REVIEW: Skyline (Film – Universal, 2010)

Jarrod and his pregnant girlfriend Elaine travel to Los Angeles to meet his old friend and successful entrepreneur Terry, and his wife Candice. Terry gives a party in his apartment for Jarrod and offers a job position to him in LA. Terry’s assistant and lover Denise (Crystal Reed) and his friend Ray (Neil Hopkins) sleep on the couch in the living room, but in the dawn of the next morning, the group is awakened by mysterious beams of blue light. Ray stares at the light and is taken by the mysterious force. The group of friends try to escape from the alien invaders. – IMdB

Strange lights descend on the city of Los Angeles, drawing people outside like moths to a flame where an extraterrestrial force threatens to swallow the entire human population off the face of the Earth. – Universal

20 out of 100

NOTE:  For the record, we have so little respect for this film, that we’re not even giving spoiler alerts in this review.  There are a couple of spoilers in here, but we’re not particularly worried about ruining anything for you because it’s kind of hard to ruin a film that ruins itself.

We not understand strange spirits projected on wall and concept of metaphor and allegory.

OK, to be completely honest, we fell asleep 15 minutes before the end of Skyline last night because it was all the same thing for the first hour and 15 minutes and it was getting repetitive. Even one of the characters made a point to say, “What does it matter?” Yes, indeed… what does it matter?  Seriously, the whole film was completely devoid of any real plot and to make it absolutely pointless, there was no character development whatsoever.  It was simply a series of running from aliens and getting “consumed” by aliens with every lame movie and Science Fiction cliché thrown in for good measure.  What was worse was that the directors/writers had to insult our intelligence at every turn by regularly spelling out the ridiculous clichés for us… as if we’ve been living in a hut in a tribal village in South America and have never seen a movie before and couldn’t possibly understand all of the subtle and not-so-subtle nuances.

You too can write in Hollywood.

Example: Elaine (Scottie Thompson… the poor man’s Olivia Wilde) is vomiting in the opening scene of the film right after the blue light wakes her up.  Then, we have a flashback to fifteen hours earlier when she is on a plane getting ready to disembark in L.A. when she’s nauseous, as well, and her boyfriend, Jarrod (Eric Balfour… the poor man’s Eric Balfour), comments on her apparent queasiness expressing concern and in obligatory fashion, direct from the Television/Film Writing Mad Libs, she dismisses his concern out-of-hand and everyone in the audience knows somethings’s up.

And how do we know something’s up?  Because, under normal circumstances when Sigourney Weaver isn’t involved and we don’t know about any parasites about to hatch and explode out of someone’s chest, people are generally nauseous in films for one of two reasons: they’re either drunk/hungover or they’re pregnant.

You didn’t have to go to film school to see where this was going.

Well, we didn’t know during the opening scene why she was throwing up (she could have been hungover, it could have been caused by the strange blue light… whatever) but we sure as Hell knew that she wasn’t drunk on the plane and there was no blue light and it was  pretty clear that within the five minutes between the time we see her throwing up in the present and when she’s expressing that she has nausea in the flashback that they want to make a point that her medical condition is significant to the plot.  So, we are left with only one possible explanation for her illness; that being that she’s pregnant.

Dr. Einstein, the correct term is actually, “Duuuuhhhhrrrrr!”

Despite the fact that they couldn’t have made it any clearer that Elaine was pregnant if they had used a chalkboard, an overhead projector and a PowerPoint presentation, what do these directors and writers do?  They hit you over the head with it immediately following the exchange between Elaine and Jarrod about her queasiness and include a wide-shot on the plane of the two of them and another passenger who has a baby and Jarrod is offering the mom assistance with her bag in the overhead compartment. Duhr! Thank you Captain Subtlety! And that’s how the directors/writers treat the audience throughout this entire film… like complete flippin’ idiots.

Like Lord Helmet said….

Oh, and for the record, perhaps the stupidest moment in this film regarding the pregnancy is when Candice (Brittany Daniel… the poor man’s Ali Larter) lights up a cigarette in the kitchen right after she watched her boyfriend/husband (the status of their relationship is never really explained.  Again, as noted, there was no character development so what do you want?) appear to get eaten whole by an alien that’s “mouth” looks like a big vagina.  Elaine has a fit about the cigarette smoke claiming she can’t be there because she’s pregnant.  This was the most puke-inducing scene of the whole film, which is pretty lame considering that this is basically a horror film.

So, let’s get this straight: the world has just ended, this nice young lady who you just met (and by the way, who’s swanky penthouse you’re a guest at) watched her significant other get consumed by a fifty-foot vagina alien, and you want to give her sh*t for lighting up in the one place that she can because you’re concerned about the effects of second-hand smoke on your two week-old fetus?  Somehow, we’re thinking that second-hand smoke would be the least of your concerns but more importantly, with all that’s just happened, poor Candice seriously can’t have a butt?

