, the brains being ripped out of humans and used in the alien “bots” was a nice touch.

    I really enjoyed this film contrary to most of the drivel being spewed out of hollywood right now. A little more of the military fighting back or even more mad max type action would be great for the sequel, I recomemnd this flick if you can just sit back and enjoy and leave the super critical part of yourself at home.

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