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Marina Antunes [Celluloid 11.13.10] post apocalyptic movie news scifi

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Year: 2010
Directors: Colin Strause, Greg Strause
Writers: Joshua Cordes, Liam O'Donnell
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: Marina Antunes
Rating: 7 out of 10

While the jury is still out on Jonathan Liebesman's World Invasion: Battle LA, the trailers give us a pretty good idea of what to expect but what of Skyline? The little movie that came out of nowhere to generate lots of buzz at SDCC and which was, later, at the centre of a lawsuit between Sony and Universal, beat the big budget extravaganza out the gate by a few months and the results are mixed.

Directed by the Strause Brothers (of AVPR: Aliens vs Predator – Requiem fame), Skyline employs a quasy story as a backdrop for the real action: an alien invasion. Jarrod and Elaine travel to LA to see Jarrod's movie star friend Terry on his birthday. After a night of heavy partying, the group wakes in the early morning to the building shaking and a bright blue light outside the window of Terry's 20th floor penthouse. The aliens have arrived and they're on a mission to empy the city of humans (and pretty soon they're going to be seriously pissed off). The group is indicisive, floundering between leaving the apartment or hiding out until help arrives. They end up trying to make an escape only to find themselves trapped inside the building.


It's a pretty half hearted story and the dialogue and story clearly indicate that this was not the filmmaker's main concern. The actors do what they can with what little they've got to work with and though it's mostly uninspired, Eric Balfour and Scottie Thompson are likeable leads and though the chemistry between the two, on which a big chunk of the film's story rests, is mostly lacking, Balfour in particular manages to keep the story moving.

But what of the aliens? Some, the ones that fly, are reminiscent of The Matrix's sentinels while the rest look more like Cloverfield's monster - on a smaller scale (what's with this recent interpretation of aliens as big, lanky monsters? No one sent me that memo). What I like most of Skyline is that it doesn't compromise on the invasion: the aliens are on a mission. They're bigger, their technology is better and there's nothing we can do to stop them and regardless of how many times the Strause's turn the story to Jarrod and his friends; it's clear that there's no way they, or anyone else for that matter, is going to survive. The effects are impressive and as is the scale of the action and there's never a feeling that this was made by a bunch of amateurs in a back room. It's impressive what can be achieved on a low-budget and the Strause's pull out all the stops and create some great and occasionally even breathtaking effects; the distant screams as the bodies are sucked into the centre of the spaceships are chilling and extremely effective.

Skyline does well with its mediocre, over wrought story (accompanied by a bombastic score which sounds like it was lifted directly from Independence Day) until the final 15 minutes when it goes completely off the rails and into melodrama squared. The downfall begins on the rooftop with Jarrod beating an alien to death with a brick and narrowly surviving a crashing jet only to be sucked into the belly of a spaceship with his girlfriend Elaine. It's here that Skyline really loses it with a postscript that looks cool but adds nothing to the story and if anything, actually takes away a little of the high from the rest of the film.

It's not the best alien invasion film we've seen and it is likely only one of the first of the barrage that will pop up in the coming years but Skyline is a fun watch and I'm impressed that the filmmaker's stuck to their guns and provided a fatalistic ending to their story.

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Anonymous (3 years ago) Reply

Sounds like one of those No happy ending movies.

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sonaboy (3 years ago) Reply

I thought douchebag frat boy saves the world had already been done well enough in Spielberg's WOTWorlds. Is this version better because it's got more heavy metal guitars behind the action?

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Hot Fuzz (3 years ago) Reply

What you talkin' 'bout willis!? Spielber's WOTW is great.

Even with a half-hearted endorsement from Marina, I'm far more inclined to see this.

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Marina (3 years ago) Reply

@sonaboy ??? Frat oh saves the world? There's no saving the world here - not even an attempt at it (at least from the leads). And Balfour is far from a frat boy.

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kul2012 (3 years ago) Reply

ok, thanks, i was hoping it would be more, so i shall what until it comes on rental.

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John (3 years ago) Reply

Meutron, AGM-114N, and thermobaric bombs would do a much more cleaner and less flimsy job, especially in cesspool like LA.
Or orbital bombardment, with the same mentioned, especially if the aliens are low radiation friendly creatures.
Going down to fight morons would not be a choice of any intelligence, terrestrial or extra terrestrial.

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Anonymous (3 years ago) Reply

@John

All true. But then the movie would be pretty boring wouldn't it ;)

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Anonymous (3 years ago) Reply

7 out of 10 is uncalled for good sir.
This is the Worst movie I have seen in a very long time. It's like the writer wrote a tag line like "aliens invade and a couple people are stuck in a penthouse" and script complete. Don't pay to see this.

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Ben Austwick (3 years ago) Reply

Great review. You're a logt more positive about teh film than most though!

