(2010) directors Colin Strause, Greg Strause
In an increasingly crowded market of alien invasion genre films, Skyline is not likely to stand out. It’s primary visionary image is of humans being sucked up into a giant spaceship, reckoning of a biblical call to the end of days. Also, there are giant, hard-to-describe aliens who seem to have come to Earth for brains.
Made by Colin and Greg Strause (“the Brothers Strause”) who begot AVPR: Aliens vs Predator – Requiem (2007), Skyline is an invasion film with a mixture of small scale and large scale. On the small scale, the story follows a small group of friends, meeting up in a penthouse in Los Angeles in an oddly unpopulated building. This isn’t one of those stories that tries to show the breadth of humanity battling this massive invasion, but the specific isolated experience of a small group. On the large scale, it’s Los Angeles, giant aliens, and biblical-scale doom.
Really the film is pretty awful, but not awful in a particularly enjoyable way. I LIKE bad science fiction. But this film is a failure without much in the way of ironic joy.
The most problematic thing for me was the base concept. It’s Los Angeles, California, the second most populated city in the United States, but for this small group of friends, it’s a ghost town. There is no logic to why they would be the only ones left when the aliens come and summon people into being pulled toward their human vacuum. And then what do these people do when the shit starts hitting the fan? Do they turn on the TV? Do they search the internet? What’s the first thing you would do if you looked outside and saw spaceships and feared for your life?
Do you know what these guys do? Plan to get to the marina to get on a boat and off-shore. ??????
One thing I usually like in science fiction films or maybe any genre film or story is that I like not being given some entire back-story explanation about what is going on. I like the mystery, the lack of knowing. And to this film’s credit, it’s not exactly spelled out what is going on. But by the end of the film, when it’s become clear that these creatures use human brains and nervous systems somehow for more than food, and then when the “hero” turns into a big “good” monster…to protect his pregnant girlfriend, the lack of knowledge moved into a lack of even having a clue as to what was supposed to be happening.
While it’s not fair to compare it with District 9 (2009), the ending with the hero morphed into a quasi-alien reckons of it. There is probably a myriad of alien-invasion films that one could contrast it with. Maybe there is an interesting theme to be gleaned from these recent series of alien invasion films, but I haven’t grasped it yet. Skyline, despite one or two impressive visuals, is a weak, faulty effort, a minor blip on the sci-fi screen.