Monday 24 June 2013

Skyline (2010)

Skyline is a fantastic movie, absolutely superb, very possibly the top of its kind. For those wanting a movie to point at and use as an example of everything that's wrong with over-reliance on special effects. Going by more traditional criteria, Skyline is pretty terrible.

Eric Balfour and Scottie Thompson star in this sci-fi alien invasion movie that takes a few attractive young things (including Donald Faison and the gorgeous woman who was my motivation for watching this rubbish, Brittany Daniel) and then surrounds them with lots and lots of VFX in an attempt to stretch what should have been a decent 20-minute short film into a 90-minute feature.

Written by Joshua Cordes and Liam O'Donnell (a first-time script from two men who have more of a background in VFX work) and directed by the Strause brothers (Colin and Greg, two men who have more of a background in VFX work), this movie is astoundingly inept in a number of ways. It's impressive that the brothers managed, apparently, to get the film financed without assistance from any of the major studios, but maybe having someone else heavily invested in the thing would have stopped it from feeling quite so self-indulgent and silly.

The acting is okay, I suppose, but all of the characters are too lightly sketched out and pretty unlikable. Balfour and Thompson do their best, but they're not given anything decent to work with and so end up flailing around, waiting for the next barrage of special effects to take over. Faison and Daniel fare even worse, sadly, but even they get treated better than poor Crystal Reed, who is saddled with a character who does absolutely nothing of use at any stage. At least David Zayas gets one good moment, I can only imagine that he campaigned hard for it.

I was going to end on a charitable note here and say that there were one or two good ideas and it's just a shame that the rest of the film was such a disappointment. I can't even do that. There weren't one or two good ideas, with the notable exception of the final few minutes (which has, I'll begrudgingly admit, ONE good idea). The special effects are often well done, but that's all the movie has going for it. Which is not enough to make it worth watching.


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