Just because you can make a flashy looking film doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to do so. The stench of The Strause Brothers’ last movie (the abysmal Alien vs. Predator: Reqiuem) still lingers in the nostrils of franchise fans and genre enthusiasts, and while their technical talents are undeniable (the Chicago natives have lent their special effects expertise to everything from Aeon Flux to Avatar), they are clearly not competent enough as storytellers to direct. That didn’t stop them from helming their very own “passion project,” a large-scale alien invasion flick on a shoe-string budget. Though their ambition is commendable, their movie Skyline is not.
What looks like a $100 million summer-style blockbuster on par with the best creature features in recent memory is rendered ridiculous by the absurd screenplay from writers Joshua Cordes and Liam O’Donnell. That’s not to mention the razzie-worthy performances from the entire cast; a D-list ensemble including Eric Balfour, Donald Faison and a whole lot of eye candy. The story is short, simple and requires absolutely no thought whatsoever; chances are if you are actually sitting down to watch Skyline you either weren’t planning on using your brain anyway or were required to screen the film (like me).
The only thing this movie had going for it was its digital effects and creature design, neither of which is original but is striking enough to engage the viewer on the most basic level. Therefore, I expected the studio to cram the Blu-ray with one hell of a making-of documentary and a ton of behind-the-scenes featurettes, interactive materials, etc. Something, anything to entertain me more than the half-assed feature. Yet the bonus content is bare-bones, with nothing more than a handful of extended/deleted scenes that should’ve stayed on the cutting room floor (the virtual cutting room floor, that is) and filmmaker commentaries in desperate need of visual companionship, like, say, in the form of a making-of documentary! Perhaps there’s a reason for the lack of special features; maybe there just wasn’t anything else to explore. Or maybe the critical response to the movie was enough to force the Brothers Strause into temporary exile, which is exactly where Skyline belongs.