Skyline (2010) – Review

Aliens attack in Skyline...

Alien invasion films tread a fine line in the film world. With recent disasters failing to capture the brilliance of (although sketchy) classics such as Independence Day, the films are met with scepticism by movie-goers who have been repeatedly let down. Skyline unfortunately carries the baton of the former and, not only does it bodge its attempts at providing a new spin on the alien invasion story, it manages to splice motifs and effects of other films together, ultimately resulting in a frankenstein’s parody.

After travelling to L.A. Jarrod (Eric Balfour), girlfriend Elaine (Scottie Thompson) and their friends are confronted with the hangover from hell. When a mysterious blue light filters through the blinds they find themselves drawn to it like moths to the proverbial flame. Sucking its victims into the unknown, we discover the light is emitted by aliens intent on harvesting the earth of its inhabitants.

Although not the worst premise to ever be devised, the film ultimately suffers from its execution. The effects are impressive but don’t stray too far from recent blockbusters, resulting in a film that feels a little like a rehash of the last decade’s cinema. You’ll notice that for the first half of the film the aliens are presented in a rather Cloverfield-esque way whilst the fibre optic aliens themselves feel like a mash up of the evil electricity-eating monster ships in The Matrix, Michael Bay’s Transformers and the creepy mechanical invaders from War of the Worlds. Throw a forgettable cast into the mix (including Scrub’s Turk) and some beguiling characters who choose to carry out some overly moronic whims (why, for instance, make a run for it in a convertible when they are 60 foot monsters waiting to grab you outside?), and it leaves nothing but a bad taste.

Directors Colin and Greg Strause include some pretty sweeping overhead shots but even they get a little tired and overused after the first ten minutes. The film circumvents its refreshing viewpoint (this time told solely through the eyes of one apartment’s experience with the invasion) by focusing on elements viewers will no doubt have seen a hundred times before. After Neil Hopkins (Lost’s Liam) is sucked away the inevitable bickering and explosions ensue both of which are wearily un-engaging.

Despite such flaws the film is ultimately let down by its ending. Just when the action is hotting up (albeit in an ending that has taken off in an incredibly odd tangent disguised loosely as a conclusion) the credits roll, interspersing names of cast and crew with images of the fight scenes the viewers are robbed of.

Best bit: Seeing several hundred people get sucked into the sky is pretty impressive.
Best character: Harry’s dog.
Worst character: Either of Turk’s bimbo friends.
Watch this if you liked:
Transformers, War of the Worlds, Matrix, Independence Day, Battle: Los Angeles

The film was shot entirely with Red cameras.

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