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Monday, May 2, 2011

A Little-Late Film Review: Skyline (2010)

Oh, boy. Well I should probably start off with the following statement: I hated this movie. That said, let me go into some detail as to why. From start to finish, Skyline is a predictable, uninspired mess of a movie. This thrill-free thriller spends it’s whole 90 minute run trying to look “awesome” and feigns cool by inserting cheap special effects, possibly in an attempt to overshadow the horrible screenplay.

Skyline’s paper-thin plot follows Jarred (Eric Balfour, who spends the movie looking like he just stumbled out of a party at Charlie Sheen‘s house) and Elaine (played by Scottie Thompson, who looks as though she stumbled out of a Calvin Klein catalog into Charlie Sheen’s house) who arrive in L.A. to meet their friend Terry (Donald Faison; the other guy from Scrubs) who is newly wealthy (because the plot says so). After a big party at his high-rise suite, bright lights begin to hypnotize unwitting people who’s veins turn black… or something. From here the action intensifies and the lights are replaced by vehicle-crushing giants and flying tentacle monsters (these guys watched a lot of anime) and the characters try their best to fight off the unprecedented fiends. Will they survive?

I almost didn’t. I sat through this movie in utter amazement. I asked myself how this piece of crap actually got a major release. It seems all you need to get a studio release these days is a disproportionate amount of computer-generated visual effects. The problem is, the visual effects in Skyline aren’t good. Some of the creatures’ designs are pretty cool, but the way they are rendered looks like something out of a medium-budget television commercial. CGI never looks good, but here it looks even weaker and more unconvincing than some of the more successful action flicks of recent years.

The problem with Skyline is it forgoes plot entirely for action. This is not good. When will these “writers” figure this out. IT’S NOT A FREAKING SECRET!!! The Lord of the Rings movies are loved by millions, Van Helsing isn’t. What’s the difference? The Lord of the Rings has a plot!!! Ah-ha!!! GET IT?! Argh! I’m so sick of plot-free, idiotic movies passing themselves off as “awesome” because there’s about an hours-worth of computer animation splashing like diarrhea all over the freaking screen! Good action films from the past like Die Hard and the greatest action film ever, the Seven Samurai, didn’t need CGI to make them “better”, but today it seems as though anyone who makes a movie with a gun in it feels like they need to stick some ugly computer effects in it too. I’m so sick of this crap! So, so sick of it!

Moving on, another issue I had with Skyline is the screenplay. It’s bad. It’s really, really bad. There are a few points (very few though) where the “action” lets up for the characters to execute their banal dialogue. During these scenes the actors try to season their stupid words by breathing heavy or using an “evil voice” which gave me a few laughs, but it never quite gets to so-bad-it’s-good territory. Almost every character and line in Skyline is a cliché, and some of the lines are so predictable they caused me to roll my eyes.

Skyline is a piece of garbage. It will be forgotten, hell, it probably already has been by most, and it will not matter in a few years. One of the writers worked on the special effects team for Avatar. I didn’t like Avatar either, but for slightly different reasons, but the special effects in that movie weren’t THAT bad; they still weren’t great, but they didn’t suck like they do here. Skyline is a sloppy, poorly-acted, even more poorly-written mess and is one of the worst films of 2010. Keep away from this piece of garbage. Far, far away.

The Results:
Performances:  Since the actors are really just there to react to the alien attack, they aren't required to do much, and they really don't.  However, when they do act, it's often with unintentionally-hilarious results.  1 out of 5.

Screenplay: The moments of dialogue in this movie are so bad, so weak, and so uninspired that they almost had my banging my head against the wall.  1 out of 5.

Visuals: This is an effects movie, and even that sucks.  The designs aren't bad, but they don't really seem to blend into the scene well.  2 out of 5

Not bad, but an afterthought.  The sound doesn't really elevate any of the action or tension in any way.  2 out of 5.

Novelty Value:
None.  This is a boring mess lacking any of the qualities of a cult-classic.  1 out of 5.

The Verdict:
1 out of 5.  This is a tremendous bore.  It slogs along and limps its way to a climax so stupid that it had me laughing so hard I started coughing.  What's worse: it teases a sequel...