Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Skyline (2010)

First of all, if you start in with the alien-action, don't jump backwards to tell the story behind the characters who will just end up as fodder if you can't at least make the audience give a shit about those characters.

You're fighting an uphill battle with this group
Thankfully, I am not a completionist, so watching the movie at home let me skip through the part where it's a story about a movie effects guy from Kansas, or someplace, and his successful LA-buddy wants him to move to LA.You are supposed to care. His LA-buddy is unfaithful. You are supposed to care.  Kansas-guy's girlfriend is pregnant. You are supposed to care. Kansas-guy isn't quite ready for the responsibility. You are supposed to care.

This part lasts about twenty minutes, and it feels like it runs for three sleepless days. Not just a regular three days and nights without sleep though. Three sleepless nights spent wearing those things from A Clockwork Orange on your eyes.

This is not how I want to feel when I watch a film.  Not even a bad one.
It might be something straight out an early Bret Easton Ellis novel.  Except this story absolutely terrible and only similar because they're both about rich people in LA.

Moments before the Sentinels from The Matrix attack by shining blue lights into people's eyes
The middle thirty minutes of this film is spent on showing the reactions of people to things happening to them. We see their reaction to an earthquake. We watch their grimacing faces as they see pictures of the alien ships. And finally, we see their best attempts to look worried.

"Did you just feel that? The ground shook. In LA. Weird."
"Holy crap! There is something baffling happening off-screen!"
"There's something scary over there. You'd be scared too if you could see it. Just trust me."
Maybe this was all a strategy.  This might have been some elaborate strategy to get the general public to spend an inordinate amount of their movie-going money on a Roger Corman movie. Like some sort of studio proof that if even the crappiest movie has fairly decent special effects and a HUGE amount of money spent on the advertising campaign, it will pull in a number one box-office spot and a hundred million dollars.

If only Corman had been able to put a trailer on one of those Summer Blockbusters.
Unfortunately, it is painfully obvious that the movie takes itself way too seriously for this theory to hold water. Much like Season of the Witch, I could have gotten behind the film if it had decided it was going to be more Mars Attacks and less Independence Day.

Still the only time Sarah Jessica Parker was funny
Deep down, the movie is really about being a spectator (maybe a spectator of spectators?). It is more generally about the ultimate choice we all have to either sit back where we can watch safely and it's boring but we're alive or to go out of the parking deck and possibly get stepped on and eaten in the process.

He chose poorly.
But what is it trying to say about us, the audience, that we end up sitting in a chair, watching a group of people wait until the last twenty-five minutes to finally decide to get out of the hotel room and actually contribute to the movie they're in.

Original title of this movie: "Watching People Who are Looking at Things"
Once they finally get out of that hotel room, the film moves on to the old "false ending" trope. You know the type. It started back in the 80's when the bad guy just had to be shot somewhere to die the first time. But you had to shoot him in the head to kill him for real and end the movie. It's a cheap trick when you do it once. It's just plain sloppy when you put five of them in a single movie like this one did.

Or maybe it was six. I lost count.

Ultimately, it's a glaring irony that the aliens in this movie eat brains because the movie doesn't have any.

1 comment: