Independence Day At Ground Level
image from mymorningjoe.com
RANT: Finally caught up with the backlog of movies I had. Now I can move into Thanksgiving week with a clean slate. Looking forward to all of the holiday films, hoping for a good batch this year. Maybe there will be a couple of Oscar-worthy contenders in the mix.
SYNOPSIS: As Jarrod and Elaine visit his friend Terry in Los Angeles, they become part of an alien invasion. As the ships and alien scouts round up and abduct the citizens by the hundreds, the small band of friends tries to survive.
The Brothers Strause (Colin and Greg) return after "Aliens vs Predator - Requiem" to helm "Skyline". Known for visual effects design, they have plenty of expertise under their belts for creating a sci-fi film. But do they have what it takes to create something better than a "Independence Day" knock off?
Eric Balhour stars as Jarrod, a young artist traveling to Los Angeles with his girlfriend Elaine (Scottie Thompson). Meeting up with his successful long-time friend Terry (Donald Faison), they spend the first night partying in Terry's penthouse apartment. Early the next morning, dozens of balls of light descends from the skies, somewhat hypnotizing those who see them. Moments later, all who are gathered around the pulsating strobes are sucked up into the clouds into the motherships. Terry, Jarrod, and Elaine are joined by Terry's girlfriend Candice (Brittany Daniel), Terry's on-the-side girlfriend Denise (Crystal Reed) and eventually the apartment manager Oliver ("Dexter's" Davis Zayas) in their attempts at escape and survival.
The motherships and their tentacled scout ships are more wicked versions of those found in the "Matrix" trilogy. Sentient, self-repairing and hungry for bodies and brains, there seems to be no hope for our band of heroes against the scout fliers and the more hulking five story "Krakenesque" creatures. As more and more L.A. citizens are lured to the lights like plankton to the deep ocean skeletal luminescent fish, Jarrod and gang lose friends and most of their hope for rescue or living too many more days. And as the government sends all it has against the beasts and ships, we get a citizen's view of the ensuing carnage.
Unlike "Independence Day", where the story resolves around the president and scientists (with some civilians in tow), "Skyline" gives us the perspective from the everyman's point of view - even if it is from the penthouse. The battle sequences are slick, the alien technology and creatures are eye candy, and the concept of the story has potential. That is, until the end of the last act. Don't get me wrong... I enjoy disaster sci-fi flicks that do not have a happy ending where a secret shelved government weapon or computer virus saves the day from a much more technologically advanced invading interstellar species.
If you love sci-fi and enjoyed the trailers and commercials, I would still advise you to wait to see this disaster... flick!
I am also trying out a new rating system shown below based on reader reaction to my somewhat complex monetary rating scale. I will give both ratings and see what kind of reaction I muster. A movie can receive up to 5 popcorn buckets. Why popcorn buckets? Because I am a slave to the thousand + calorie delight! Enjoy!