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In this film publicity image released by Universal Pictures, alien ships attack the city of Los Angeles in the sci-fi thriller, "Skyline".

Photo Credit: [hy*drau"lx]/Rogue/AP Photo/Universal Pictures

1 out of 4 stars

Country
USA
Language
English

The only fascinating thing about Skyline is that that such a mad muddle of a movie can even exists in an era of corporate homogeneity and purported quality control.

Made on a $10-million budget, the film is the handiwork Colin and Greg Strauss, who helped provide special effects for movies including Avatar and Ironman 2, and also directed another alien smackdown, Alien vs. Predator - Requiem. So intent are the Strausses on showing off their visual chops, they leave the film's story, dialogue and acting in shambles.

The opening scenes mimic Cloverfield, another movie in which a wild party by a group of twenty-somethings culminates in an extra-terrestrial invasion. Jarrod ( Six Feet Under's Eric Balfour) and Elaine (Scottie Thompson) have come to L.A. to celebrate the birthday of his rich rapper pal, Terry (Donald Faison). When the aliens attack, they do the sensible thing and pull down the blinds. When that proves ineffective, the group bickers, some arguing for running to the marina on the chance that the aliens don't like water, and the others opting to stay put, on the chance the aliens might ignore them. The actors' desperation is palpable, and yours would be too if you'd signed on to this.

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Through their big-screen window, the characters watch as Los Angeles is attacked in what looks like an Independence Day/Transformer double-pronged invasion. The aliens are a diverse group, resembling giant spiders, octopuses, bats, angler fish, bagpipes and the poop monster from Kevin Smith's Dogma.

Typically, the creatures hypnotize people with the pretty blue Christmas lights they have hanging on their bodies, and then hoover them into their gnarly clam-shell of a space ship. Their other techniques owe a lot to movies from Godzilla to Aliens to Jurassic Park. Occasionally, they'll even go zombie - sneaking up from behind their victims and sucking out their brains, though from what we see of the humans in the film, it would be a poor source of nourishment.

If, for some reason, you end up going to Skyline, promise yourself to stay to the last 15 minutes. That's when the movie outdoes itself, as the narrative becomes incomprehensible and the palette turns into a bad peyote trip of candy-floss pink and bile greens. Some movies aspire to be like roller coaster rides; Skyline just resembles the results of an unpleasant digestive spill.

Skyline

  • Directed by Colin Strauss and Greg Strauss
  • Written by Joshua Cordes and Liam O'Donnell
  • Starring: Eric Balfour, Donald Faison and Scottie Thompson
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About the Author
Film critic

Liam Lacey is a film critic for The Globe and Mail. More

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