…Smoke ’em if you got ’em.

To make it worse, Candice actually snuffs out the cigarette!  She literally concedes to this idiotic line of thinking  over the second-hand smoke harming the fetus instead of just saying, “Listen, bitch:  this is my house, everyone in L.A. is dead, I just watched my man get killed and chances are that we’ll ALL be dead within the next eight hours.  Needless to say, I’m not particularly concerned over your misgivings about me lighting up.  If you don’t like it, there’s the door.  Have fun trying your luck with the blue light, vagina monsters on the roof.  Either way, blue light and vagina monsters notwithstanding, I’m having a g*ddamned cigarette. ”  But, again, this is how stupid the directors/writers think the audience is that they’ll just dismiss a scene like this that is in complete contradiction with human nature.

The heir to the ‘Tastic Kingdom c. 2076

This all being said, we decided to watch the last 15 minutes on my iPhone tonight while at  Cici’s Pizza when the kids were doing their damnedest to NOT win an Angry Birds plush toy from the Crane Game despite having it explained to them that that the Angry Birds were far too big for the claw even under the best circumstances.  Y’see, Princess ‘Tastic got lucky on her first attempt ever with a Crane Game a couple of years ago and now she’s like a 70 year-old at a penny video poker machine on Fremont Street with the g*ddamned things.  We’ve lost far more money in Crane Game attempts than that original Dragonball-Z vinyl action figure she initially won was ever worth.

Anyway, the last fifteen minutes are playing and the first thing that comes to mind is, “Can what’s happening in this film here at the end really be what seems to be happening?” As the credits roll, frustration settled in and this thought materialized “Aw sh*t… we’re going to have to go home and watch the whole flippin’ thing over again to make sure we’re getting this.”

Carl WInslow wondering what the f*ck he’s stumbled into… just like we did.

But, then a funny thing happened: the Black Saint, over at Horror referred us to this piece he wrote, The Answer to Skyline’s Ending and it confirmed our worst fears; We were absolutely correct in what we thought happened at the end of this dopey film. What’s funnier is that Black Saint came to all of the same conclusions that we did, EVEN the Republicans vs. Democrats, Red vs. Blue metaphor that we thought of as a little joke and were giggling about because it was just so obvious that the directors/writers thought the audience would be too stupid to figure out who the characters were if they didn’t change the colors up.

Here’s the best part: Black Saint wrote that piece, admittedly, when he was “a little high.” We were stone sober and came to the same conclusions.

Nukes: They f*cking work.

One more note about the lunacy of this film: we’re sick and tired of SciFi films trying to convince us that’s there’s some kind of alien technology that a modern nuclear weapon won’t take out.  Sorry, but that’s just not happening, so enough of the defying of the laws of physics.  We’re not scientists, but if we recall our Astronomy 101 course, that’s how the sun works so we’re pretty damned sure that there isn’t even a possibility of a ship being able to  withstand a direct hit of a nuclear explosion.  The moment they launched the nukes and they hit their targets in this film the credits should have rolled like they did in Independence Day (and even that movie, which we love, subscribes to this same dopey nonsense that the aliens have a “super shield” impervious to nukes externally).  Skyline is by no means the first film guilty of this but they happen to be in our cross-hairs at this moment.

When good SciFi goes bad…

We have to say, the film in and of itself is one of the worst SciFi films we’ve ever seen, now that we know what we know. Seriously, the film was tolerable as a horror/SciFi flick until the last ten minutes but it honestly ended as stupidly as the last ten minutes of the infamous Star Trek: Voyager episode, Threshold. The only thing that was lacking as the icing on the cake was at the end, nobody turned into a giant salamander (but it certainly was g*ddamned close, wasn’t it?).

By the way, Threshold (for those who haven’t seen it) and Skyline have ZERO in common as far as story is concerned. We just always refer to Threshold as the benchmark for poorly-executed SciFi that just completely falls off the rails. Some people think it’s the worst Star Trek episode of all time. It’s not. It’s just a prime example of what happens when writers have a clever idea but have no f*cking clue as to how to wrap up a story. That’s Skyline in a nutshell; a great concept that fails miserably in execution and conclusion and we firmly believe that if you can’t wrap up the story effectively, don’t make the film or television episode.

Not for nothing, this is a beautiful film and we saw it on Netflix streaming in HD on the Mitsubishi 65″ 1080p DLP and not on Blu-ray on the Sammy LED. We imagine it kicks even more ass visually on a higher quality source and display. It really is a testament for what can be done technically on an extremely low-budget with decent CG and that’s the only reason it got the 20 points that it did.

6 comments on “REVIEW: Skyline (Film – Universal, 2010)

  1. Shawn, that was one of your best reviews! Very f’ing entertaining. I love the pics you inserted. Hilarious. I feel very much the same way you do about Skyline. So insulting and lame. Bad Sci Fi fare. Great post!

  2. Pingback: My Homepage

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