Skyline (Blu-ray Review)

I love alien invasion movies and really, really wanted Skyline to be a good one.  Skyline stars Eric Balfour and the press release lists some of his impressive credits like Haven and 24. I know him from his not so impressive work in the very bad Syfy movie Dinoshark. Unfortunately, Skyline is only slightly better than Dinoshark and that really isn’t saying much.


Eric Balfour plays Jarrod who is in Los Angeles with his girlfriend Elaine (Scottie Thompson).  They are visiting with Jarrod’s best friend Terry (Donald Faison) who has made it big.  Terry is having a birthday party and hopes to talk his good friend into moving to Los Angeles permanently to work with him.  Terry shows Jarrod his penthouse and fancy car but it doesn’t sway Jarrod as he is happy with his life back home.  His girlfriend Elaine is very unhappy to hear a discussion about moving and adds to the drama by telling Jarrod that she is pregnant.

Skip ahead, or backwards (they do both in the film) and Elaine awakes to what she thinks is daylight but is actually a big blue light coming from the aliens who just landed in Los Angeles.  It’s never revealed what they are or where they come from but they come from the sky and they are definitely not friendly.  Once a person looks into the light for a significant amount of time they are taken over and are under the control of the blue light people (my term, not theirs).  Then they get sucked up into the ship and the blue lights go away.   The penthouse is luckily equipped with a telescope hooked up to the television (who doesn’t have that?) so it’s easy to watch the mayhem going on down below.

Sometimes the aliens appear machine-like and other times full on monsters.  Either way, they eat human brains and have very bad attitudes.  It seems as though their plan is to grab every brain in Los Angeles but the movie never makes that clear.  A dozen or so blue lights drop from the sky and start drawing people in.  Then they leave and come back later to do it all over again.  The various monster like creatures, which seem to have amazing eye sight, pick off people on the ground , while other  aliens make their way through the buildings searching for any leftovers (people who didn’t look at the light).

When you do look at the light you start to have big blotchy purple veins everywhere and its not long before you’re a goner.  Jarrod keeps looking at the blue light but is pulled away before he is taken.  His repeated blue light exposure turns out to be significant later but I won’t spoil it for anyone who wants to watch Skyline for themselves.  I will say that the group tries hard to stay alive when even the military can’t help them.  There is hope when planes and helicopters join in the fight but they are no match for the blue people.

The special effects in Skyline are well done and believable.  It’s too bad the story is just so bad.  The characters are unlikable and have the I.Q.’s of a potato.  The plot is confusing for the first ¾ of the movie and then just plain ridiculous for the last ¼.  It is directed by the Brothers Strause, and it was an extreme disappointment to me.   I was at least hoping for a decent Independence Day rip-off.  This is another prime example of people confusing unique ideas with good ones.


Overall, the special effects in Skyline are decent.  The computer generated images mesh well with the live action for the most part.  Even in HD, the ships look pretty good.  There is one scene however, where the characters are attacked by an arm that looks unbelievably fake and leaves me wondering if that scene was a total after-thought.  The drama of Skyline does unfold in many locations – at night and during the day.  I would have liked to have gotten a good sharp look at what exactly is attacking the city.   I was not happy with the video quality in any situation.  Even the actors’ skin tones appeared off most of the time.  All of the interior shots looked dim and lacked detail which is a problem when the majority of the movie takes place inside an apartment building.  The only time the quality improves is when the action moves outside but even that still looks hazy.


The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is the best thing about this disc and it is impressive at times.  LFE is a constant presence here with big monsters stomping around, planes flying over head and gun fire from down below.  This is a very immersive mix and they did a good job panning the effects across the channels to good effect.  Dialogue is clear and intelligible (sound-wise) and isn’t overwhelmed by the effects.  These sound effects are realistic and do a lot to help this struggling film.

Special Features

I’m giving this section a 3/5 because while there are a decent amount of features I didn’t like the movie so I wasn’t really interested in hearing any explanations of why they did what they did.

In addition to BD-Live Features, the Blu-ray offers the following:

  • Feature Commentaries – The Brothers Strause, in particular talk about the fact that I’m not the only one who didn’t like their movie and the backlash the film received.
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes – None of these scenes would have redeemed Skyline.  Commentary can be  also be listened to if you want to know why the particular scenes didn’t make the final cut.
  • Alternate Scenes – Two additional deleted scenes.  I’m not sure why they make the distinction of calling these alternate.
  • Animation Pre-visualization – You can hear more from the filmmakers and see how some of the CGI scenes originated.
  • Theatrical Trailers

Final Thoughts

I had heard Skyline was a bad movie but I thought that, as a girl who loves some really bad movies, I might see something in it that others didn’t.  Sometimes I enjoy seeing a bunch of bad stuff happen to good people for no reason and I love a good afternoon of sc-fi death and destruction.  In this case, I feel like it was as bad as everyone warned, and worse than I expected.  The nice soundtrack, the kind of scary looking monsters, and people flying through the sky might have kept me interested if not for the ending.  The ending is so bad that I think the writers must have thrown darts at some bad ideas posted on the wall and just went with whatever was hit.  I think the film missed many chances throughout to be clever when they basically gave no explanation of anything going on.  It isn’t until a disaster of an ending where they tried to be really clever, that seals the movie’s fate.  The ending as bad as it is, fails on an even more epic level due to the lack of ambition and intelligence that preceded it.

Skyline comes out on Blu-ray March 22, 2011. Pre-order your copy today!


8 Responses to “Skyline (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    Yeah, besides already hating the movie, I really hated the ending.

  2. Mike

    Jami, my sincerest apologies that you were stuck reviewing this… this… there is just no polite term for it lol.

  3. Brian White

    Milo! What have you become?!!!

  4. Sean Ferguson

    After hearing all of you talk about this and reading Jami’s review, I just couldn’t bring myself to watch this.

  5. Aaron Neuwirth

    Aw, I figured you two would watch it together, as an excuse to get to it…It’s ok, you’ve missed nothing.

  6. Sean Ferguson

    No I’ve got my own stack of things to review! 🙂 Besides I was forewarned about this one!

  7. Jami Ferguson

    Thank you Mike, for your sympathies. This is definitely two hours of my life I want back!

  8. Gerard Iribe

    This is B-movie schlock. I loved it. Yes, I freakin loved it. Alcohol was involved, though.