Film: ‘Skyline’; Directors: Colin Strause, Greg Strause; Actors: Eric Balfour, Scottie Thompson, Birttany Daniel, Crystal Reed; Rating: **
Alien abduction movies have been done to death. What do you do if you have to make another? Obviously, you pick the best of every movie on aliens there ever has been and hope it works. Sadly, despite its best intentions, ‘Skyline’ does not.
After blue lights descend on the city of Los Angeles attracting people to it and sucking them to its source, the survival of mankind is at stake. Trying their best to survive in this melee are Jarrod (Eric Balfour), his pregnant girlfriend Elaine (Scottie Thompson) and a few of his friends.
‘Skyline’ does seem like a good plot for a sci-fi movie. And it is. Sadly, there are so many elements taken from so many other sci-fi films that it becomes impossible to find ‘Skyline’ in that. Perhaps, you’ll realise, there is no ‘Skyline’ left at the end of the day.
Among the most notable lifts for the film include ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’, ‘Independence Day’, ‘Cloverfield’ and ‘District 9’.
A decent sci-fi fan will tell you exactly which scene is taken from which film. There’s perhaps nothing wrong in being inspired this way. What is wrong is when the end-film made out of such a jamboree does not work.
Two things, however, could have saved the film despite its flaws – good writing and actors. Potential for a few good sub-plots are missed. Even the resolution of the conflict in the main plot between the two main protagonists is not handled well.
The actors do a shoddy job, thus drawing your attention to what does not work in the film.
The ending is shocking, but not in a good way. It is way too bizarre, and an obvious lift from ‘District 9’ for the digestion of even the dumbest fan.
Yet, the good thing about the film is its special effects. Yes, we have seen effects as good as this, but none with its paltry budget of approximately $10 million. It had to be the Strause brothers responsible for the effects of such films as ‘Avatar’, ‘Iron Man 2’, ‘X Men’, ‘Jumper’, ‘Torque’ and ‘300’ to do this at such a low budget.
This bodes well for independent filmmakers who so far have written special effects out of their budget. One no longer needs to make that compromise — and that is perhaps a good thing for cinema.