Monday, 15 November 2010



Not everything has to be devastatingly original and fresh to pass muster as a reasonably enjoyable night at the cinema. Not every movie can be a bold and fearless experiment in new and innovative expression, not every movie has to redefine the language of cinema. Sometimes you can manage perfectly well with the long-established and traditional, if it's done with brio, energy and skill.

And here's an example: a film which has very little original content, a film which is mainly composed of bits of other movies, and yet because Skyline moves pretty quickly, brilliantly integrates some fantastic effects and has a small cast of people you're not actively encouraged to detest, it's enjoyable enough for you to ignore the wholesale xeroxing from Independence Day, Godzilla and Cloverfield. In the small hours of the morning, bigass alien spaceships loom out of the sky all around the globe and suck the populace out of their homes like some kind of interstellar vacuum cleaner, before gigantic monsters start stalking the streets grabbing survivors and instantly digesting them. How long can a small group of people remain holed up in their luxury condominium while the semi-mechanical beasties seek out the last of the humans?

And while it seems to end at the natural point for the intended sequel, the fact that almost the entire population of the planet has been wiped out rather leaves the human-alien conflict hopelessly one-sided, so the movie's ending feels very abrupt and unsatisfying. How can there be a sequel to a movie this apocalyptic, and given that, how can this movie end on the promise of one? (Nevertheless, Skyline 2 is listed on the IMDb as "in development" for 2012.)

It's not a staggeringly well written film - on the contrary, it's rather thin on character and plot; the heroine's early stage of pregnancy is clearly going to be crucial later on in the movie, and we're given very little idea of what the aliens actually want besides absorbing the brains of four billion humans. Really the best things in the movie are the impressive Gillis-Woodruff monster designs and the scenes of mass destruction, and the suitably yukky and disgusting finale in the bowels of the mother ship. No, it's not original, but it doesn't matter.


Coming soon to a DVD player near you, if you want it:

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