Monday 15 November 2010

Review: Skyline

Year: 2010
Director: The Strause Brothers
Screenplay: Liam O'Donnell, Joshua Cordes
Starring: Donald Faison, Eric Balfour, David Zayas, Scottie Thompson, Brittany Daniel

Synopsis is here

Skyline in my eyes is either one of the funniest movies of the year or one of the worst. Take your pick. This expensive Sy-Fi channel piece of trash had me laughing almost as much as some this years comedies I sat through this year. The problem is the po-faced acting and the (admittedly) grand-standing effects; suggest that it actually wants to be taken quite seriously.

Unfortunately, when your film is ridden with trite horror film cliches, poor logic and naff homages nabbed from other films by better film makers (stand up War of the worlds, District 9, Cloverfield) I'm not going join you on your plight. This is a film in which poorly developed lead characters are quick to dismiss the choices of their significant others before turning tail and having the same characters stating a moment later "I'LL NEVER LEAVE YOU BEHIND!" Seriously? As if your 20 minutes of bitching didn't happen? Ok then.

The Strause Brothers (also behind tonally imbalanced AvP2) have once again brought about a film that relies on belief over a half baked premise over anything that comes near decent storytelling. It's great that they can create effects like that for so little money, but their lack of giving us anything that approaches interesting characters or entertaining set pieces reminded me where a cluster of modern mainstream Hollywood films are going. Skyline is all premise first, little else second with almost nothing to keep someone like myself interested in apart from it's patchy narrative turns had me cackling in the screen louder than one of the Macbeth witches. By the time L.A is nuked in a bid to destroy the aliens with their fishing line lights and their reaver like features, I was past giving a damn.

It also seems that these FX masters don't give a damn about directing their T.V actors. Now there's nothing wrong with T.V actors but when you are in a film where you really mean nothing compared to the effects on show then you in trouble. It doesn't help when your state of the art of effects don't even compare to the likes of Cloverfield or District 9. Hell even the back to basic feel of Splice works better, mostly because Vincenzo Natali wishes to make a movie based on know; interesting themes, story and stuff. But like I said, there's plenty to laugh about with the biggest giggles coming with the nuke set piece and the ending of the film which despite what it involves comes across as very brainless.

It's very obvious that Independence Day is a clear influence on this film, and as a fan of that movie (even with it's overt patriotism and cheese) I can see what it wishes to do. The problem is quite simple is there is no feeling of fun with this movie. Watching ID4 I always sense that I'm laughing WITH Roland Emmerich. I spent far too much time laughing AT Skyline and there lies the difference.