DVD region 2. Momentum.
opens well. The first five minutes are impressively creepy, with
blue lights falling silently from the sky in the middle of the
night and seeming to possess the characters who awaken and look
into them. It’s creepy, moody and mysterious. It sets the
film up as an impressively dark alien invasion shocker.
Unfortunately, it’s the only decent moment in the entire
film, which reverts to type almost immediately by introducing
a bunch of immediately awful stereotypes played by familiar TV
faces, if not names (look, it’s the dude from 24
and Six Feet Under! Hey, it’s that bloke
from Scrubs) and then following their entirely
predictable movements as Los Angeles is invaded by huge spaceships
spilling out giant, tentacled aliens that seem intent on gobbling
up the local populous. Our one-dimensional characters bicker about
the best course of events, while token gestures are made to develop
some characterisation (one woman reveals she’s pregnant;
another finds photos of her boyfriend fooling around with another
girl) before the big explosions, giant CGI monsters and shoot
outs that the film is really concerned with take over entirely.
It’s ironic that this film emerges around the same time
as Monsters, another movie about tentacled alien
invaders. While that film is quiet, intelligent and ambiguous,
Skyline presents its aliens as one-dimensional,
brain-eating (really!) monsters, heroically fought against by
an outclassed military and the film’s leads. It’s
clearly influenced by Cloverfield, minus the
home-movie camerawork, sense of empathy and any of the tension,
and also takes in chunks of Independence Day
and Dawn of the Dead - creating a less than satisfying
whole that comes complete with stupid one-liners, hints of homophobia
(a fussy neighbour with a small dog is not exactly heroic) and
a predictable line in macho bullshit from the leads (including
actors simply go through the motions - it’s probably not
their fault that they seem so inconsequential, given the fact
that they are simply playing action movie clichés, but
performances are uniformly poor. Directors The Brothers Strause
(really? How pretentious!) are FX men turned filmmakers, and clearly
don’t know how to handle any sort of human interaction.
So while some of the visuals look spectacular – if rather
generic - the humans may as well have been CGI-generated too.
And a couple of half-decent alien attack scenes are not enough
to compensate for the rest of the movie.
Skyline, of course, isn’t aimed at me.
It’s for fist-pumping oafs who like to chant ‘USA!
USA!’ and saw the Japanese earthquake and tsunami as ‘payback
for Pearl Harbor’. It’s for yobbish teens who sit
in multiplexes texting their mates, talking loudly and threatening
to stab anyone who asks them to shut up. It’s for people
who are really excited at the thought of Schwarzenegger making
a new film. In other words, it’s for idiots.
The DVD comes with two commentaries, from the directors and the
writers. I couldn’t bear the thought of sitting through
the film again tonight, so I’ll have to wait another day
to see what excuses they come up with for this. There are also
deleted / extended scenes, a ‘pre-visualisation’ and
trailers. They don’t help.
IT NOW (UK) DVD
IT NOW (USA) DVD