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Screen Savers: Skyline

Screen Savers: Skyline



You know, one of the worst things about having to do Screen Savers is having to actually watch the movies; or in this case, watch it again. I always had a vague recollection that Skyline was one of the worst films I’d ever seen. So bad that I do believe I tried to bleach my brain with alcohol afterwards to forget I’d even seen it. It sort of worked, I guess; only I just forgot how awful it actually was.

skyline_ver4What’s the motto? “We watch it so you don’t have to” or something like that?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a great fan of the low budget stuff and I’m a big fan of the piss takes. Sharknado? Yes, please. To me, the idea of a movie with a modest budget being made outside standard Hollywood chains, and actually getting a cinema release, was pretty exciting. Unfortunately, it all went horribly wrong somewhere with Skyline. Even worse was that clearly no one twigged just how badly things were going at any stage of production and kept flogging the dead beast. There is nothing wrong with a b-list movie, but that’s generally only when it knows it’s b-list. Often you find that you’ve got writers and actors that just throw their hands up and say ‘to hell with it’. After all, you might as well have fun if it’s doomed for failure. Right? That never happened here. There’s not a spark of humour in the entire thing. Not intentionally, anyway. For me, Skyline is almost unwatchable, and for a movie to make it onto my unwatchable list is certainly a feat. The fact that I couldn’t even get through it in one sitting and had to divide up my viewing with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is something I find difficult to come to terms with. I like Wing Commander for fucks sake. I should have more stamina than this!

If you’ve never seen it, I’d count you among the lucky ones. Skyline is a film about what I can only describe as a seriously botched alien invasion. After all, two days in and it’s still looking like the first twenty minutes (Get your ass in gear! Earth isn’t going to invade itself!). The movie is basically an hour and a half of following a handful of supremely uninteresting people around as they bicker about staying in their apartment, run to the roof, run back to the apartment, cower in fear for a few hours, run to the pool area, then back to the apartment again, all the while these terrible, and lazy I might add, CGI aliens fly around hypnotizing people with blue light and abducting them to steal their brains. No, they aren’t even eating them, they seem to use them to operate equipment. Don’t worry, it’s just another of the many things that’s never actually explained at any point in the movie. One of the problems with Skyline overall is the fact that it seems like the entirety of the budget was spent on the CGI. And not terribly good CGI at that. It looks like so much money was spent on the CGI that they didn’t have anything left Skyline-Spoilers-Discussionfor anything else. If you told me they paid the cast in wholesale tins of Heinz magic beans, I’d believe you.

I know what you’re thinking; yes, plenty of movies have had limited budgets, dodgy CGI and have still been okay. Why should I single this film out? There are a number of reasons that I do. Forgetting about silly things like logic, reasoning (what the flying fuck were those aliens doing for most of those two days? Scratching themselves?) and pacing and the sheer absence of a ‘wtf?’ consultant; you know, the dude you send the first draft to who sends it back covered in red pen and x’s, this feels like a script that genuinely feels like someone threw pieces of other, better scripts into a shredder and put the strips back together again. As a result, the dialogue sounds clunky and any kind of atmosphere that the aliens create evaporates as soon as someone opens their mouth. Then the dying starts. Do I care that people are dying? Not really. As you watch these people you can’t really relate to try to get through scenes that are barely a step above cringe, you actually start looking forward to the dying. There’s honestly more life to be found growing between the Strause brothers’ toes on a hot day than there is in this movie. When they aren’t screaming like they’ve been possessed by the spirit of Ruby Rhod, a lot of the characters are more wooden than a crude figurine of Clive Owen that’s been made from a fallen tree trunk on the set of King Arthur. Day time soap at its most mediocre.

As terrible as it is, and it is pretty bad, I will say that there are some pretty unintentionally hilarious lines and scenes in the movie. They aren’t meant to be. You can tell they’re meant to be as serious as a heart attack, but how can you take them seriously in a movie where two of the lead characters actually lock themselves on the roof trying to photograph the invasion? Yes, because with the city under attack everyone’s first instinct will be to go take photos. One of these moments is the scene where Jarrod (Eric Balfour) actually punches an alien to death. It’s supposed to be an emotional moment as he’s doing it to protect his pregnant girlfriend but with the CGI and set up it comes across as absolutely comical.


For all the interesting things in Skyline there are literally a thousand things working against it. For instance, it seems like they use the human brains they harvest as some sort of organic microchip to operate their part-mechanized bodies. In any other movie that would be so utterly cool. In Skyline it’s just something that happens that seems like it might be important but is never given more thought than it takes to tie your shoes. The same with the creature design. Someone drew those creatures. Someone imagined them into being, only for them to be wasted in a movie that spends its time showing us Eric Balfour peeing instead of perhaps delving a little deeper into the alien menace outside. There is literally no plot in this film. None. If I was to be given the rights to this film and sent back in time to salvage it I’d take the first fifteen minutes of the film, jump to the last five and continue on from there. I would probably have had something kinda awesome as the final scene of the movie sees Jarrod (Balfour) now inhabiting the body of one of the aliens and preparing to single-handedly take everyone on and save the city. That would have been something I’d have perhaps been able to sit through, but that is literally the final scene in Skyline. Almost as though they thought they’d get a sequel out of it.

Wait, what d’ya mean there’s a sequel?

Skyline is just a no on all accounts. Just no. I need to go lie down and cry for a while.