Skyline

After achieving what Sigourney Weaver and Arnold Schwarzenegger failed to do for years by stopping the Aliens and the Predators dead in their tracks after the horrendous AVP: Requirem, many wondered (or, more accurately, dreaded) what the directing duo of the Strauss Brothers would do next.
The answer would be Skyline, an ambitious low budget sci-fi that would go on to have a suprisingly engaging legacy that wouldn’t actually take hold until seven years later when a VOD sequel came out and remembered to add something the orginal neglected to have – fun.
With that being said, take note: if Skyline had remained a one-off movie without the berserk sequels that belatedly followed, you could expect an even lower score than the one I’ve given it because this invasion is more Bore Of The Worlds than Independence Yay….

Travelling to Los Angeles to celebrate the birthday of his immensely successful best friend Terry, Jarrod and his spouse Elaine, are wowed by the vast amounts of bling they find themselves in. Joined by Terry’s wife Candice, and his assistant, Denise they indulge themselves in the lap of luxury while tensions steadily mount due to the strains their relationships are in: artist Jarrod wants to move out to California to work for his friend while Elaine doesn’t due to the fact that she’s a little bit pregnant. However, these problems will soon melt into insignificance (although only temporarily as everyone involved is horribly self-obsessed) when a full-scale alien invasion descends on the city and deploys their primary weapons: beams of hypnotic blue lights that transfix it’s victims like a deer in extra-terrestrial headlights before drawing them up into the spikey ships where an unknown fate awaits them. Managing to shield themselves in the nick of time by drawing the curtains (not that great a weapon, then), Jarrod, Elaine, Terry, Candice and Denise take refuge in Terry’s palatial penthouse and impatiently wait for a rescue; however, it turns out that it’ll take more than drapes to stop these invaders and the aliens start employing their ground and air support to sweep up the remaining humans not given a lethal case of the blues. After encountering an octopus-like drone that can fit inside their building and who gobbles up it’s victims for storage, the group plan to make a dash for the marina across the street and steal a boat but a tragic encounter with a
Brontosaurus sized dreadnought, that’s also doing the rounds while harvesting screaming people, makes the survivors think twice. Joined by Oliver, the building’s forceful concierge, the remnants if the cast once again impotently take shelter back in the penthouse as it dawns on them that no help may actually be coming.
With every attempt made to kick these creatures directly in their alien balls failing miserably, tensions once again start to rise amongst the humans, but there’s something Jerrod isn’t telling anybody and that’s repeated exposure to the alien’s blue light has started to cause his body to undergo an alarming change. Is he infected with an alien pathogen or has being doused in an extraterrestrial spotlight managed to alter his very DNA? Whatever’s going on, someone needs to make a damn decision before LA’s population is gathered up like fucking battery hens for insidious inhuman reasons that may involve actual brain snatching.

Despite Skyline’s lofty ambitions to churn out blockbuster thrills at a fraction of the budget, the filmmakers make the grievous error of forgetting that we actually have to give the slightest of shits about the people the aliens are dropping their blue crap on. Enlisting a cast of familiar TV faces to play noticably unsympathetic people possibly may have not been the best way to go and while normally endearing actors like 24’s Eric Balfour and Dexter’s David Zayas usually work well as part of an ensemble, all they get to do here is bicker and argue about the best way to deal with this threat from outer space while your brain tries to process that the cast also contains Turk from fucking Scrubs and one of the twins from Sweet Valley High. No one in the movie can seems able to agree on anything and the only thing that unites this rather unlikable collection of people is that every single one of their ideas turn out to be universally awful – which then only leads to yet more arguing and the odd bout of bizarre dialogue. I’m not a smoker myself, but chiding someone for puffing on a cigarette during the stressful events of a full blown alien holocaust seems a little much, even if the woman complaining is pregnant woman.
Another thing other than the dreary, self-obsessed cast of characters that makes Skyline such a slog to get through us that the movie has predictably poached some of it’s more memorable moments from other films and then insists on doing them worse. The intense blue lights pulsing from an alien mothership the size of Chiswick obviously screams Independence Day while squid-like drones bring up more than mild memories of the Sentinels from The Matrix; shit, there’s even a scene where people cower behind things to avoid being detected by searching probe tentacles much like Spielberg’s War Of The Worlds but none of it contains even a fraction of the excitement and tension contained in the originals which makes Skyline feel distinctly like the bargin bin version of all those movies I just mentioned.
However, the most noticable thing about Skyline is it’s curious desire to proudly be the nihilist’s Independence Day by making the humans not only having zero chance of overcoming the alien hordes, but making them barely capable of scoring the slightest hint of a victory against any of the glowy bastards that comes for them. While you’d think that giving your characters no hope of winning as you shuffle towards a downbeat ending might create a sci-fi version of Night Of The Living Dead (another such film where the characters hate each other’s guts and a happy ending is as likely as a Unicorn President), instead it makes you stop caring about the film altogether. When the Mothership magically rebuilds itself after a nuke attack like an evil, floating game of Tetris you finally figure “what’s the point” as you realise that the only thing that’s supposed to keep you invested is a bunch of clueless twentysomethings…
This however does lead us to Skyline’s sole positive point: that of it’s originally bizarre ending where Jarrod repeated exposure to the alien’s blue light makes him sort if immune to their influence (What the hell is the point of a weapon if people can just “get used” to it?) and allows him to retain his memories after – get this – having his brain removed and placed in the skull of an alien body. Protecting Elaine and their unborn baby, Mutant-Jerrod fights the other aliens and takes off into the bowels of the ship which is some pretty cool shit – or else it would be if the fucking credits didn’t start rolling…

Frustrating and nowhere near as edgy as it thinks it is, Skyline was sort of redeemed by it’s whacko sequel, which revealed that the alien’s greatest weakness is coming into contact with cast members from The Raid, but on it’s own it’s just an empty, vapid, wannabe blockbuster that rewards your time by punishing you thanks to ending when it finally gets good…
No clear blue skies for this Skyline…

🌟🌟

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