It's never a good sign when you sit down to watch a film's trailer and immediately find yourself drifting off to memories of several other films, all of which are pretty much destined to be vastly superior to the film you are preparing to watch.
Such was the case with Skyline,
a cinematic nothing of a film equivalent to a piece of space dust in the universe. The film's only saving grace would be its fairly decent special effects, no small achievement given the film's modest production budget.
There is a reason, of course, that all of this looks familiar. It is. The Brothers Strause, as the directing duo likes to bill themselves, have quite the history in creating special effects and have worked on films ranging from Avatar
(damn that blue!) all the way back to The Nutty Professor, The X-Files
and a host of others. Oh, and they also directed AVPR...
also nothing more than cinematic noise.
While the special effects in Skyline
aren't weak, they aren't particularly original either. In fact, just from watching the trailer, one would almost swear this film is a bigger budget version of last year's indie darling District 9,
a film that the Brothers Strause were not, in fact, involved in.
Beyond the film's semi-decent special effects, however, Skyline
has virtually nothing going for it courtesy of a script from Joshua Cordes and Liam O'Donnell that is neither special nor particularly effective. The most surefire way to sink a modestly budgeted flick is to force modestly talented actors to bring to life dialogue that possesses no inherent life of its own.
The truth is that Skyline
most closely resembles last year's The Fourth Kind.
They both suck.
The story, as much story as there is, evolves around the boyfriend/girlfriend duo of Jarrod (Eric Balfour) and Elaine (Scottie Thompson, serving up the film's only decent performance) as they visit the high-rise apartment home of their buddy, Terry (Donald Faison). The morning after a wild party, massive blue lights begin swooping down from the skies.
You guessed it. Alien invasion. They aren't friendly. They're hungry and they feast on human brains.
That's pretty much all there is to Skyline,
save for a an ending that is a blue-collar rip-off from the aforementioned District 9.
While the premise itself is promising, the result is predictable, lifeless and almost painstaking in its ability to create boredom. The acting is lifeless, but that's hardly the fault of the actors as they're given insipid dialogue to deliver and very little in the way of character development from which to create anything lasting or meaningful.
Released with very little advanced publicity and only a late night promo screening the day before opening (That's one way to sabotage the critics!), Skyline
won't come near the box-office of the Strause's AVPR
without that film's history and gross-out factor. Left to stand on its own, it's likely that this Skyline
will open with decent numbers only to quickly become a box-office bottom dweller.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic