The question ‘What is Skyline?’ was heard all over Comic Con leading up to the film’s debut at Hall H on Friday. The movie has a massive banner ad on a hotel that looms over the city, but nobody knew just what the heck it was. The fact that the film seems to be coming out this fall only increased the curiosity. What was this that had gotten by everybody?
It turns out that Skyline is a low budget alien invasion action film directed by Greg and Colin Strause – the heads of the busy Hydraulix FX house and the directors of Alien vs Predator: Requiem – with an incredible visual hook. The alien ships, huge and insectoid, hover over the cityscape of Los Angeles and blast the buildings with blue beams… which turn out to be tractor beams that suck thousands upon thousands of tiny, screaming people up into the sky.
And that’s just the start. The ships drop off occupants – giant towering beasts who chase down the remaining humans. And all of this was created on a tiny budget that wouldn’t even pay for Will Smith’s trailer.
So why am I not entirely psyched for this? The FX looked great, not even taking into account the budget. But it’s everything else that gives me pause. The leads are Eric Balfour and Donald Faison, and they seem to be playing shitty pool party douchebags. If you thought that the leads in Cloverfield were irritating, these guys seem to be exponentially more horrifying.
Speaking of Cloverfield, that’s the vibe I got – or specifically War of the Cloverfield Worlds. There was as much of Spielberg’s alien invasion film in there as Matt Reeves’ found footage movie. The good news is that Skyline is not found footage but is rather a good old fashioned regular movie, albeit one with a run and gun, intense and subjective feel.
I’m biased because I’ve never liked Balfour, and I hope that the amazing FX and imagination on display is more indicative of what Skyline is than the douchebags partying in the pool. The big problem with Cloverfield is that you spent the whole running time hoping these ding dongs would die. It’s hard for me to imagine rooting for Eric Balfour at the best of times.