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Movie ReviewsRating: 1.5 of 5 yaps

Skyline

“Skyline” should’ve starred Casper van Dien and Coolio and stayed sequestered on SyFy, to be giggled at en route to promising programming.

Given potential legal action awaiting directors Greg and Colin Strause (hubristically crediting themselves as “The Brothers Strause”), it might have also wisely reduced their liability on this alien-invasion action film.

Set aside “Skyline’s” dull, unremarkable nature as a reason to hide it from critics; business sense suggests that might have staved off process servers a bit longer.

The Strauses directed this film about the military attacking aliens that invade Los Angeles. The Strauses served as visual-effects supervisors for “Battle: Los Angeles,” a 2011 Sony film about the military attacking aliens that invade Los Angeles.

You see where this is going — Sony wonders why the Strauses kept “Skyline” on the QT and whether they appropriated technology developed for “Battle” to squeeze “Skyline” out on the relative $10-million cheap and months before “Battle.”

As a middle finger, Sony posted a “Battle” trailer online today, and there’s more artistry in its two minutes than in “Skyline’s” 92.

Derivative enough to be called “Adherence Day,” “Skyline” knocks off so many alien-invasion films you can hear the Strauses’ commentary referring to the “Cloverfield” moment, the “District 9” moment. (The Strauses didn’t write the screenplay. They left that to other visual-effects people, Joshua Cordes and Liam O’Donnell.)

The “Skyline” moment? Future filmmakers won’t reference any such thing.

The Strauses claim 20th Century Fox butchered their 2007 directorial debut, “Alien vs. Predator: Requiem.” That may be, but “Skyline,” filmed and financed on their own, does little for their claims to competency — their production-company names like Hydraulx and Transmission attached to a real jalopy.

Its mere 15 minutes of exposition are so bad that the film must flashback to them after an opening scene of initial alien contact.

Jarrod (“Six Feet Under’s” Eric Balfour, still looking like an eraser with a face and goatee) and girlfriend Elaine (Scottie Thompson) fly to L.A. to celebrate the birthday of Jarrod’s best bud, Terry (Donald Faison of “Scrubs”).

Surprise! Terry is a visual effects man living like a gangster — with a trophy girlfriend (Brittany Daniel), comely assistant (Crystal Reed) and posh penthouse suite. (“Skyline” was filmed largely in and around Greg Strause’s condominium complex, no doubt left standing after its shellacking to appease the condo association.)

After a night of hard partying — and revelations of pregnancy and infidelity — the group awakens to blue light streaming through the remote-controlled blinds.

In “Skyline,” burst capillaries come not from violently regurgitated Patron but from the blue light’s tractor-beam powers: Stare at it, get vacuumed into spacecraft that look like hovering tortoises and have your brains swallowed like shrimp cocktail, which Jarrod and Elaine narrowly avoid.

The automatic blinds open whenever the Strauses need to turn up the heat on their special-effects sizzle reel — revealing an L.A. under siege by aliens resembling, in various incarnations, crustaceans, Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robots and octopi you see atop car washes. (Creature designers Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff Jr. do what everyone else without extraterrestrial innovation does: Crib “Alien’s” H.R. Giger.)

Our heroes must weigh the risk of venturing outside (“The spaceships aren’t over the water, so we can escape by boat! Right?”) or staying put and waiting for rescue.

Venturing outside goes badly (especially for Faison, yanked into something smellier than the last season of “Scrubs”). But so does staying put, as the aliens find their way into the complex.

From there, “Skyline’s” two centerpieces are airborne strikes undertaken by drones as remotely operated as “Skyline” itself. They amount to nothing more than a nuclear kick to a hornet’s nest and a laughable suggestion from Jarrod (ever the brainiac), who’s itching to go outside, that radiation will kill them in the condo.

Flood the market as they do with technically impressive money shots, the Strauses endow “Skyline” with as little excitement as they do common sense — leading to a goofy conclusion that looks like a cheaply made live-action version of “Bionicle.”

For all the bombs bursting in air, “Skyline” is just a TV star-spangled bummer.

1.5 Yaps

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26 Responses to “Skyline”

  1. Filghi says:

    Go check out my ver of the Trailer with original sound design!

  2. Shawn VanNess says:

    Very similar look and feel of Independence Day. Harvesting reminds me of War of the Worlds. Still might be a good rental.

  3. Sean Sonnenschein says:

    When I saw this film I was not sure what to expect but it was much better than I expected for a sci fi film about aliens arriving to take over the Earth. A decent plot and story line with good effects. I found it to be an enjoyable film that is certainly worth at least one viewing.

