Saturday, August 20, 2011


"Don't look up"?!?  What kind of tag line is that for a movie about UFOs attacking Earth?  Right away, if the title Skyline didn't clue you in, that tag line is slap to the back of the head that lets you know that this movie will suck.  "Skyline"???  Is that the best they could come up with?  Just to prove how worthless whoever titled this film is, I'm going list roll a few better options off the top of my head:
  • Blue F'n Lights - it's not a J.J. Abrams film, but it still fits
  • Star Whores - probably a porno title, but since nobody could have actually liked the script, both terms feel appropriate...
  • Underwhelming FX: The Movie - as an Illinois native, it pains me to criticize a special effects company out of Waukegan, but...why not?  They're so far north, they might as well be Wisconsinites
  • Eric Balfour vs. The Universe - he needs to be stopped, and our world is clearly not up to the task
  • Aliens Rape LA - my personal favorite
It's not like the term "skyline" has any importance to the plot, or (as far as I can recall) is even mentioned in the script.  Whatever, I'm over it.  There is one other thing I have to point out about this movie poster.  Look at the two guys on the poster.  It looks like they're getting ready for some action; one of them has a gun and appears to be sneaking up on the spaceship, and the other looks poised and ready to go.  This shot is taken directly from the film, and I promise you that the scene is nowhere near as cool as the poster might lead you to believe.  For starters, the guy on the left, who looks like he might be wearing a Kevlar vest or something, is just wearing a jumpsuit.  The other guy is holding a video camera.  They're not getting ready for action, they're getting ready to crap their pants.
Still photo of Donald Faison, mid-pants-crapping

All right, I guess  should get this over with.  Jarrod (Eric Balfour)and his girlfriend, Elaine (Scottie Thompson), fly out to Los Angeles to help celebrate the birthday of Jarrod's bestest buddy, Terry (Donald Faison).  The pair go way back, which is a nicer way of saying that they don't really see each other too much any more.  Terry has become a big time musician or actor or something along those lines.  I don't recall any specifics about his career, but he has money, a swingin' pad, a sexy girlfriend (Brittany Daniel) and a sexy secretary (Crystal Reed).  After a night of partying and some personal revelations, this fascinating look into group relationships is rudely interrupted by aliens.
...making everything earlier in the film completely irrelevant.
These aren't your ordinary aliens, though.  Well, they kind of are.  There are huge spaceships that appear to be disintegrating entire chunks of the city and sucking people into their core.  There are ground troops that vary capturing/eating people with smashing them into raspberry jam.  Neither of these sound atypical of movie aliens, but wait until you get a load of The Light.
Walk toward the light.  Pleeeeeease.  End this quickly.
The alien ships use a blue light (very similar, but far less subtle than the Blue F'n Lights of Super 8) to lure stupid humans to their doom.  Seriously.  The light goes on, people get mesmerized by it, and then they evaporate.  Or something.  Oh, and your skin and eyes get all blotchy.  That's probably important.  But it might not be.  So this assortment of civilians winds up being improbably important in humanity's war on alien scum, right?  Actually, no.  These people spend most of the movie hanging out in a penthouse, watching other people fighting the aliens.  And that's how the movie goes.
About par for the action scenes in this film.

This is a bad movie.  I wasn't expecting a whole lot from it, but I enjoyed the last effort from Colin and Greg Strouse (Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem) and thought this would make for some stupid fun.  There was plenty of stupid in Skyline, but precious little fun.

It starts with the acting.  I assumed that Donald Faison would be the star of the movie, since he has had the most successful (television) career in the cast and because I saw his interview on Attack of the Show several months ago.  I hate sitcoms, so I was never a fan of Scrubs, but he seems like a decent guy and I was interested in seeing him carry a sci-fi movie.  Well, he's only in about thirty minutes.  Looks like I put all my expectation eggs in the wrong basket.  Instead, the dreadful Eric Balfour is the main character.  It's not that he's a bad actor (although he is), it's that he brings down every movie I see him in.  Here, his motivations are asinine at best, his opinions are stupid, and his character is pretty unsympathetic.  Oh, and he hasn't quite figured out how to act convincingly against special effects.  Or people, for that matter.  Brittany Daniel and Scottie Thompson were a little better, but only because the story didn't focus as much on them.  Both women were unreasonably bitchy at extremely inappropriate times (like, you know, when aliens invade our planet), and sometimes their over-serious reactions to things were bafflingly funny.  David Zayas has a surprisingly large role for a character that isn't featured in the first third of the film.  He wasn't great, but compared to the rest of the cast, he looked like Lawrence freaking Olivier.
Special effects mean you don't have to act as much, right?

The ultimate problem with Skyline isn't the acting or the directing, even though both are awful.  The main problem is that the writing is idiotic.  This film follows a group of people who spend most of the film hiding in an apartment building.  From aliens.  Aliens that are destroying Los Angeles.  So, instead of focusing on people that are, you know, fighting aliens (like the not terrible Battle: Los Angeles), we focus on people who are hiding.  That seems like a poor choice.  And a boring one, at that.  I'm not saying that you can't make a movie like this, but it should focus a lot more on the characters and have someone that the audience can like.  In other words, it shouldn't try to be a showcase for special effects.  It's not too much to ask, is it?  Skyline provides an unsympathetic group of characters, has them act like jerks, and I'm supposed to give a shit about them?  Sorry, that's not going to happen.

I would have been fine with Skyline's terrible acting and directing if the movie had been fun.  It's not.  It's the worst alien invasion movie ever.  Well, okay, Alien Predators was a worse film, but Skyline is way less fun because nothing ever seems to happen in the damn movie.  To give you an idea of how dull this film is, it is a key plot point for the group of people to work together and put blinds over a window; they are not successful.  Just thinking about that scene is making me mad.  Thank goodness they chose not to give it a proper ending and left the door open for a sequel.  Ugh.  The only thing keeping this from zero stars is how hard I laughed during Donald Faison's last scene, and that was only because I assumed he was the main character.


  1. I obvious was swayed by friends who liked the film. Or maybe I've seen so many crappy films that a one registers differently. I'd be curious what you would rate my cartoon review.

  2. I think you summed up the movie astonishingly well, actually. I disagree on your rating, but the synopsis was spot-on. And I've seen my share of crappy movies, but this one was too boring to entertain me with its idiocy.