Making the Grades
It isn’t likely that the Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau will be showcasing Skyline in their tourism packages, especially after one character in the movie mutters a derisive comment about the town. Aliens, however, seem to feel differently about the City of Angels. For them, it is a destination hotspot for hostile takeovers and human annihilation.
As this movie begins, Jarrod (Eric Balfour) and his girlfriend Elaine (Scottie Thompson) touch down in L.A. just in time to attend the decadent birthday bash of his longtime friend Terry (Donald Falson). But after a night of wild drinking and spying on the sexual activities of the neighbors with a high-powered telescope, the partygoers are sprawled around the penthouse in a stupor when an eerie beam pierces the night sky and awakens them.
Looking out the window, the group discovers alien ships descending from the sky, emitting a blue ray that seizes the attention of human beings, causing their eyes to glass over and spidery blood veins to spread across their faces and limbs. When the people are sufficiently entranced, they are sucked inside the spacecraft.
Within hours of their arrival, the extraterrestrials also send out probes that go door-to-door hunting down people and consuming them on the spot. Luckily for the main characters, these probes, that can reattach their own severed limbs, lack the capacity to detect a person hiding only a few feet away from them on the other side of a kitchen cupboard. (Whew!)
All military efforts to stop the space intruders are pointless, considering that it takes only four or five of the aliens’ massive ships to overshadow the entire community. Still despite the herculean odds, troops and fighter planes (that look like gnats in comparison) are deployed, mostly to give the space invaders more fodder to chomp on.
Meanwhile, Jarrod, Elaine, Terry, his lover Candice (Brittany Daniel) and his assistant Denise (Crystal Reed) try to outwit the probes, dashing madly in and out of the apartment building. Later some of them run around the rooftop of the building wildly swinging an ax and bashing a creature over the head with a cinderblock. Of course with a cast this size, it is a sure thing that not all of them will make it. And the most (and maybe only) fun in this cheesy plot comes from guessing who will go first.
The reason for the invasion isn’t revealed until the final moments and even then it is a stretch. The ending, clearly designed to give filmmakers plenty of wiggle room for a sequel, is also abruptly short and senseless. Without giving the audience characters they can care about or even a sense of real foreboding, Skyline is little more than a disappointing 90-minute attack on the human senses.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Skyline.
Why is it important for a director to create characters that the audience cares about? Why do viewers need to become emotionally involved in a story?
Is there ever a sense of real fight when one opponent is significantly larger or more powerful than the other? Does this script offer any hope that the humans will succeed in overcoming the aliens?