Wow. I haven’t been affected by so many special effects as far as I can remember. Which after the light show from the movie I just saw is not surprising due to the flash-induced memory-loss.
Let’s see how many movies, novels, etc. can easily be linked to the movie called Skyline.
Independence Day, The Matrix movies, Cloverfield, A Wrinkle in Time and A Wind in the Door by Madeline L’Engle, Predator and the most recent Predators, Starship Troopers, various stories by H. P. Lovecraft, Sphere, some Star Wars. I’m sure there are plenty of other ties and inspirations for this thrill-trip of a movie with which I am unaware – probably some
Invasion of Body Snatchers and the like, but I’m not familiar enough of the others to be sure.
I don’t know if an original idea exists in Skyline; although they do take derivations to new heights. As I mentioned before, the special effects are quite intense and fairly remarkable. The movies to which the creators of this film seem to be hugely indebted are Cloverfield, Independence Day and The Matrix saga.
Aside from its extremely derived nature, I won’t spoil the plot, but I will touch on a few things that really annoyed me with the film.
One – it primarily takes place in an apartment. While the directors/producers/whomever seemed to provide a reasonable excuse for cutting costs by staying in one location for the majority of the film, I found it at times to be untenable.
Two – The token black male bites it fairly early. This Hollywood trope has become ridiculous and needs to end. The black male lead truly seems to have potential in this film despite his obvious shortcomings (adulterous letch). The producers though won’t let this turn into a true take-off of Independence Day though, the black man must die in this one. Boo. Please, talk about a retread plot line that has become disgusting in its pandering. Just because the black male in the film is highly successful in a legitimate venture does not mean Hollywood is spreading the ideal of “equality” of races. I’ll stop now, because it’s just making me angrier thinking about the disingenuous treatment of race relations by mindless writing.
Three – The INCREDIBLE luck afforded the main character and his girlfriend as they miraculously avoid being turned into burning goo by falling debris stretches the believability factor so far that I almost laughed. Don’t get me wrong. I did laugh, but that was near the end of the movie.
Four – The end of the movie. I still cannot believe they ended the movie the way they did. I would like to say it was a big let-down, but I can’t quite say that as the ending was telegraphed pretty early. Unfortunately, it ended before it ended. Yes, that’s right folks, we get an inconclusive ending that leaves us with the unenviable plight of waiting for a sequel to see a real resolution to this cinematic booger.
Okay. Enough ranting. Some serious issues came through the film that may or may not have been intended by the makers (I’m pretty sure they were not trying to be very deep, but I came away with some deep questions and observations which I will now – perhaps to your chagrin – share.)
Skyline is about the end of the world as we know it. Bright lights appear in Los Angeles and draw people to look at them. As they look they are changed and sucked away, eventually, we find out to feed aliens. The fight becomes difficult and nearly impossible for Man to win. The aliens are taking over. It is simply a matter of time.
It seems to me that this idea of the “inevitability” of defeat is a product of the struggles in our political and social life. Socialism and its sister worldviews call for a global struggle against oppressors that seem all-powerful, to the numbing of individuality and the pursuit of group (i.e. species) survival. Arguments will be made against this view, as the protagonist’s individuality becomes the focal point of the climax, but his individualism is swallowed by the tone of the movie that proclaims the inevitability of defeat. Some hope exists at the end of the movie, but it is nearly indecipherable from the hell and horror that surrounds it.
The movie also proclaims a rabid agnosticism. Man is simply a sum of his parts without soul. His brain may house his intellect, but it only offers hope for a possibly select few who might be able to tap into something extra through the unintended aid of his oppressors. In the movie, though, no true justice exists. No external force for good and righteousness. Stuff happens, and you gotta cover your own derriere. Man has no “spirit” of himself except that which is found in the rare person who overcomes through the triumph of his will. It seems to be very nietzschean, calling for the uber-mensch to rise up and destroy the alien overlords.
Our culture is fascinated with destroying the concept of “God” and replacing it with the self-made man who overcomes all obstacles to his prominence. For them, and for this film, man should rise above all others, not because he is made in the image of the Creator of the universe, but because he wills dominance through his own desire.
If I were to rate the film, I would give it a four out of ten, with ten being best. I really did enjoy the movie, for the most part while enduring it in the theater. It was an overwhelming experience from which I am still recovering. My problems with the film come from its overly-derivative nature, simplistic plot, poor philosophical backbone and – as far as I’m concerned – terribly lame ending. I would not encourage anyone to waste time or money on this film, unless they simply want to go on a little mindless adventure that does not require deep thought. In fact, it is a better film if you don’t overthink it. If I learned anything positive from the film, it would be that the books, stories and films that inspired this mish-mash were so far beyond it, that I can hardly wait to experience them again for the thought-provoking, and enjoyment they provoked in me in years gone by.