Thursday 3 March 2011

Today's Review: Skyline

Aliens. What is up with aliens? Always coming to wreck our stuff. Or at least, that's what they do in all the movies. Apart from that one I reviewed last week. It seems Hollywood has some kind of boner for being murdered horribly by other-worldly beings. Skyline is no exception.

We open to a scene of several fancy blue lights descending on Los Angeles. A group of twenty something are sleeping in some fancy apartment, and are woken up by the light, which takes one of them away and makes the other's face go all weird and veiny. Oooh, I can't wait to see how they get out of this one. Oh wait, I have to sit through 15 minutes of backstory first.

"15 hours earlier". Why would I want to watch what happened 15 hours earlier? I've been watching these kids for 2 minutes, they've hardly said a word, and I still don't give two shits about why they're there. Show me some more aliens! Instead i'm treated to a meticulously crafted story about a guy seeing his friend in LA, having a wild party, contemplating whether he should move there... All things that seem to be not so important once they're running away from weird aliens. They weren't even important when they showed them at the beginning. So eventually we get back to where we started, feeling none the better for the experiences we've shared with these one dimensional characters. 

So the blue lights have taken a guy, and the main guy, Jarrod, is going all veiny-faced. Right, I remember. But then he gets saved by Turk from Scrubs, I mean Terry, the guy who owns said nice apartment 'cause he's real good at hip hop. See, without that rich back story I would just be left wondering about how they came to be in that nice apartment. So, freaky alien shit has gone down, someone they know is completely gone, so how do our male heroes react? "Hey, let's go outside armed only with a pistol so we can check it out". These guys are clever. So off they go, and in the moment that could be their last together, Jarrod's girlfriend grabs him and says "Look at me". So he looks at her. Then leaves. Great last words. Oscar winning delivery. Other snide remark. 

Unsurprisingly, when the two guys reach the roof all kinds of crazy shit goes down. People are being sucked up into massive ships around the city, and flying aliens are coming to pick up the stragglers. After Terry wastes most of his ammo trying to unlock the roof door again they're safely inside. But for how long? So begins a roundabout chase involving the characters trying to escape, but not doing very well, and meeting all kinds of alien weirdness along the way. There's a strange aside near the beginning where Jarrod, having survived his encounter with the blue light, looks at his body and finds himself getting really weird and veiny. His girlfriend asks what's wrong, he says it's nothing. I don't know about him, but I tell my lady if I so much as stub my toe on something, i'd definitely tell her about some weird alien stuff happening on my torso. I guess he didn't want to worry her, but they're already pretty worried as every single human being in the city is being abducted. Turns out though, it's just a set up for a later plot development. I should've guessed...

The aliens themselves are a bit weird. They're weird flying tentacle monsters, and I have no idea how they'd function normally in any environment. Not to mention how they evolved. It may work differently on an alien planet, but probably not. At what point during evolution does it become necessary to be born with like a hundred tentacles? Did the ones with just 80 tentacles keep getting killed for some reason? 

You may say i'm overthinking, I should just focus on the plot and the action and enjoy myself, it's a popcorn movie after all. But believe me, I tried. I didn't really like the characters, and they just go round in circles. True, it creates a much more realistic depiction of how people would be in the midst of an alien attack, i.e. pretty hopeless, but while all these movies about people defying all odds to escape unharmed are pretty far fetched, at least they offer something in the way of story progression. Watching people cower in fear for an hour isn't particularly entertaining. The special effects, I must say, are pretty good. But the directors are mainly in the business of special effects. They just decided to make the rest of the movie too. Skyline isn't awful, it's just not very good. There's a lot of stuff that just isn't explained, and it's clear that it's set up for a sequel, although I have no idea how that would play out as the ending is pretty weird. If you like your aliens, give it a watch. You could also give it a watch if you like the colour blue, 'cause there's a shitload of that.

My rating: 2/5

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