Thursday, November 18, 2010

Movie Review: Skyline

A horde of technologically superior brain-gulping aliens descends on Earth in this sci fi horror directed by Colin Strause and Greg Strause.

Skyline distinguishes itself for its lack of hope. No one has a viable plan for fighting the aliens. None of the characters are military commanders or scientific aides to the President. Skyline is an alien invasion horror that reduces its cast to squealing feeder mice as the aliens harvest major cities of its protein treasure.

Set in a hedonistic Los Angeles high rise, a visiting young couple, Jarrod and Elaine from Brooklyn, party down with Jarrod's old rapper buddy Terry, who is now successful in the music business and wants Jarrod to join his crew. This premise nicely sets up a plausible situation in which beautiful young people populate the story. Scary movies need beautiful young people. No one wants to watch ugly people face their worst fears.

Jarrod and Elaine's first day in Los Angeles includes pool-side fun and alcohol-fueled partying in Terry's penthouse. Issues flare up constantly, like Elaine's new pregnancy and Terry's bold adultery with his assistant in the penthouse he shares with his wife.

After everyone passes out, the aliens come. No one has any idea what is going on. The characters are all pretty much stupid blockheads. This was actually captivating in a weird kind of way. There was no character who was on the staff of SETI or a genius computer scientist or a survivor of alien abduction. No one in Skyline has any brilliant ideas. No one is going to hack into the alien operating system with a smart phone. Much of the dialogue is:

"What's happening?"
"I don't know!"

The script suits the painfully average crew of actors, but that does not really detract from the movie. The point of Skyline, which it delivers well, is that no one is going to come across as smart when humanity is being destroyed by beings that are technologically and biologically superior.

Skyline is a well executed study in watching one species consume another. The movie never drags. It is always engaging. It spends a lot of time with the men arguing over their bad ideas while the women cringe helplessly. Overall it is an entertaining movie that rewarded me with a couple chuckles although it did not mean to. I give it 3 out of 5 stars. Having paid matinee price and eschewed the purchase of concessions at criminally insane price points, I feel I got good value. Skyline actually became most interesting at its cliffhanger ending, leaving me wondering what will happen next.