Monday, November 29, 2010

Skyline [ Movie Review ] ***

In the midst of a potential lawsuit from Sony and a barrage of thumb downs from movie critics ( and other disgruntled movie viewers with a imdb account), Skyline has finally arrived. Going with low expectation, Skyline wasn't as bad as one would expect. It's not the best alien invasion flicks around but frankly Skyline wasn't that bad afterall.

Much like Cloverfield, we follow a bunch of young adults experiencing a sudden attack by unknown creatures in a city. We get a glimpse of their relationship matters, their future hopes and worries. Then out of the blue, they get a rude awakening that their lives are going to be changed drastically. In Skyline, it's the blue lights from outer spaceships sucking up humans by the thousands.

Instead of running around a city that's torn by monsters, the folks in a skyscraper apartment had the dilemma of choosing whether to escape from the building that they are in or stay put while trying to hide the constant alien abduction.

There's been complains about the lack of character development, the horrible dialogues, the storyline and the far-fetched ending. It's going to vary from one person viewpoint from another but personally, I find it hard to agree with most of the complains (found @ imdb).

Skyline is about a group of people stuck in a building. They are facing a sudden doomsday scenario and the movie is basically about them making decisions with little idea on what's going on. The movie did enough by presenting us with a little background information about this group of people and even though it's slightly one dimension, it was enough to proceed on with the story. To care or not to care for these characters are up to individual's preference and personally, while they are not going to be my favorite movie character, the function well enough to move the story forward.

Then there's the complains about the dialogues being cheesy, unoriginal and badly written. As again, Skyline is not trying to win award for scriptwriting. It's not deep or impressive but it does well to convey the sense of emotions that the characters are going through. One complain highlighted that the group actually said "run" when they were attacked by a big alien and I wonder why isn't it possible? It felt pretty real to me. When tentacles are zooming in to capture you and you are running for your safety, wouldn't you yell something to make your group move a little faster?

Last but not least, there's been complains about the storyline and the ending of Skyline. Most of the complains are aimed at how the folks are stuck in the apartment and the story going in circles (while showing off their special effects) that seems to be heading nowhere but the seemly inevitable doom. Personally, that's the point of Skyline. It's about a group of everyday people stuck in a situation that the odds seems to be overwhelmingly stacked against them. It put you in their shoes and make you consider what would you do if you are faced with such scenario. The prolongation of them stuck in the high-rise apartment works (beside obviously for the budget aspect) in ways that it helps to create the sense of dreariness and difficulties of leaving the safety zone. It also shows that in such dire and hopeless moments, humans would do it's utmost to stay alive.

The ending wasn't everyone's cup of tea. Some finds it comical while others find it downright silly. It's a little bit too convenient like Independence Day and it bears some resemblance to District 9 but in a gloomy film like Skyline, it offers a refreshing sense of hope for the characters. It also reveal the ambitious goals of the filmmakers who planned a series of films / tv projects from this movie. The odds are against them now since the box office collection didn't do that well and the response from the viewers are mostly unfavorable.

Let's put it this way, Skyline won't be a District 9 but that doesn't mean it's not entertaining. The thumb downs that it had been receiving felt unfair. The relatively unknown actors did well with a script that could use a bit of polishing. The special effects weren't that spectacular but with the budget of an independent filmmaker, it was impressive enough to pass as a major studio. Recommended.

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