Monday, November 15, 2010

Movie Review: Skyline

“Skyline,” starring Eric Balfour (24) and Donald Faison (Scrubs) is the brainchild of brothers Colin and Greg Strauss, visual effects gurus whose have worked on films like “X-Men” and “Terminator 3.”

There are amazing visuals in “Skyline;” it’s well crafted and wonderfully designed. It shows an alien invasion from the perspective of citizenry, people who don’t have any government insider knowledge of the situation. We’re in the dark for the alien’s motivation and abilities, and that’s a GOOD thing. The more pseudo-science in a movie, the stupider it seems. The aliens are bizarre and their motives are incomprehensible to us, which fits the mood of the film just fine.

“Skyline” looks spectacular, creates a moody, fascinating atmosphere, but fails on every other level. Character development? None, unless you count characters getting stupider. Character arcs? Nope. Science fiction should have enough levity to make us laugh or enough commentary to make us think, and “Skyline” has neither; nor does it bring anything new to the alien-invasion table, besides a reduction in scale and perspective. To its credit, “Skyline” was made for $10 million. Holy, florking snart. This movie certainly looks as good as any Hollywood summer blockbuster. (For reference, “Transformers 2” cost $200 million). Despite its flaws, I was going to give it a soft recommend, but then the movie ended on... wow, how do you describe it?

Imagine if in “Iron Man” Tony Stark has spent the entire movie dying inside of the cave. Just an hour and a half of him sitting on a bed, staring at the car battery tied to his chest, awaiting his death at the hands of terrorist. Then imagine that five minutes to the end of the movie he builds a robot suit and then kicks down a door and then fires his flamethrower and the movie then stops mid-scene. Just cold stops. That would be INFURIATING. You would be watching a movie with no plot that suddenly became a completely different and possibly interesting movie, and then it ends mid scene. This is what happens in “Skyline.”

Literally, mid-scene. I cannot emphasize this enough. Not cliff-hanger. Not “suspensefully”. The movie changes gears completely (into a much more interesting story) and ends mid-scene, as in, “there are pages of the script missing” or “whoops we cut the last ten minutes out” mid-scene. In the end, “Skyline” is a $10 million special effects demo reel. The Strauss brothers make a great looking movie, but they sure can’t direct one.

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps the final reel would have cost an extra 100,000 to Puralator out to the theaters and that would have bumped them over the $10M mark, and then they couldn't say the made it for $10M. It would have been $10.1M. And then they would not have achieved their goal, so they decided to go for "Artistic" and failed.

    Just a thought.