Do Not Watch: Skyline

Hard to explain
If this project had been handed to Stephen Spielberg, it would have been a blockbuster. Mostly because he would have blocked every single casting choice. There was not a single moment where I really believed in the characters, which is too bad because the story of Jarrod and Elaine — Yes, I actually took the time to remember their names! — could have been thrilling without all the supporting actors.

Battle of Los Angeles
Most of the time, aliens attack Los Angeles with nothing in mind beyond blowing it up. This movie’s aliens seem to have more complicated motives, dropping a glowing ball of light and then hovering above it while massive numbers of people are sucked into their ships. (Those things make Dyson vacuums look like a first-grader with a bendy straw.) Given their methods, attacking a city of 10 million people that isn’t plagued by a blight of skyscrapers is a sound tactical decision.

The blue light
The concept at work is scary. These aliens don’t make contact, don’t have mercy, and brush off nuclear attacks the way people with mullets brush off societal norms. The only thing you know about them is that they’re here to harvest people. They’ve also got little drones going door to door like space-age UNICEF collectors, but they don’t want donations. They want you.

Let’s derail this train
After setting up a lot of mystery and danger, the story crashes pretty quickly. Jarrod and Elaine show up in L.A. to attend a birthday party for Jerrod’s close friend. Following the party, a lot of character development is shoved down your throat.

This “crash course” approach to character development is not how you do it. Giving me the impression that I should care about a character is not the same as actually making me care about a character, but this subtlety was lost on the writers.

So, right after you (don’t) care about the cast, it’s time for them to die. The first few happen rapidly, because those characters didn’t have expedited baggage dropped off at your doorstep. Once they are out of the way, the story plods along as the main characters are abducted one by one.

As our crew of four evades the aliens with a skill that could only be scripted, we work our way down to the two we should have focused on the entire time. Here, for a brief second, the movie tries to shine. In the last few moments before the very stupid (read: tacked on by studio execs to make things “upbeat”) ending, Skyline almost shines again. It’s frustrating.

The Remake
I feel like adding a PayPal link to this site so we can raise money to do a remake, with Bitterly throwing the script out the window of a speeding car (it would land in an incinerator) and starting from scratch. I’d even ask back the two main actors back, because it wasn’t their fault that they couldn’t stand out when they were stuck in a vast sea of garbage. This movie almost had something, but it wasn’t something worth watching.

Instead of watching Skyline, you should wait until I get this remake project off the ground. Then after my crappy remake is done, you shouldn’t watch that either.

(Skyline was directed and produced by the Brothers Strause and is available on DVD and Blu-Ray)

About Donald Conrad

Donald Conrad is an avid father and a dedicated gamer -- or maybe that's the other way around. He loves his games, and he loves his family, and he's pretty sure he loves sleep, even if he doesn't remember what it was like. Follow his life confusion on Twitter @ConManEd