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Anonymous (3 years ago) Reply

the ending of the film looked very familiar was it an adaption of another movie i wonder cant figure it out

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sonaboy (3 years ago) Reply

@Hot Fuzz
What you talkin' 'bout willis!? Spielber's WOTW is great.

It was decent, but not in any way a definitive take on the genre.

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sonaboy (3 years ago) Reply

Frat oh saves the world? There's no saving the world here - not even an attempt at it (at least from the leads). And Balfour is far from a frat boy. ------

It's what it looks like from the sneak peek sequences and trailers. feux tough-guys arming up to the teeth to teach aliens a lesson, because "someone has to fight back." ugh.

I doubt the actual movie is going to stray much from the marketing, so save the "it's not like it seems" requests.

sure, this thing isn't a big guns and bombs action flick - it's a brains against brains type sci-fi. which guy plays Randy Quaid's ID4 character in this one? The NON frat guy?

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uncleB (3 years ago) Reply

Good review, this sounds like it's going to depend on the individual viewers opinion.

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Speedy (3 years ago) Reply

There were holes in this plot you could drive a battlestar through. (Sideways!)

A few (Spoilers)...

Look at a Nuke at close range (less then 20km...) I DARE YOU!!!. You will go blind. Look at one through a telescope and I suspect ypour eyeball will boil.
Follow the suggestions of stupid people in an emergency.. the gene pool needs a bit of cleaning anway.
Park your naval taskfleet UNDERNEATH the huge alien ships... maybe they won't notice.
I could go on...

Mind you, I was not expecting much, and I liked the movie (Suspension of disbelief by its toes..)

At least it was not shot in Shacky cam like Cloverf@ck was.

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masque36 (3 years ago) Reply

Looks like independence day 2. I'll wait for basic cable.

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Elgart (3 years ago) Reply

I really must-see movie!

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soogeeky (3 years ago) Reply

I saw this film and in the end I felt like I had just paid to watch a SyFy channel Saturday night movie. Bad script & Giant plot holes are throughout the whole film. I wished I was drunk enough to enjoy it basically. Note I am not a science fiction fan boy looking for movie perfection so when I say this movie sucked ballz I mean that in the most Joe movie watcher observation.

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Anonymous (3 years ago) Reply

My recommendation is to skip Skyline. Almost the entire movie takes place in one apt. comples. Some of the scenes were downright comical (unintentionally). Also I don't like movies where the opponent/antagonist is powerful it's impossible to defeat them. If there's no hope of fighting back, why bother watching the movie?

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Anonymous (3 years ago) Reply

You can't be serious, this is by far one of the worst films to come out this year. Its cool that the brothers were able to do the film on a modest budget, but the final product is pure garbage. 1 out of 10 from me and that is because the efx were decent.

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Rev Wright (3 years ago) Reply

SHITE!!!!!!!!!!! (SPOILERS)

basically it's an overblown bag of cliches showreel for the CGI/FX company. It's obvious they had no real budget by the fact that some of the most dramatic footage is viewed through a fecking telescope, whilst the limited cast hold up in an apartment with the blinds closed for most of the film. Where's teh military response?? where's the street battles?? Where's teh characters we coudl actually give a shit about, rather than relsih in their demise. Die you Bast*rd!

My fave plot hole is how come the aliens evolved to power from human brains???? Do we assume that they have discovered other species with exactly the right sized grey matter to fit their orifices??? What about the animals???

Utter dross, stole my life for an hour and a half. Brothers, go back to film school, this one lacked any tension or engagement.

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Cletus (3 years ago) Reply

Repulsive people have to deal with improbable aliens. Oh, and yet another superhero is born. What's not to like?

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apostolos (3 years ago) Reply

lack of new ideas.its independence-cloverfield aliens with a hint of alien induced zombification in the mix.I havent seen it though.

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Anonymous (3 years ago) Reply

I recommend skipping Skyline & saving your hard-earned money. It's downright boring at times & the CGI isn't that great apart from a few scenes. Many plot holes like if the aliens captured 90% of all humans, why bother w/ house to house searches? Why did the Navy attack from right off shore when their jets can launch from hundreds of miles away? And what's the point of watching a movie if the aliens are so powerful there's no hope at all of defeating them.

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Marky Marc (3 years ago) Reply

8/10

Kinda liked it, though I seem to be in the minority. I loved Cloverfield, too, so maybe it's just that fatalistic alien movies are my thing.

Sure, there are a few characters that should've died sooner and a plot hole or two. Acting wasn't top-notch, but better than what I expected. What really interested me was the bait-and-switch... The alien movie I thought I rented turned out to be a superhero origins flick.

Maybe I'm alone in this, but I'd like to see an improved Skyline 2.

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Andy the Ram (2 years ago) Reply

Good film right up until the end just seems like they ran out of money or ideas on how to close the film. Worth a 6 out out 10 for effects and storyline would of given a 9 if it wasn't for the poor ending


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