Movie Review: Skyline (2010)

November 15, 2010 in Movie Reviews

Contrary to popular opinion, Skyline is NOT the worst film of the year.  It certainly isn’t great, or even good, but in its defence, there have definitely been worse films this year.

This may sound slack, but to me, Skyline felt like a half-decent TV movie.  If I switched on the television one night and saw it, I would would probably keep watching.

I like aliens, and Skyline is a kind of cross between War of the Worlds, Independence Day and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It’s got scary mechanical monsters, explosions and eye-popping special effects.  It’s got Eric Balfour, who been in just about everything over the years (though usually as a minor character), and Donald Faison, that is, Dr Turk from Scrubs.  What’s there not to like?

But unfortunately, Skyline is not a TV movie.  It’s a medium-sized sci-fi blockbuster produced and directed by the Brothers Strause, a special effects duo probably best known for Aliens vs Predator: Requiem (which is not a good sign).

As a big screen feature, Skyline suddenly looks and feels pretty ordinary.  It doesn’t exactly have the most original premise — aliens arrive from out of nowhere and start sucking humans into their spaceships with a hypnotic blue light, while  a bunch of normal humans fight for survival in a nice LA apartment complex.  The Brothers Strause hope that Skyline will be the first of a series of films, but it’s hard to imagine the series going much further unless the plot (and box office numbers) takes a drastic turn.

The main problem with Skyline is that it’s simply not as engaging as it should have been.  I’m not sure if it’s appalling dialogue (truly cringeworthy in some parts), the boring, cliched characters, the trite human interactions, the general cheesiness, or the fact that I never felt a true sense of danger or urgency (or perhaps I just didn’t care).  There were a few blistering action sequences, especially towards the end, but it was clear that something was missing.

That said, as unoriginal and uninspiring Skyline was, I didn’t hate it.  It was occasionally interesting and exciting.  It still had scary mechanical monsters, explosions and eye-popping special effects.  I made it through to the end without moaning or falling asleep.  That has to count for something, right?

2.5 stars out of 5