Skyline, in a nutshell, is about aliens which invade LA, harvesting human brains for God-knows-what purpose.
Actually, that’s pretty much the extent of this underwhelming plot, nutshell or no nutshell. Jarrod, played by 24‘s Eric Balfour, heads to the City of Angels with his girlfriend for a big party being held by an old friend, and there’s lots of drinking and back-slapping and lady-ogling… and, that’s pretty much where all the fun stops for everyone, including the audience.
The next morning, they wake up to find that bright lights in the sky are giving everyone what appears to be a horrible case of varicose veins of the face. Everyone starts to panic – well, who wouldn’t?
Cue just about every science fiction cliché you can think of: the men go out to attempt to attack said aliens, while the women stay at home, shrieking and whimpering and occasionally moaning about how one of them is being cheated on and another of them is pregnant. The world’s about to end ladies, PULL YOURSELVES TOGETHER!
Ahem. Of course, the real problem with this particular Brothers Strause production is that they’ve cast Donald ‘Turk’ Faison, of Scrubs fame, as a high-rise-apartment-owning LA-based tycoon. Which is fine – Faison can certainly act and he’s even bulked up for the part – but the fact remains that he is Turk and will always be Turk. So when you’re not waiting for JD to show up and reveal that this ridiculous film is, in fact, part of his inner monologue, you’re left wondering why Turk’s ditched the lovely Carla for an infinitely less classy woman going by the name of Candice (played by The Game‘s Brittany Daniel).
There’s a serious lack of dialogue throughout Skyline – presumably due to the lack of plot. Sadly, while the alien creations are easily the most impressive element in the film, even their brilliantly evil plans for world domination can’t account for the banal scripting. So frequently do lines of “You don’t know what’s out there!” clunkiness make their appearance, that you end up wondering if the scriptwriters’ brains had also been harvested by alien life forms. In space, of course, no one can hear you groan.
But not to worry, the film’s writers, Joshua Cordes and Liam O’Donnell, do come up with a GENIUS plot device which will kill time while we’re all waiting for the semi-exciting alien-filled bits. So they’re all in this fancy apartment, right? With fancy electric blinds at the windows? So every single time something happens outside, or might happen, or nearly happens, the blinds will ever-so-slowly rise up, and unveil the action bit by bit. Over and over again. This, you see, will create excitement and tension, and won’t be horribly horribly tedious or predictable. Argh.
The whole thing is rather like an extended episode of Doctor Who: the aliens are fairly absurd and you can usually see what’s coming from several light years away. Don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of ‘Who, but I’m not prepared to sit through 92 minutes of a poorly written version without so much of a glimpse of David Tennant.
The good news is that probably almost no one will be going to see this film after next week when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is released. The bad news is that, somewhat unbelievably, Skyline is intended to be the first in a series of Brothers Strause Sci Fi extravaganzas that include at least one other film. You can’t say I didn’t warn you.