SKYLINE Blu-ray Review

     March 17, 2011

I’m at a loss as to what to do with my Blu-ray review copy of Skyline. The other movies in my collection refuse to be seen with it. Considering that their ranks include the likes of Caligula, Superman IV and The Star Wars Holiday Special, that’s saying something.

It didn’t have to be this way. Skyline features an intriguing premise, solid effects and a production schedule that suggests you can make A-list material without involving a big studio. Unfortunately, directors Colin and Greg Strause shoot all that in the head from the get go. They conceive of a brilliant poster image, and then prove absolutely incapable of advancing it in any direction. Instead, they lock us in a Marina Del Ray condominium withsome truly annoying characters who basically watch the world end by proxy.  Hit the jump for my full review.

Apparently, the condo belongs to the brothers themselves and the “trapped in a box” notion facilitates their ability to go from concept to final cut in less than a year. It would be more impressive if they had the slightest idea what they were doing. But the ugly cinematography renders the palette barely watchable, while the cast struggles to register a pulse with lines like “Like it or not, this is happening.” They play a gaggle of LA’s beautiful people, drunk on their own fabulousness and unwilling to look up from mutual navel gazing long enough to spot the alien invaders, who land all over the world and start sucking people up like giant vacuum cleaners. Anyone who looks out the window gets zapped with a magic ray beam and pulled into the sky.

This in and of itself constitutes a fatal problem for the film. If you can’t look at the aliens, you can’t really confront them, or even properly see what they’re doing. So instead of engaging in actual conflict, everyone stays put in the apartment, treating us to the sight of other people fighting backwhile our heroes literally watch the proceedings on television.The effects themselves look relatively decent, but the human figures remain nasty and hateful throughout, leading us to wonder if we’re rooting for the right side. Laughable incongruities crop up, like aliens who shrug off nuclear missiles, only to drop dead from a half-baked punch/slap from ostensible lead Eric Balfour. And the ending is already infamous as one of the most ridiculous in screen history: a half-baked attempt at franchise-launching that tosses all notions of common sense into a blender and hits “puree.”

The Blu-ray experience doesn’t help matters any. Skyline’s greasyimagery causes headaches in high def, and the cutting edge sound system reveals the film’s thunderous dirge of audio effects for what they truly are. The entire experience leaves an oily tang in the mouth, like biting into a hot dog and finding a live cockroach inside. Even popcorn-grade filler needs something to sustain it, and undemanding fans deserve more respect than Skyline presumes to give it. The video release constitutes a tragic waste of perfectly good blank Blu-rays and leaves a whole new audience vulnerable to its sleazy hustle. If you hunger for a story of this kind, go see Battle: LA. If you’re really desperate, rent Independence Day. If you still think you want to see this film, seek psychiatric assistance immediately. Trust me, ECT is infinitely preferable to what Skyline has in store for you.

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