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It was supposed to be a simple birthday weekend in Southern California. But when sunrise arrives two hours early in the form of a haunting light from an unknown source, a group of friends watch in terror as people across the city are drawn outside and swept into massive alien ships that have blotted out the L.A. skyline. From tankers to drones and hydra-like extraterrestrials, the aliens are inescapable and seemingly indestructible. Now, it will take every survival instinct the group has to elude capture in this riveting, action-packed sci-fi adventure starring Eric Balfour (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Donald Faison ("Scrubs") and Scottie Thompson (Star Trek).
Skyline, an effects-laden thriller from directors Colin and Greg Strause, wears its various influences--films like Alien, District 9, Independence Day, and War of the Worlds--on its sleeve, but even if it doesn't measure up to those predecessors, the film offers enough thrills and action to keep sci-fi fans interested. The Brothers Strause, as they call themselves, have done visual-effects work on blockbusters like Avatar, Titanic, and 300, and the effects are by far the best part of this tale (scripted by Joshua Cordes and Liam O'Donnell) about an armada of giant spaceships that suddenly appear in the skies over Los Angeles and immediately set about their business--namely, shooting down immense blue columns of light that hoover every human in sight up into the ships, where aliens will do nasty things to them. Observing this horror from a posh Marina Del Rey penthouse are a group of gorgeous, strikingly solipsistic young people in skimpy clothes, including Jarrod and Elaine (Eric Balfour and Scottie Thompson), a couple visiting from New York. A few action sequences find them trying to escape (bad idea, as the mother ships disgorge an endless supply of smaller, tentacled craft and troops of gross, city-stomping monsters to seek and destroy any luckless fool they encounter). But for the most part they huddle inside, watching the action, screaming hysterically, and uttering dialogue that's either cliché ridden ("What are those things?" "Does it even matter?!") or merely inane (mid-attack, Elaine, who's just learned that she's pregnant, complains when someone lights up a cigarette; you'd think she'd have more pressing concerns). And therein lies the problem, as some cool images and jolting moments are mitigated by Skyline's lame script and below-average acting. --Sam Graham
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As to the film.. It has some good visuals but I like my scifi with a little more meat on the bone. I prefer to know more about what is going on. This took me more as a teen horror/zombie movie with a alien theme. And really that's all this is.. Alien zombies come for our brains...The only thing missing was random shots of bare skin. They could have used the telescope in the room to carry the movie so much but didn't. It would have been nice to see shots of what was going on outside while the actors guessed at the aliens motive.
the effects were very good, excellent character animation of the aliens and ships. I'm not sure I liked that they were nearly industructable, but the twist was kind of cool when their ship regenerated. The ending was as other have said kind of a double edge let down. On the good side it was not your standard ending.. Hell, we lost.. aliens win.. everything is burning and being harvested. The bad side is that the last really good shots of the film were a half dozen near stills. It would have been much better to have added another 2 dozen of those shots storyboarding what was happening during their escape.
Overall I give it 3 out of 5 stars for my personal taste that this was a classic thin horror film than an alien invasion sci fi film. I'd watch Battle LA over this.
This is not Battle: Los Angeles. The good guys--us--do not win.
This seems like a bunch of really talented people sat around a conference table and said "how can we use state of the art CGI and action and cleverly extrapolated aliens to show the human race being destroyed in a really new and creative way, and leave the "girl survives" trope nailed to the wall?"
At least, that's how I imagine it came to be.
It worked. I hate downer movies but I enjoyed this, and will watch it again. Good job, guys. Please don't make any more like this.
Although the character interplay tends to be typical Hollywood cliche characters dramatizing how shallow their personal lives are when the characters who are not committed to a long term relationship,(unlike the main surviving couple at the end of the movie) end up being more concerned with how mad they are at another character, than they "should" be about the fragility of life in a totally surrounded by flying alien machines high-rise apartment/condo complex.
What this does is detract away from the tension somewhat of the lurking alien menace waiting just about everywhere outside every window.
The ending pretty much gave away the main plot behind why all the humans were being harvested in the first place.
Given the visual cues, it's apparent that the alien machines decapitate the head from each body, reprogram the organic brain with some blue energy as they extract the grey matter from inside the skull, then it's placed into a waiting machine like cyborg of various functions, usually tasked with harvesting yet more humans.
The odd twist at the end has the guy being decapitated, yet somehow, perhaps because he survived the blue light trance that was used to disable any resistance to being abducted, his brain did not react the same way to the blue energy and it's attempt to reprogram his mind apparently failed as his mind was deliberately colored bright orange, then placed inside a tall cyborg body where he resisted the transfer at first, then grew angry and fought off the machines when it attempted to remove his girlfriend's mind.
I can't recall if like in predator 2 if the machine knew or realized the girl was pregnant and whether or not it mattered if removing the brain of the mother would immediately kill the embryo, again there's got to be an easier way to make the plot-line more accessible to people with short attention spans who apparently really hated this movie because maybe it was too complex and that didn't sit well with a lot of reviewers.
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