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This article was first published 13 years ago  » Movies » Skyline is for the special-effects junkie

Skyline is for the special-effects junkie

By Elvis D Silva
November 12, 2010 12:16 IST
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A scene from SkylineElvis D Silva reviews Skyline. Readers can also send their reviews here.

Strange blue lights light up the Los Angeles sky early one morning. People who look directly at the lights are sucked into them, and disappear. Before long, unbelievably large spaceships descend through the clouds and a battle for human survival begins.

The audience experiences this entire alien invasion from the limited perspective of a few residents in one condo building in LA. Jarrod (Eric Balfour) and his girlfriend Elaine (Scottie Thompson) are visiting from New York and they are staying with Terry (Donald Faison) who appears to be a big shot in the film business. Big enough for him to afford the lavish penthouse condominium that he welcomes Jarrod and Elaine into.

The day also happens to mark Terry's birthday so the party he throws goes into the wee hours, during which both Jarrod and Elaine discover a few things about each other, and their friend. Early that morning, while everyone is still sleeping off the previous night's excesses, the blue lights arrive.

Escape plans are made, people get killed, more escape attempts, more deaths, lots of shouting and screaming, and a lot of stuff gets destroyed.

Skyline is essentially a special-effects showreel that indulges in crash-boom-bang extravagance during every minute of its run time. This is the type of movie that makes the Starship Troopers movies (yes even the straight-to-DVD versions) look like masterpieces. Which is totally to be expected since the film is the feature directorial debut of brothers Greg and Colin Strause who are veteran special effects producers who have worked on big-ticket movies like Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, 300, The Incredible Hulk and X-Men: The Last Stand, among others.

A scene from SkylineDo not expect a story, or performances, from this film. Faison and Balfour are competent enough actors but in this movie, the human elements on screen seem to be present purely to serve as alien fodder.

The effects are of a high enough quality and Skyline features a few moments of nasty surprise, generated by a combination of sound and visual effects trickery; but since you never end up caring about any of the human characters (if the filmmakers don't, how can the audience be expected to?) all of it serves no purpose other than to goose you out of your visual candy-induced stupor.

If you are some kind of special-effects junkie, perhaps this movie is for you. Otherwise Skyline really doesn't have any redeeming qualities.

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Elvis D Silva in Mumbai