BLU-RAY REVIEW: Skyline
The Brothers Strause deliver a visual masterpiece and lackluster story...
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For those of you unfamiliar with Greg and Colin Strause and their SFX company Hydraulx, their incredible resume includes work on such fan-favorite films as The X-Files, Titanic, 300, Avatar, Wanted among many others. Likewise, the company has done work on an amazing number of music videos and commercials as well and worked with such favorites as U2, Linkin Park, Disturbed, Staind, and A Perfect Circle.
The pair only recently jumped into the director's seat, bringing to life the 2007 monster mash Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, which received fairly negative reviews. Again, last November the pair gave directing a try and, again to fairly negative reviews, The Brothers Strause created the latest in alien-invasion sci-fi films with Skyline. Now, fans of SFX-laden sci-fi short on story can pick up this visual beauty on blu-ray and DVD.
Attempting to capitalize on the recent resurgence of alien-invasions at the box office, Skyline featured the standard storyline: aliens show up unannounced, attempt to take over, and try to destroy the world, all the while, humans try to escape, fight back, and die. Skyline follows a young couple and their friends as they try to survive this invasion and, with unexpected results, are exposed to the E.T.s and their crazy reason for invasion.
Skyline is at best a mixed bag, featuring some of the most amazing special effects you'll ever see in a sci-fi film mixed with what has to be one of the most unoriginal stories to date. The Brothers Strause do a great job of bringing to life the aliens, which range in type, shape, size and even species. Likewise, the setting - Los Angeles - provides a solid setting. Sadly, the script by freshmen writers Joshua Cordes and Liam O'Donnell is lackluster and cliche. Likewise, the cast is fairly low-budget and the actors are somewhat amateurish. Thankfully, the real star - the special effects - are gorgeous and each and every alien, their amazing designs and the way they move, fly, fight and wreak havoc on Los Angeles is realistic and impressive.
The blu-ray features a gorgeous 1080p video transfer which features plenty of bright consistent colors and details. Likewise, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is solid, with plenty of surround sounds in both side and rear speakers that'll have fans of the attack loving every explosion and building collapse.
The special features on the blu-ray include two commentary tracks: one with The Brothers Strause and one with the writers (Joshua Cordes and Liam O'Donnell). Fans of special effects will appreciate the Brothers' outlook, though they seem to think the movies was a masterpiece. That said, the writers at least exhibit a sense of humor in their commentary. Other special features include a number of deleted, extended and alternate scenes with commentary, a "Pre-Visualization" of the film with commentary, the film's trailers (again with commentary), BD-Live access, and "My Scenes" bookmarking ability.
Overall, for fans of sci-fi, Skyline is at least worth a watch. While no where near as original as Independence Day, no where as dramatic as The X-Files, and no where near as exciting as Battle: Los Angeles, Skyline is at least beauty to watch. And, while Skyline's storyline seems somewhat worn, it does feature a few tidbits of originality which will no doubt make viewers who enjoy it look forward to the sequel. That's right, while it's not yet confirmed, the story leaves it open to a follow-up and considering the film cost $10 million to make and grossed over $65 million at the box office, movie goers should expect a sequel sometime soon. Let's hope The Brothers Strause learned something about storytelling from the first one and make the second one better...
Skyline is rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, some language, and brief sexual content and is available on blu-ray and DVD wherever fine home video is sold.
- Jess C. Horsley