Thanks to the gang at Hopscotch, eight of the Chaotic Geek gang went to the movies at Greensborough last Friday night to see Skyline, the new alien invasion movie from The Brothers Strause (Colin and Greg Strause), the effects wizards behind Hydraulx.
Skyline has been getting a lot of bad reviews. I believe that these are completely undeserved. Was the plot complex? No. Was the acting Oscar-worthy? Not by a long shot. Was it a fun movie where aliens destroyed buildings and ate the stupid humans within? Hells Yeah.
Bad stuff out of the way first. The plot was like something out of a 50’s matinee. Aliens come to earth, destroy the place. Group of humans, who are currently bunkered down in relative safety, decide that they have to leave safety for something questionably more safe. Aliens eat most of the group. I was especially frustrated by one scene where the lead couple, Jarrod (Eric Balfour) and Elaine (Scottie Thompson), are on the run from a beast which is climbing the building they’re in. Given the choice of up to the roof (where the outer-space juggernaut is heading, and has no escape route) and down (opposite direction to said juggernaut and vastly more options for escape), guess which way they head? Two guesses, and first one doesn’t count.
The acting was also pretty average. Most of the cast was infinitely forgettable. It’s always a telling point when you can’t remember the names of any characters (I had to look up Elaine on IMDB). There were two actors I recognised in Skyline; Donald Faison (Terry; you’ll know him as Turk a.k.a. Turkleton from Scrubs), and David Zayas (Oliver, the building manager; You’ll know him as Angel from Dexter, among other roles). Both gave acceptable performances; Zayas was a little disappointing, but only because of the dialogue he was given. If it were delivered by a less-likable actor, it would have been teeth-grindingly painful.
Good Stuff. Aliens invade and large chunks of the human population get dragged up into the sky and having stuff done to them. Exactly what is being done is pretty interesting, and I won’t give it away here. A bit of a plot develops in the last act of the film, which leave it on an interesting note, but really it’s all about the monsters.
Once it all goes down, every couple of minutes we’re given a new set piece to show off some ugly alien beast. There are a few different varieties of alien in Skyline, and within the different species, there are individual differences. Watching them stomp, grab, tentacle-sucker and eat the humans in as many ways as possible is always fun, especially when the humans act 50’s horror movie stupid. Some of the deaths are surprising, some glaringly obvious. None of it is important though; we just want to see giant CGI beasties chewing on them.
The CGI is good. Very good. Hydralux have quite a pedigree for CGI, having been the effects team behind such movies as Rise Of The Silver Surfer, Iron Man 2, AVPR, The Incredible Hulk, Aeon Flux, and Constantine (among others, check them out on IMDb for some serious sci-fi reminiscing). Skyline didn’t disappoint on this front. It was convincing, and it was creepy, and it was violent.
Basically, the Brothers Strause have made the Hydraulx show reel in to the highest grossing show reel ever. Go see it, but don’t expect high art; it’s a monster fest right from go.