Review: Skyline Blu-ray

Skyline Blu-ray boxSTUDIO: Universal | DIRECTORS: The Brothers Strauss | CAST: Eric Balfour, Scottie Thompson, Donal Faison, David Zayas
RELEASE DATE: 3/22/2011 | PRICE: DVD $29.98, Blu-ray $39.98
BONUSES: deleted scenes, pre-visualization, two commentaries
SPECS: PG-13 | 94 min. | Science-fiction | 2.40:1 aspect ratio | DTS-HD audio | English, Spanish, French subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Skyline movie sceneSkyline takes place where most catastrophes seem to start in the world of cinema: Los Angeles. Yes, despite the smog, traffic and high cost of living, aliens from every world travel millions of lightyears to find a nice two or three square mile block to settle down and raise some brain-stealing children. Or at least that’s what happens in this particular global catastrophe. Of course, they move on to Paris and London, but only AFTER they take the City of Angels in force.

The story of this film is not unlike many other alien infestations: They come down in the middle of the night and begin to wreak havoc on the city and kill thousands of unsuspecting Angelinos.  The unique take in this ** SPOILER ALERT ** movie is that the aliens are actually stealing human brains to power their war-like minion creature things that are destroying the Earth. Why beings intelligent enough to be able to fly across the universe would need or want to steal the inferior brain of us humans is unclear, but apparently they’re jonesing for some homosapian brain meats. O-K

The movie follows a couple (Eric Balfour of TV’s Haven and Scottie Thompson of TV’s NCIS) who come to L.A. to visit their wealthy friend (Donald Faison of TV’s Scrubs) on his birthday. As is usual in these types of films, we quickly learn who are the good guys and who are bad. Faison is cheating on his blonde girlfriend (Brittany Daniel, TV’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), who likes to complain … a lot. And Faison’s bit-on-side (Crystal Reed) is trying to snake her way into his decedant life. Guess who’s going to become alien dinner first? Of course, none of these things really mean anything, as they’re not addressed once the alien invasion starts, but who can think about such trivial things when aliens are trying to steal your brain?

The main weakness of the aliens in Skyline, though, is that they must have eye contact with their prey. If they can’t see you, there is no danger. Fortunately, for our group, they are holed up in a penthouse apartment equipped with full-window automated blinds! So, what do our heroes do in the safety of the visually impenetrable penthouse? The only thing they can … they leave!

Yep, they all decide it’s best for them to try to get to the marina and sail away on a boat — because, according to them, the aliens don’t like the water very much. Seriously, how many more alien movies are there going to be where the ETs don’t like water but still travel millions of miles to a planet that is … MOSTLY WATER?

So, of course, our heroes leave, mayhem ensues, and many people die horrible deaths. Now, those who are left decide that it wasn’t such a great idea to leave the apartment, and they wind up back where they started, with the addition of the gun-toting building manager (David Zayas, TV’s Dexter).

The movie doesn’t do any favors for this cast of TV actors, but it’s not all their fault. The script barely has one dimension, and the bulk of the film is little more than a humorous odyssey that isn’t meant to be funny at all. If you’re going into this film expecting any sort of logic, story or believable plot, you’ll want to look elsewhere, because it appears the aliens stole the brains of the writers before they put pen to paper on this one.

The best part of the film is the CG eye candy. The visual effects are excellent and almost worth sitting through the rest of the laughable parts of the picture. The creature design is pretty gnarly, and, although a lot is stolen from Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, there are several shots that could only be described in Charlie Sheen’s quip as “epic.” And it all looks great, creepy, spooky and clear on the high-definition Blu-ray.

The sound is also incredible on the Blu-ray… so much so that it vibrated our center channel speaker off of its perch during one particularly visceral explosion.

Other than the heap of deleted scenes offered on the disc, the rest of the special features are reasonably entertaining. The 10-minute pre-visualization segment shows early looks at two scenes, but definitely watch them with the commentary on. Co-director Colin Strause leads a funny and enthusiastic track, which also includes co-writer/producer Liam O’Donnell and co-writer Joshua Cordes. The three ooh and aah at the shots, saying where they would have liked more blood splatter and which shots didn’t make it into the movie. They are fun to listen to.

Strause and his brother and co-director Greg provide the better of the two commentary tracks too, giving details about the visual effects and more personal tidbits, such as the condo where much of the movie was filmed was Greg’s.

O’Donnell and Cordes recorded the other commentary, and it’s not as entertaining. They’re much more enamored with the actors and how great the scenes are in their movie, although one of them does say that he was watching the film for the first time. That explains a lot.

 

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About Jamie

Jamie Clark has worked in the movie industry for 10 years and in his spare time, he makes sure his home theater is calibrated perfectly for the best viewing experience.