3/26/11

Popcorn Movie of the Moment: Skyline

I thought I was going to hate co-director's Colin and Greg Strause's Skyline.  It seemed to break every rule I have about what makes a movie worthless.  In the first fifteen minutes several rock or rap songs are used to pad  scenes, a cringe worthy homophobic moment happens where some spying party guests discover two men engaged in oral sex (the sex isn't cringe worthy, but the reactions from the guests are), a majorly underdeveloped love triangle that is only used for some nonsensical plot complications happens, and of course a lot of that A.D.H.D. / herky jerky camera movements abound that makes me want to kick in my television screen...

But then, something interesting happened.  Once the movie's action began, I found myself being seduced by this clever little alien invasion flick.

Cobalt blue streams of light descend from the sky onto night time Los Angeles, and instantly things begin getting wacky.  People who gaze into the blue light first find themselves mesmerized by it, and then seem to start to transform, their skin revealing black web-like clusters, and their eyes glazing over.  If they continue staring, they eventually find themselves pulled into the light until they seemingly vanish.  Later on it is revealed that people are being sucked up en masse into monolithic ships that float silently above the city of angels, "Just like the rapture", as one of the film's character's says.

Indeed, one of the pleasures of Skyline is the way the story sort of takes the mythos of biblical end-times and adds a science fiction slant to them (bodies ascending into the heavens, brilliant rays of light from above, celestial-like-creatures floating through the sky).  Even more entertaining is the way Skyline incorporates the feel of several other science fiction films including Cloverfield (humongous monster on a rampage), War of The Worlds (obviously) and dozens of those 1950's b-film / sci-fi epics. 

What sets Skyline apart from the others, is its rather bleak theme.  It seems that the aliens have come to harvest humans brains, literally, using our grey matter (which, by the time the aliens have finished with it, is glowing blue) as a source of nourishment and energy.   That bleak theme, continues to the bitter end.  Yes, there is an oddly, somewhat possibly, optimistic coda to the film, but all in all, Skyline leaves us facing a dead, decimated planet with no hope of redemption.

In spite of all of this, Skyline works as an entertaining popcorn style movie.  Just keep reaching in and enjoying each crunchy, salty bite, and you'll find yourself hankering for more.

Finally, I was impressed to discover that this film's budget was something like ten million dollars (a mere pittance in Hollywood these days), and yet, it was a hell of a lot more entertaining than most of the crap being churned out by the studios.  Give it a look-see for your self, you might be pleasantly surprised.

5 comments:

Prospero said...

Yours is literally the only positive review I've read of this movie... Which means I'll probably love it.

Pax Romano said...

Yikes, Prospero - I hope you do enjoy it!

Rowan Mayfaire said...

never heard of it, but now I have to see it! thanks for the review!

Pax Romano said...

Rowan, let me know what you think of it after you see it.

1325carter said...

As Prospero says, this movie was almost universally scorned.

I thought it was really well done, and vastly more interesting than the latest empty Nicholas Cage/John Cusack CGI extravaganzas. The aliens were really ALIEN--not just a slightly modified version of something we've seen hundreds of times.