Good trailer, lousy movie.
That’s how I feel about Skyline, a dull sci-fi â€œthrillerâ€ about alien invaders by the infamous Brothers Strause. Truthfully, the trailer is so good (creepy, intriguing, atmospheric) it leads me to believe that the siblings paid somebody else to do it.
Remember, Greg and Colin Strause started out as well-respected F/X wizards who did TV commercials, music videos, and the movies The X-Files: Fear The Future, The Nutty Professor, Volcano, and the iceberg sequence for James Cameron’s Titanic.
At the top of their game and fantasizing about becoming the next Gore Verbinski, David Fincher or Michael Bay, the Strause brothers directed Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem in 2007. Oops. In spite of making over $157 million, the wretched sequel to a sequel was bludgeoned by the critics and almost sank not one but two profitable movie franchises. As Clint Eastwood’s Harry Callahan said, “A man’s gotta know his limitations”, and Greg and Colin’s biggest problem is…people. Unlike a five minute music video, a full-length movie can’t get away with characters who have the emotional resonance of Styrofoam.
Unfortunately, ignoring Eastwood’s wise advice, Skyline is more of the same, and the moronic screenplay by Joshua Cordes and Liam O’Donnell only makes it worse. Oddly enough, in a movie about the horror of being invaded by creatures from outer space, it’s ironic that the Human McNuggets populating downtown Los Angeles are only marginally less alien than the aliens themselves. Instead of these notoriously unreliable meat puppets called “actors”, I think the Strause brothers would have preferred to cast Skyline with the dead-eyed motion capture animated zombies you see in movies like Beowulf, The Polar Express or Final Fantasy.
What’s worse, the audience can’t even disconnect their frontal lobes and mindlessly enjoy the shiny, whiz-bang special effects because it’s stale eye candy. Skyline cuts and pastes from so many other SF movies (Alien, Independence Day, The War of the Worlds), it becomes depressingly redundant, shamelessly derivative, and immediately forgettable. Been there, done that, downloaded it.
Skyline is a lousy sci-fi movie. It’s still a good trailer, though.