• Skyline

    Released By: Universal
    Released On: 03/22/2011
    Director: Colin Strause, Greg Strause
    Cast: Eric Balfour, Donald Faison, Scottie Thompson

    The Film:

    Skyline is what happens when nerds attack. It sounds like a mean thing to say, but unless you’ve sat through the 95 minute running time, you have no idea. Written by Liam O’Donnell and Joshua Cordes, two guys whose experience in the film world has been with visual effects on blockbuster releases, the story is about as mundane and contrived as it gets, clearly taking a back seat to the coolest visual effects ever, man, like when this alien gets blown up and has tentacles and stuff and big blue lights that make people’s eyes glow and their veins will turn black and….. When you add Colin and Greg Strause (pretentiously billed as The Brothers Strause) who are also visual effects guys but are also responsible for Nickelback videos…well, is there even any reason to do a review? You know that it’s going to suck, and it’s going to suck hard.

    Skyline starts with a douchebag and his girlfriend from Brooklyn visiting his successful douchebag friend Terry in Los Angeles. Having hit the big time with movies or music or whatever he’s doing, Terry throws a big douchebag party and has all of his douchebag industry friends over to try to show his old buddy Jarrod what he could be involved with if he comes out to LA to join the team. Unbeknownst to Jarrod, his girlfriend Elaine is pregnant, which would have thrown a slight kink into things; if aliens didn’t invade first.

    A few hours after everyone passes out from too much champagne, caviar, coke, and whatever other vices these losers indulge in, they are awakened by blinding blue lights from outside of Terry’s condo. Checking out the source of the light, one of them is sucked into the light after his eyes start glowing and his veins turn black for some reason. Jarrod is the next to check out the light, but manages to get away from whatever is drawing him in just in time. Unfortunately for them, the light comes from a large alien ship, one of many that have landed in the Los Angeles area, sucking up humans by the millions.

    Although this superior race of beings from another planet seems incapable of getting past floor to ceiling windows or figuring out that the people they are hunting are hiding behind the furniture, all bets are off in the outside world. Military attacks against the invaders are largely useless, and attempting to get out of the building results in the tentacle-waving aliens ripping the heads and spinal columns off of the humans and devouring their brains to gain their knowledge….or something. With the handful of survivors unable to reach a common consensus, it’s up to Jarrod to save Elaine and their future baby from these nasty creatures.

    It’s been said that the effects in Skyline make the film worth watching, but it certainly wasn’t said by me. While most of the visual effects are decently done, there are a number of better films out there that you can admire the visual effects in, and not want to throw the coffee table through your television. An interesting quote from the writer’s commentary says something to the effect of “If you can’t connect with the people in the story, nothing else matters.” I agree with this whole-heartedly; especially in the case of Skyline. How is anyone supposed to care about a bunch of rich LA types getting smoked by aliens? I sure as hell don’t.

    Not even taking the one-dimensional characters into account, the story also eats it with an oversized fork, with no explanation offered of the invasion outside of needing to eat brains...an M.O. that results in one of the stupidest friggin’ endings ever filmed. This film is a whole bunch of nonsense, done for a whole bunch of nothing reasons, with no payoff at all. The pacing is terrible, with the 95 minute film feeling like an eternity. Dialogue seems to exist only because the writers thought that the lines would be cool and like something that they’d seen in one of the films that they worked on that they didn’t write.

    Overall, this movie would’ve been better if it was five minutes long and had the entire cast and crew getting vapourized by these extra-terrestrials at a lame-ass cocktail party. With Skyline 2 already in the works (before Skyline was even finished), this could be a sad comment on the stupidity of the movie-going public today, or (hopefully) just the naivety of big studios today. I blame Avatar.


    Skyline comes to Universal Blu-Ray in a 2.40:1 transfer, and the only good thing that I can say about this film is that it looks and sounds fantastic. New digital camera technology has allowed some pretty low-light and unconventional shots to look sharp and balanced, and you won’t find any noise or other artifacts to speak of. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 track is about what you’d expect, with tons of work in the surrounds and a lot of bass, and it’s clear and coherent throughout.

    If you couldn’t get enough of this horrible movie, Universal has been kind enough to load this blu-ray with extra features. First up are 7 Deleted and Extended Scenes with optional commentary by the writers and directors. They run about 6 and a half minutes, and surprisingly, add nothing to the film whatsoever.

    There are 2 Alternate Scenes, also with commentary, and 2 Pre-Visualization scenes that run about 10 minutes, in which you can see some bad computer graphics blocking out the shots for the film.

    It becomes painfully apparent that the commentary thing is milked for all it can be when you are given the option to watch the full trailer and the teaser trailer….also with commentary.

    Haven’t had enough commentary? Check out the Director’s Commentary track with Colin and Greg Strause, in which they discuss getting picked up by Universal before the film was even completed, filming on a small budget (borrow your friend’s Ferrari) the locations that they used, and many other interesting facts.

    There is also a Writers’ Commentary track with Joshua Cordes and Liam O’Donnell that is so painful to listen to, I barely managed to get through 20 minutes of it.


    Please, guys, please. Go back to visual effects, don’t write, don’t direct. If, for some reason, you are a fan of this film, the blu-ray is a great buy.
    Comments 7 Comments
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Steve kinda liked this one at first because something caught him off guard. Unfortunately, that was in the first half hour, and the rest of the movie bothered him so much that he was forced to backhand the disc out of the PS3 and lift his leg on it. ergo, Steve gives this 0/4 paws.
    1. Nolando's Avatar
      Nolando -
      That's the other conceit of this film: Los Angeles, CA, being a hotspot for intellectualism, making their brains extra-full and tasty.

      I guess the same visual effects folks on this also did Battle Los Angeles or whatever it was called. Same aliens, basically, in both movies - now that's a creative stamp you should be proud of!

      And you had to review this because of that Nickelback/Canadia connection - you owe the world for that...

    1. Nolando's Avatar
      Nolando -
      Oh, there it is - thank God.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      I almost think that Steve is gonna have to pay you a little visit....:-)
    1. Mike T's Avatar
      Mike T -
      Best review quote of the day, maybe week, maybe month yet: "...eats it with an oversized fork". Classic!
    1. Horace Cordier's Avatar
      Horace Cordier -
      Is this the movie where the aliens resemble enormous oversize flying vaginas? And no, I am not being a smart-ass - I really did hear that. The other great thing I heard about this movie was the comment over at the bluray.com forum by the guy who said he was going to "go to Best Buy today and sit in front of the store and laugh at everyone that I see walking out with a SKYLINE dvd or Blu-ray"

      Great review Mark.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      All jokes aside, yeah, this movie was actually very infuriating. When I see a piece of no-talent shit like this get a good review, it scares me to think what ELSE is coming down the pipe. Part 2 was greenlighted before 1 was out, this one was picked up by Universal before it was finished...like the assholes in the film, I can't think of the writers or directors as anything other that pretentious LA fuckwits.