Friday, November 12, 2010


Second Friday Movie Review--Skyline

OK, I saw Skyline and it was mind numbingly stupid. A plot so thin you could read a newspaper through it. The Strause brothers directed it. They have a heavy dose of special effects in their resume and this movie is almost nothing but special effects.

There were a few moments, after the blue lights shown in the trailer began to rain down on LA, when it was truly creepy and menacing, but another day dawns and nothing panned out and there is no resolution (and I know what happened in the end).

Let's think about aliens. Let's suppose that, and this is virtually certain to be true, the speed of light is as fast as you can go. And you can't even go as fast as that because approaching light like speed generates radiation lethal to life as we know it. So, it is a long, long freakin' way to the next sun from you and many, many centuries of travel to get to enough stars to find one with a orbiting planet with unfrozen water and some life. So you go out into the local, perhaps unfashionable arm of the galaxy and travel for millennia at least and more likely eons (so you'll need a big ship--I get that part) until not only is there a sun with a planet that does have life and OMG! a civilization too, different and less technically proficient, but another civilization. Is your first move hostile? Really? I'm not giving away a thing here--everything you need to know you saw in the trailer. A truly advanced technological society would need not a thing from us.

OK here are the spoilers. In this car crash of a movie, the aliens need our brains, and about two feet of our spinal cord, to about L3, L4 level. What are the odds that they would be able to use our fragile mesh of lipids, gray matter, white matter and other goo, which our own blood is poison to? I'm not an exobiologist but I would calculate that the odds against our plucked whole from the cranium brain et al. being useful to an alien life form as several trillion to one. They show a rasty old grey brain being jettisoned and a new blue one inserted and an alien is born. What? They don't have their own brain making function? Was the rasty old used one a human brain from a day or two earlier? Was it the brain from the last planet they attacked in search of brains? How about using your their own brains? How about a manufactured computer using carbon based compounds rather than silicon? Too tough for the beings able to traverse the unimaginable breadth of empty spaces between brain producing planets? The real search for brains should have begun with the writers--Joshua Cordes and Liam O'Donnell-- neither of whom seem to have written a thing before. Guys, before you waste more people's time and money, go find John Scalzi and have a long, long talk with him. You'll thank me. Brains! Sheesh.

Making a movie that is enjoyable to people involves showing enough of and about the main characters so that you care what happens to them. As in several end of the world from alien invasion movies, it is difficult to care about any of these vapid hipsters. Instead of pulling for the humans to survive, because they are so whiny, backbiting and timid, you find yourself wondering what's taking the aliens so long to mop up the survivors. This movie started slow and never got moving despite some decent special effects, particularly the air combat (which might have been less lethal on our drones, particularly the stealth ones, had it taken place at night--but of course we couldn't have seen it happen then). I can't recommend this for even the most rabid of sci fi fans.



OK. Let me answer a few of your questions. Why would your first move be hostile? Suppose the aliens are like inter galactic Taliban. "If you're not like us, then you must die."

As for the speed of light argument, true, true, unless somehow the rules of physics do not apply. What about tesseracts?

As for the brain-spinal chord thing, it does seem unlikely in the extreme. Unless, we are in fact the product of Intelligent Design and the Intelligent Designer was not a school of the builders of English sports cars in the 1960s and 70s and instead made all interchangeable, like Model Ts.

I haven't seen the movie, so these are just thoughts.

I am compiling a list of quirky movies from the 1960's and 70's for Karen. I will send you the list and you can augment it.

My point about hostility is that you're insular for thousands of years and the first time you have an interesting thing come up, you want to destroy it? Not my idea of engineer prowess thinking. Bring the list on, I've seen my share of quirk.
I think That "Skyline" was the best movie. It had lots of action/special effects, it had enough romance for me to care about the characters, I think it was awesome. And there is no strict definition of aliens. They protray aliens differently. who cares? I thought it was creative. I hope theres a second movie. Because the ending, well..sucked. It left me hangin, and I wanna see more. I give it a 10!!!!!
De gustibus non est disputandum. I've no doubt you liked it, just as there can be little doubt I didn't, but based on history, fair qualitative decisions, etc. you ought to admit that Skyline was pretty derivative and soulless.
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