Ok, now I saw the trailer for skyline about a month ago, looked interesting and I thought hey why not. Why not indeed? Every review I read on it bagged it in every way, calling it hopeless, trash and questioning why it was being promoted at all.
Well, I won’t question their assessment of the business logic to it all, maybe it will make money maybe it won’t but I will let you know I disagree with the reviewers whole heartedly. It’s not a hopeless movie, it’s actually really good in my books but I suspect it’s more accident than design.
Many of the reviews I read were particularly grumpy with the ending. I think in part it’s the lack of a clear cut ending and in part reviewers don’t generally get science fiction. Taking a step back…
The premise. Aliens come to earth and with some pretty cool technology lure people out of their homes and suck them up into space ships for reasons of their own, probably nefarious. What’s wrong with that?
Nothing I can see. Ok, now I wrote on this a few years back, any species capable of interstellar travel has some big firepower at their disposal, they have to. Now while I like like star trek as much as the next geek fact is where ever they go they aren’t likely to be making friends with inferior species. Given the resources required to travel that distance they are going to be coming with a reason and on the whole the reason is likely to be to get something they need (and that isn’t likely to be getting a tan, while checking out the local babes). Given that many resources (eg minerals) are relatively common throughout the universe then what would they need specifically from us? Well us actually. Life is far more rare than minerals and rarer still is highly developed life forms if our solar system is anything to go by. So big bad aliens coming to harvest us is on balance more likely than not. Sorry Gene.
Their method (draw them out and suck them up) is also not so stupid and far fetched. Why go into a messy war that will damage the merchandise. If you want it fresh you need to get in and get it quick… So that bit makes perfect sense to me. Even if it has a pretty high ick factor. We don’t go to war with cows, just so we can have steak.
From there it’s lots of big scary monsters, many aliens… Now in this kudos to them. Movies like cloverfield and Independence day didn’t have the balls to do that. You know what, if somethings coming to rape and pillage the earth, I want to get a good look at them and not through a shaky cam. In this moving the aliens are up close and personal and even if they have an ick factor well it’s a monster movie, they ought to right?
Stop reading now if you don’t want to know more or are planning on seeing it and believe me if you are a fan of monsters, you want to see this movie.
So to the ending… I was counting down the minutes, waiting for the “miracle discovery” that knocks off the aliens. Nope, nada. The monsters win pure and simple and they don’t just win where we see them, they win all over the world. YAY!!!! About time someone twigged to the fact that an advanced species, travelling that distance for a resource they really need is going to win… Not even the old nukes fix the problem. Not that I was 100% convinced about it but hey watching something get up after a nuke is really cool in my books.
In the last few minutes having established the earth is toast (again can I say YAY!) we swap to what happens to the humans once they are on the ship and that’s not nice either. Our aliens are harvesting the brains and dumping the bodies. A little bit of a glitch in the system (hey i’m a programmer, i understand that) allows one of our brain stripped characters to keep his memories after being transplanted in a new body. I would have started to get nervous but they end the movie there, leaving it up to the imagination of the viewer. Good on them, it takes guts to end a movie unresolved. I don’t actually see the problem with that.
OK I’m a monster lover, it’s out there. My score 9 out of 10. Why 9, I would actually give it 10 (despite it’s flat charmless characters, who cares they are there to show us how bad the monsters are not change our worlds) but I suspect that the creators got it right by accident not design and will if they put out a second, completely muck it up and find some ridiculous way for humanity to make a comeback… cause you know the humans have to win. However maybe not, I am not above a little personal triumph, somebody survives, that’s ok but if the humans kick their alien butts… i am walking out. that’s just not believable.