Right from the moment that I first saw the trailer, I knew that this was a film that I simply had to see on the big screen. I didn’t know much about the concept, but considering how I’m essentially a whore for big-time, eye-bulging CGI, I knew I had to see this.
Skyline is directed by The Brothers Strause (Colin and Greg). Apparently they’ve been around for years upon years as visual effects designers but this is the first time I’ve become aware of them (they had previously directed the Aliens Vs. Predator sequel, but I didn’t really pay attention to who was behind the camera with that flick). After seeing this film, it’s easy to why they’re often the supervisors on their visual effects teams (work includes Iron Man 2, 2012, The Incredible Hulk and more).
The Strauses shot a majority of this film in their very own condo for the mere price of $1-million, something that’s quite unheard of these days in the world of $300-million blockbusters. The reason this film never cost a lot to shoot was because (and I’m taking a guess here) at least 80% of the film is computer generated (the final tally clocks in closer to $10-million).
Visually, this film is a sight to behold. There was a few times when I said to myself, “Ah, that kinda looks phony,” but overall, this is a very sharp looking film. The designs of the aliens and their spacecrafts are damn impressive, and the explosions and flashy lights come by the bucket-load. This beast is an absolute visual feast.
Story-wise, everything runs smoothly enough. My only complaints would be that the beginning of the film moves rather slowly as the Strauses build up to the eventual alien attack (the pacing reminds me a lot of Cloverfield, minus the shaky-cam) and that the running time is a good five to ten minutes too long (I’ll get to that in a moment). Everything in-between, though, is quite good. Basically, it’s your typical group-of-people-stuck-in-a-room-while-danger-lurks-outside type of story, but it’s done well. As far as the dialogue goes, I won’t really touch that. You’ll either like it or you won’t. For me, personally, I found most of it to be too cliche (i.e. “You need to stay strong…”, “You need to look around…”, “Let’s get to the boat!”).
As for the ending, I’m going to try and do this in a way where I won’t spoil anything. The climax of the film is great. It definitely has a District 9 vibe to it (though not nearly as amazing). It’s action-packed, it’s emotional and then it ends… or at least should have. Nope, instead, the story continues for an additional five minutes or so in which I can only assume is because the filmmakers wanted to possibly set up a sequel. Big mistake. This five minutes of footage really puts a damper on the rest of the film and makes everything quite silly when up to this point, there was a more-definite sense of realism.
Not everyone will share my opinions and that’s fine. I would still definitely recommend seeing Skyline on the big screen, if just for the fancy effects, but don’t expect any Oscar-caliber material (other than a doubtful nod for the visual effects).