Wednesday, December 1, 2010

“Skyline” – Mmmm…Brains.

A long time ago, I told you that if you didn’t want a movie ruined for you by previews you should only watch the first theatrical trailer. This advice has always served me well, preserving parts of movies that would have otherwise been spoiled. I still don’t understand why studios continue to ruin movies this way, especially when people will jab you in the thigh with a steak knife for spoiling movies for them.

When I saw the first trailer for Skyline, which is arguably one of the best trailers I’ve ever seen, I followed my own advice once again. Some of my friends even tried to make me break my own rules by watching new trailers and telling me things that they saw and what other people were saying about the movie. I ignored (and cursed at) them so that I could go into the movie knowing only that alien ships were basically vacuuming up people into their bellies. I wanted everything else to be a surprise…I was not disappointed.

Remember how excited you were when you opened Christmas presents as a kid? You didn’t know what was in the box, but you knew that it would be something great. You peeled off the wrapping paper and discovered a plain white box; you were a little confused but your hopes were still high. Then, you tore off the lid and found a bright red reindeer sweater grinning at you instead of the Lego castle you wanted. That was the moment in time you realized there was no Santa Claus and that you would be wrecking dad’s car sometime before graduating from high school. Welcome to Skyline.

I still wouldn’t say that my advice failed me in this instance – the movie was definitely not ruined for me. I just wasn’t prepared for the ‘fifteen year old tells her parents she’s pregnant’ type of surprise. I also was not prepared for Hollywood finally delivering us what we’ve never asked for – zombie aliens. Yes, you read that correctly, though it’s not quite what you are picturing in your head right now. It’s not a bunch of brain-chomping Martians chasing people through town. In order to get the people into their ships for some brain harvesting, the aliens first hypnotize people by shining a blue light at them and making some black CGI veins spread from their eyes. Until this is done, the aliens can’t suck them into their ships. Seriously, they can’t, so stop asking why not. For those who don’t look at the light, the aliens send out a variety of creatures – squids, 200 foot monsters, flying octopus, etc. – with their own blue lights to collect them and, ultimately, their brains. This is the premise of the movie.

Unfortunately, the premise is the only thing we have since the writers didn’t want to burden us with a plot. The rest of the film is a bunch of no-name actors (well, Donald Faison from Scrubs is in it, but there’s no way he counts as well-known) making various attempts to leave their hotel to get to the ocean because there aren’t any aliens there. Their logic is that there are no aliens over the water; therefore the aliens can’t go there. Not one of them stops to think that there are also no people on the ocean, which is the only thing the aliens seem to be interested in. I’m also fairly certain that ships capable of flying through space wouldn’t have an issue with a little water. These people deserve to die simply for the fact that they believed the aliens were the same ones from Signs.

After everyone except the guy and his pregnant girlfriend are killed, the military shows up and does their best imitation of Independence Day and not the end scene where the humans win. I’m talking about the first attempt where everyone except Will Smith dies. In this case, our hero and heroine (who we don’t care about enough to bother remembering their names) look at the light for the fourth time each (seriously) and get sucked up into one of the ships. While being sucked up, they kiss each other good bye, ignoring the fact that they were hypnotized and whirling through the air. At this point, I began laughing out loud as I could no longer keep myself contained. I also thought the movie was over at this point, but I was wrong.

Once inside the ship, the aliens showed their true zombie colors by ripping the brains out of the humans and using them to power all of their creatures. We actually get to see a dancing parade of glowing blue brains (I have no idea why nobody else in the theater was laughing by now) moving in an assembly line. When they go to rip the girl’s brain out, they discover she is pregnant and stop what they are doing. To prove that no pregnant woman should ever die, the hero’s brain glows red (HAHAHAHA), takes control of his new alien body, and starts punching his way through other aliens to rescue the girl. The end. I am not making any of this up; that is how the movie ends. We never get to see a true alien nor do we get any explanation for anything that happens, including why the aliens showed up in the first place or why they would give a crap that she’s pregnant when the audience doesn’t care.

In retrospect, I really should have seen this coming, so I’m going to amend my rules. You should still only watch the first theatrical trailer, but you should find out who is in the movie and what the budget is for the movie. In this case, the budget was between ten and twenty million dollars. For a special effects orgy such as Skyline, that amount of money fails to buy you a script, a plot, decent actors, and more than one set (the entire movie is filmed in an apartment building). What it does buy is the ugliest, brightest reindeer sweater in the world…and that reindeer is laughing at you.

Rating: Ask for all of your money back. This movie was nothing more than one of those horrible monster movies on SyFy with better special effects.

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