Friday, November 12, 2010
Skyline is a stupid movie. Not a slightly stupid movie. A very stupid movie. There are moments of brilliance, where you feel like things might finally be looking up, and then suddenly the crushing banality comes back down to annihilate your hope. Clearly it wants to be a movie in the Cloverfield vein about everyday individuals caught up in huge events of global significance, but it falls flat under its own inconsequence.
The plot concerns young artist Jared (Eric Balfour) who comes to L.A. with his girlfriend for his friend's birthday party. Unfortunately, alien ships show up shortly thereafter, blasting strange blue rays into the ground that levitate vast hordes of people into the air. Escaping the first culling, Jared and his friends hole up in an L.A. penthouse, trying to survive as the alien ships start dropping monsters and the military shows up for the battle.
Directing are the Brothers Strause, who also gave us AvP: Requiem, a movie which provided several cool shots or scene compositions that I remember vividly, but whose plot I would be completely unable to describe to you. Skyline is much the same way. It looks like a much better movie than it is. The monsters are pretty nifty, and there are some cool sequences which do absolutely nothing for the plot, as whenever the characters engage an alien menace, they immediately retire back to the penthouse.
And that's a huge problem. The characters are all paper thin, and the story itself feels like it was sketched together on cocktail napkins on set. Jared's girlfriend is pregnant, which provides some drama, while his friend is cheating on his wife, which provides more drama. There's just one problem. Aliens are invading! I don't give a crap! Quit whining and fight some extraterrestrials.
However, here too they drop the ball. The aliens are invading for a particular reason which is not only mind-numbingly stupid, but it makes no sense when you think about it for a minute. Apparently humans are the source of something the aliens need to survive. But if this is the case, how have they come to be such an advanced civilization? Clearly they must have harvested humans some time prior, but when? What will they do when all the humans are gone?
Of course all this pales next to the ending, which starts off bleak, then attempts some sort of heroic finale that not only makes no sense but seems highly insignificant. Indeed, inconsequential seems like a good word to describe Skyline. The focus is so limited one never gets a good idea of what is going on beyond L.A. except for some sweeping aerial shots, and nothing of importance really occurs the whole time. And with the ending, one is left wondering, "Okay...but what difference does that make?"
Skyline seems like nothing so much as an exaggerated special effects reel held together with a plot that would make most beer commercials seem like grand theatre. Do not fall prey to the nifty commercials. Skyline will make you retarded.