Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Movie Review: Skyline... or My Friend the Alien

Why is it that every time Aliens show up on our doorstep like an unannounced relative from some place you'd wish they'd go back to, they only want to kill us, or warn us, or both?

Skyline is yet another one of those... and while it's fairly shocking and has an unending unlike any other Alien Invasion flick, it still presents a fascinating myopic and pedestrian wrangling with the idea of aliens.

The movie unfolds like many before it, were introduced to our characters, and they like them or not, they present various incarnations of the plague of modern day excesses. Our man character/hero is visiting an old friend who has made good. It's never really explained why his friend has made so much cash as to be able to live in an exclusive and cavernously tall resort/condo in a posh part of LA, but then again it matters only a little as the plot throttles ahead to the coming Alien Invasion.

We aren't meant to like anyone but our hero and his girl, so the rest of the characters are shallow and pale, and lack any sort of likable quality. We dont' root for anyone,we ,like the dispassionate aliens that are attacking, care little for the daily struggles of these celluloid creations. So devoid humanity are they that we begin to lose interest until the explosions start. Like War of the Worlds (The Tom Cruise version not the book) this alien invasion is viewed from a narrow perspective.

Were introduced to the Aliens first method of sterlization, distraction and conversion through the use of pretty lights. Somehow, (and don't worry its not explained, and never can be) the light takes possession of those who see it, and propels them towards it, sort of like a mind worm, without the nasty skull boring part. The scenes where thousands of individuals are sucked up like dust bunnies is extremely well done but don't really advance the story, we already know that people are being abducted en-masse by that point. Seeing it is just more confirmation.

The obligatory attempt to escape is thwarted by who else... Aliens, and it's then we realize that this film is not about the flight from Aliens, or the fight against Aliens, its about the futile efforts that men will make in its attempt to avoid being wiped out. There's a little nuking, some soldiers, a lot of Aerial Combat ala Independence Day, and when all is said and done, Humanity is still doomed.

Had the story ended there, this would be an interesting but yet empty movie decrying and depicting the fall of humanity. Yet the movie persists. Our protagonist against all odds, continues fighting, and while he seems to present a beacon of hope for the one he loves, Humanity in general is left decaying in the basement of some extraterrestrial lab. This is not to say that all movies must have an upbeat ending, just that Skyline drops you off of a cliff, and offers only a hard water landing.

Skyline will leave you feeling empty, and a bit dry. Because most of us go to movies to be entertained, and yet in a time that seems to obsess over humanities coming destruction, Skyline says "No, we all can't win, but a few of us might." Sort of like a teacher telling her students that only one of them will be successful, but only after he loses his soul and body, and that the rest should just pack it in.

What it fumbles at saying is this "Any hope no matter how small is worth holding on to", yet, this moral feels empty and shallow once exposed to the harsh light of reality. Skyline offers little to the sentimental, and the whole production seems to mock the idea of heroism in general. While it's attempt is noble, it falls flat, and frankly I'm a bit miffed that I spent my time with it at all.

Hopefully the upcoming "Battle for LA" will rejuvenate my senses, and leave with a bit more encouraging ending.

Rating 4/10 ****