Wednesday, 17 November 2010

The Watcher - Skyline

Now, call me a fan boy, but I’m a huge Cloverfield fan. Be it the pace and intrigue of these strange attacks in NYC, or the shaky realism of the film’s look; things were just done well. OK, the story has its problems, and once you see the creature the whole film feels a little deflated, but it worked. To say Skyline took more than a few pages from that formula would be a lie. They took the lot!

Skyline is the latest outing from The Brothers Strause. Set in modern day LA, strange alien blue lights land around the city, luring out most of the human population like moths to a flame. A glace into the light will provides a hypnotic zombified attraction, with plenty of skin deformation to boot. The lights act as some kind of navigation tool, for the huge ‘Matrix-esque mother ships’ to soon arrive around our planets major cities airspace. The movie begins with the arrival of the strange craft right from the get go. Fortunately, we instantly head back half a day in the next scene, before the carnage to meet our lead characters.

Again, another 'Cloverfieldism' if you will- we see lead characters Jarrod and Elaine arrive at the less than humble abode of lifelong friend Terry. I truly found this the strongest point of the film. It was good to see the characters build up some relationship with the viewer, even though you were constantly aware of the impending doom and the unshakable feeling that Terry (Donald Faison) looks strange - all buffed out and not in doctor’s green scrubs. Lots of drinks, money, and a small domestic later, time catches up to the film’s introduction and the arrival of the less than friendly E.Ts.

But from here on in, the film falls into every apocalyptic alien invasion movie pitfall there ever was. There’s just nothing to it. I won’t give the story away, people run and scream and things get smashed up. Pan shots of major cities around the world in ruin get broadcast to string-heavy, depressive music. Unjustified and rather idiotic decisions are made by all the main characters, costing lives and taxing a viewer’s patience.

Yeah, it looks pretty. CG alien warships and dogfights look just as good as any other Hollywood blockbuster, but it just lacks heart. It’s the sort of movie you use in a TV store on a massive set, with a 7.1 surround sound system to see how cool HD can look. Or to raise the bar of Independence Day into the next decade.

There really is nothing to it. I can’t even justify it being just ‘one to watch’ because there’s so many other films on at the moment, which can bring much, much more to the table. Oh, and the ending? Worst ending in the world. FACT.

God, don’t you just love a sequel setup?

Phil Davies emerged from the harsh ghetto streets of Swansea City, aged 7. His life took him on a path to the (Gloucester)shire, where thick local accents and many ciders seemed to fuel a burning desire for videogames, cinema, music and pretty much anything else seen within 'geek' culture. He also writes for, and

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