Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

“Skyline” just doesn’t take off

Courtesy of MCT

Theaters all over the world are now showing a science fiction film filled with romantic subplots, glowing blue beams shooting out of large spaceships that float over major cities, and a large-scale attempt at human harvesting. But does this describe the new Universal Pictures flick “Skyline” or the six or seven other alien movies it’s based off of?           

“Skyline” begins with friends gathering together in Los Angeles, Calif. for the birthday party of Terry (Donald Faison, of “Scrubs). Expecting couple Jarrod and Elaine have a good time meeting up with old friends and even discuss relocating to be closer. Instead of facing a hangover in the morning hours, the group instead finds themselves pitted against alien invaders.           

Jarrod takes the reins as the leader and protector of the group. Eric Balfour, known for roles in “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “Six Feet Under” seems to do what he can with the shoddy script. It is hard to judge his performance, because virtually no background or helpful information is given about his (or anyone else’s) character.           

The two female leads, Scottie Thompson as Elaine and Brittany Daniel as Terry’s girlfriend Candice also hold their own in “Skyline.” They serve to bring some comedic timing and emotional subtexts to the film.           

The main problem with “Skyline” is that about halfway through, the plot becomes completely abandoned. It turns into massacre scene after massacre scene, and all previous plotlines are abandoned. Some characters begin dying off, so the audience is left with numerous unanswered questions. At least the action scenes are easy and somewhat entertaining to follow.           

Producers and directors Greg and Colin Strause are no strangers to alien plotlines, having worked on “Alien vs. Predator: Requiem” and “The X-Files.” In their latest venture, their expertise in CGI special effects and impressive action sequences shows. With clean-cut shots and simple angles, not a lot of effort was put into the cinematography, but that does not prove to be the film’s downfall.           

The bulk of the movie was doomed from the beginning. It is evident to viewers that the writers (Liam O’Donnell and Joshua Cordes) decided to pick and chose aspects from other well-known alien films in an attempt to make a super-film of sorts. This, however, makes the movie seem forced, over-familiar and even corny at times. Many aspects of the plot are taken directly from other movies.           

Fighting aliens after a birthday party? “Cloverfield.” Extraterrestrials attacking buildings by beaming down a colorful light from high above in their massive spaceships? Ever see “Independence Day?” Then there’s the fact that the metallic-looking villains disembark their ships in a probing expedition, ripped from “War of the Worlds.” It’s also an interesting coincidence that the film hints that the aliens are afraid of water. Perhaps the writers were watching “Signs” while penning their script.           

There were many aspects that were uncannily similar to other science fiction films that it cannot be a coincidence. If this weren’t the case, “Skyline” may have been a good movie. From the beginning, though, it was obviously doomed, as nearly every aspect of “Skyline” was played out. There were passable efforts, mainly in the realm of acting and special effects, but even the best of the characters couldn’t salvage this mess.           

Kate MacDonald can be reached at [email protected].

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