It's early morning - the sun has yet to rise. The city sleeps, or at least most of it still does. After all, it's Los Angeles, and it's never entirely asleep. Then it happens. Mysterious blue balls of light descend from the sky, striking the ground at random locations throughout the city. The hotel room you're staying in starts to shake, an eerie blue light coming in through the windows, you have no idea what's going on. Then someone in the other room shouts, you go to investigate, and in looking toward the light, become transfixed, visibly infected by something... you can't help yourself... you start to walk forward... cut to "15 hours earlier".

Skyline is your basic alien invasion movie, with a slight twist. It is told from the perspective of a group of people in the penthouse suite of a high rise hotel building near the Los Angeles Marina. Things start out normally enough, friends meeting for a business deal, having a wild party the night before, everyone asleep in various parts of the room later. Once events begin to unfold, you quickly arrive back at the point of the opening scene, with Jared being pulled toward the light. Upon being yanked away at the last moment, it becomes clear that the effects from viewing the light are temporary. Following from there, the group spends their time trying to find a way to escape their situation by heading toward the marina to grab a boat and head out to sea.

The movie has some great special effects, awesome creatures when you get to see them, and a fairly interesting twist on the mechanics of invasion and conquest of the Earth. The aliens are also kept realistic in that we can kill them with our weapons, and for the most part they do stay dead, except for the large mother ships which can be regenerated after being blown to pieces and crashing to the ground. The big surprise is that the production house managed to pull all of this off convincingly and very realistically on a budget of no more than $20 million. None of the actors are well known, if known at all, and neither are any of the studios who were involved.

Unfortunately the movie ruined everything it had built up in terms of plot cohesion, realism, story, and general believability when they arrived at the ending. The ending threw all logic and reason out the window and left me feeling ripped off because of it. I'll spare the spoiler, but it's highly predictable based on events laid out early on in the movie, yet you still feel completely let down by it when it comes. I wasn't alone either, a lot of people leaving the theater felt equally ripped off by it and were openly discussing the bad ending as they left. It's been very deliberately setup to have a sequel, the ending does not bother to hide that fact at all since a lot of things were left unexplained - probably to be explained by the sequel.

Summing up, the movie resembles a mashup of Independence Day, Cloverfield, Alien, and Close Encounters all rolled into one. Bottom line, don't waste your time unless you have a stash of free tickets. I should have used one of mine. Either avoid it entirely or wait for the cable release.

On the Horizon

Next Friday is the Harry Potter release, one that is likely to be a must-see regardless.

Next month comes Tron Legacy and Narnia.

Previews shown before the feature were lacking in anything remotely interesting other than a new movie from Liam Neisson that's coming soon, called Unknown.
"It is pointless to resist, my son." -- Darth Vader
"Resistance is futile." -- The Borg
"Mother's coming for me in the dragon ships. I don't like these itchy clothes, but I have to wear them or it frightens the fish." -- Thurindil

Well. I guess that's that then.

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Posted on Nov 13, 2010 4:15 pm by Samson in: | 9 comment(s) [Closed]
Doesn't sound like one I'd bother with after that review. Thanks for the warning.

Re: Harry Potter: Don't get as excited as you normally would for one of these installments. The trailers I've seen and some back info that I'm not at liberty to fully disclose indicate that this installment should be every bit as good as the previous episodes ecept for one rather large disturbing detail, only half of the movie is being released this Friday, the other half will be released in 8 months (July 2011). Talk about making you sit on a cliff hanger. :(

Re: Tron & Narnia: I'm still undecided about Tron, but really hoping they are bringing us something to revive the thrill it originally gave us rather than just update the special effects. Narnia, I can't wait and am very grateful that my kids somehow haven't heard about it yet or we'd be hearing about it almost to the point of overshading Harry Potter in my house, almost...

Re: Unknown: Sounds like a good title considering what I've heard about it so far which is exactly what you've said in total: that it's a new movie from Liam Neisson. In itself, that's just not enough to go on for me. :(

Edited by Conner on Nov 13, 2010 7:15 pm
For budget of 20 million, visually, at least, it sounds like they've done a good job.

Like Conner though, the review makes me feel like I probably won't go and see it. Movies like these have a really hard time pulling off a satisfying ending, and it sounds like Skyline hasn't suceeded in that respect.

Yeah, visually it was top notch. When I saw the budget figures it floored me, because it looked just as good as any of the big budget stuff that costs over $200 million. I guess it does pay to get unknown actors to star in your movie.

Skyline definitely dropped the ball on a satisfying ending though. Very badly so.

Conner, I already knew that Deathly Hallows is a two part movie. I wasn't expecting anything else. I fail to see how that's so disturbing or what there is that's super secret about it. Everyone has known that for awhile now.

As for Tron, well, who knows. The previews for it look really good, and they got Jeff Bridges back, so chances are they're not planning to utterly screw things up. They are however in danger of accidentally spoilering something with all the pre release hype they're generating.

Unknown has the hallmarks of a good spy thriller, only with a reverse twist on things.

Harry Potter. Harry Potter. Harry Potter!

I just hope it's better than the last one, which was horribly boring.

Budget: Yeah, clearly actor salary is a huge portion of the budget for the big dollar movies.

The secret stuff isn't that it's a two parter, it's the stuff I can't disclose. :shrug: Personally, I find having to wait 8 months for part two disturbing, or at least annoying as hell, maybe it doesn't bother you. Maybe it's because I've got little kids who really want to see it but who won't understand that it takes forever to make a movie and this one was too long to do in one sitting.
From what I gather, they've included enough form the books we may well have a few dull points in the film, Hanaisse, but overall, it looks promising.

I'll continue to reserve judgment on Tron til I see your review, Samson. My biggest fear for it would be that the ads are the only good parts and otherwise they've just taken the same movie and updated the sfx.

Unknown: Not much listed for it yet at imdb, but what is there does sound like an interesting premise, but it also sounds vaguely familiar too...

Hrm, expected the Harry Potter review already.

After going in for the 10am showing, I hope it was as good as we're all expecting.

I was expecting a Harry Potter review, also; but I'm going to have to wait a few days to see it.

He's posted it. ;)

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