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    Skyline (Movie Review)

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    Paeter
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    Skyline (Movie Review)

    Post  Paeter on November 12th 2010, 9:21 pm

    I should start by admitting some bias on my part. I love monster movies. I love seeing a good scary monster and learning all about what makes it tick throughout the course of a two-hour special effects bonanza. So this fact may be coloring my review. Consider yourself warned.

    Yes, I love a good monster movie. And “Skyline” is a good monster movie!

    The story centers on Jordan and his girlfriend, who are visiting one of Jordan’s childhood friends in Los Angeles. His friend has made it big and wants to bring Jordan into his world. A world of greed and shallow relationships.

    But the first night of Jordan’s visit, lights descending from the sky begin to mesmerize and abduct thousands of people at a time. And those who escape are soon targeted by large alien creature who seem to have come to harvest humanity for their own purposes.

    The movie stars mostly unknown or “little knowns” and is directed by special effects team turned first-time directors, Colin and Greg Strause. Using their own special effects studio to produce the marvelous eye candy in this flick, the brothers saved millions of dollars. Considering that Michael Bay’s “Transformers” cost 151 million to make, it’s amazing that a movie like this (made on only 10 million) could be made that has about the same number of CGI effects shots and is a much better film.

    Granted, this is fairly different from standard “Michael Bay” fare, despite the similarities it has with big summer disaster/alien movies. The tone is much darker and more serious than its summer release counterparts. But the CGI is solid (though nothing groundbreaking).

    The monster in this movie is very cool. Both technological and drippy/icky. And though we don’t understand the complete inner workings or origins (or even motives) of the aliens by the end of the movie, we do continue to learn a little more about them as the movie progresses and can at least take a guess at what they want by the end.

    Performances are very forgettable and there are really no interesting characters here. The dialogue is nothing special. Very formulaic and Hollywood sounding. Also a few misplaced clichés. But the story kept me guessing until the end with a few jaw-dropping moments as the alien attacks in new and disturbing ways.

    The final shot leaves things wide open for a sequel. So much so that the story isn’t resolved. The final note is one of determination and had an eye on victory, but actual victory never arrives in this movie.

    The emotional resolution is enough to satisfy those who like somewhat unresolved endings or who don’t need everything tied up. But the story could easily be said to be just beginning. And since the studio is already shopping the sequel around and the film will barely need to make any money for one to happen (because of its low budget), you can probably count on hearing about the development of one soon.

    There is almost something worthwhile to talk about after seeing this movie. Jordan is very clearly contrasted with his wealthy “successful” and shallow friend. Jordan is selfless, generous and helpful. This is highlighted several times. And later in the movie, Jordan seems to have a uniqueness about him that makes it possible for him to prevail against the aliens. I thought for sure they would eventually link these two elements together, as they were both clearly presented. But neither plays out. And Jordan’s mysterious ability to resist the aliens is never explained.

    On a simpler level, you might say that this movie is down on materialism and selfishness. Maybe even down on the culture of Los Angeles itself, given that one character very pointedly says “I hate L.A.” and materialism and shallow behavior are strongly linked to “La La Land” in this film.

    From a broad perspective, this is a really cool, creative and at times scary monster movie with great effects. But it misses it’s complete potential because of uninteresting characters and dialogue. Also not much to talk about unless you’re looking for it.


    Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, some language, and brief sexual content.


    Quality: 9.0/10

    Relevance: 7.0/10

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