  4. Nick Rogers says:

    Rick: For what it’s worth, I found "Monsters," though beautifully shot, to be a big letdown given its hype. In response to the question of how often a movie ends like "Skyline," it happened just last year, and more skillfully, with "District 9." And I never said "Skyline’s" visual effects weren’t up to par. Those were fine. What wasn’t up to par was, well, pretty much everything else about the movie. But, in the end, that’s merely my opinion. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  5. Rick says:

    The critics are full of manure. They love a borefest like ‘Monsters’ but this they pan. This a cool little B movie flick and yes it is original, how often has a movie ended like that? They love to comment on the 90′s effects,, just what the hell are we supposed to see when aliens attack? How about those 70′s effects in Star Wars. Sorry the Emperors have no clothes and you cant tell me the effects arent up to par cause you read the budget somewhere online and you think it makes you sound kewl, this is a decent Drive in flick with some good moments and a great ending.

  6. Kevin Brown says:

    I’m a little torn because i’m an action junkie trying find find the good in all the latest action/si-fi movies.So excited to see this what i was antisipating to be a better "Independents Day" only to let down. There was not enough visually, although i did find it different that the humans did’nt win in the end. which left me to believe that there will be another one to follow.Hopefully a lot more visual effects and deeper more original story line. Totally agree with the YAP review.

  7. Lance says:

    Ugh…This was such a terrible movie. It was decent/good special effects wasted on a ridiculous movie with a storyline with no ending. I mean, even if you are going to make a bad movie, atleast end the thing. I saw it for free, but I still felt like someone owed me something…my time maybe?

    I wouldn’t even download this movie for free if I had to.

  8. Diego says:

    I was really disappointed in this movie expected so much more. Independence Day was so much better.

  9. Brandon Scales says:

    I agree with your review of this movie. It is terrible and I did not like it.

  10. Debi Hamm says:

    I was hopeing so that the movie Sky line would get better, I was so looking forward to the movie. Nothing never grabed me and the ending was so bad it was like ok boys lets get this movie done.

  11. Carl Cederlund says:

    The special effects not really all that bad for a $1000000 movie. The problem is they could not afford a story to go with the effects. The ending was just plain stupid.

  12. Amanda says:

    I thought it looked a little too much like Independence Day. I’m usually a fairly big action/sci fi fan but this one makes me cringe.

  13. Cheryl W. says:

    Well, then my thinking was right on track. I knew this movie was going to suck and I voiced it to anyone who would listen. I had if figured for a War of the Worlds knock off and it seems I was pretty close. Thanks for confirming what I pretty much guessed about this film.

  14. Jason says:

    This movie actually looks like it is lacking in any type of plot and does not have my interest at all. First off, Skyline? For real, who thought of this title for the film? I doubt this movie will stay in theatres for more than two weeks.

  15. Julie Wakley says:

    I was so disappointed in this movie. It looked like it had potential, but in the end, the aliens end up winning. It was like War of the Worlds, but without a happier ending, such as the humans figuring out how to defeat the aliens.

  16. Dax says:

    Thanks to the film yap I saw this movie last week at the sneak preview. There were actual groans of disapproval as this movie concluded. Dialogue was terrible, ending was worse, and while the special effects were good there was really only one original part. I was really hyped to see this and was extremely disappointed.

  17. David Zebell says:

    I really thought this movie was pretty cool. It had better alien monsters and alien space ships than War of the Worlds. But I thought that what they did to the earthlings inside the alien spaceships was really kind of over horrorfying. Worth watching and I’d like to see it again.

  18. This film put me in the mindset of war of the worlds… I am going to see it tonight!!

  19. Jaye Miller says:

    I am sorry this morning was very weak. I like blow up kinda movies but this one didn’t measure up.

  20. chyri says:

    Im not sure this movie would keep my intrest although my husband loves these types of flicks. can I still be a yapper? :)

  21. nik browning says:

    I was almost prepared to give the movie some credit as the thing ended. And, no spoilers, there was a moment of rediculous romanticism. And while that should have been enough of a end, they even went beyond that for a more atrociously messed up ending. It was really awful.

  22. your review pretty much sums up what i have heard all over the innernettes & at work . . by various disappointed scifi enthusiasts. sad sad sad! i actually wanted to check this out :(

  23. Nick Rogers says:

    Helen: Everything except the special effects which are, for the money spent, appropriately ace. The problem is that they’re just not exciting. At all. I looked at them, admired their cleanliness, but felt nothing. Thanks for the compliment on the review, as well as for reading and commenting!

    Charlie: Take into consideration that the 1.5 encompasses both the aforementioned ace effects and the unintentional hilarity of the plot. Does that seem like a better fit? Thanks for reading, as well for commenting!

  24. Charlie says:

    1.5 rating? After sitting all the way through this all I can say is very generous indeed!

  25. Helen says:

    Everything about this movie is painfully inept. The first paragraph of this review truly says it all (and made me laugh).

  26. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Nick Rogers, The Film Yap. The Film Yap said: Like the Mega Maid, "Skyline" quickly goes from suck to blow. Here's Nick's review! http://www.thefilmyap.com/2010/11/12/skyline/ [...]