Special effects masters the Brothers Strause take a stab at alien invasion with Skyline. Though the brothers have only one other directorial effort (Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem), the list of films which they have provided special effects for is much more impressive. As can be expected from the guys who have worked on films from The Day After Tomorrow to Avatar, the special effects in Skyline are great.

Jarrod (Eric Balfour) and Elaine (Scottie Thompson) visit LA for Jarrod’s best friend Terry’s (Donald Faison) birthday. However, their normal trip soon turns into a nightmare when aliens land on Earth, capturing humans by emitting a blue light that hypnotizes them. Trapped in Terry’s apartment building, they have to figure out whether to escape to safety or to wait out the alien invasion in the apartment.

Though not the best story, the effects alone will keep many viewers engaged. The movie is also decently acted, and there are a few unexpected plot twists. Many of the film’s elements feel like other sci-fi movies that have come before it, but the movie clearly isn’t attempting to change the genre. The Brothers Strause are mainly just having fun here.

The Blu-ray has a good number of special features. There are commentaries with the directors and writers, deleted and extended scenes, alternate scenes, and pre-visualizations. If you enjoyed the movie, there are hours of extra entertainment. The Brothers’ commentary is mostly about technical aspects of the film. It is certainly worth a listen to anyone interested in special effects. The writers’ commentary is sometimes interesting, but will probably appeal to less people.

After listening to the commentaries, it is revealed that the script was written in two months and the film took less than 11 months to complete. The deleted scenes are mostly scenes that didn’t quite fit the overall framework of the movie once the final cut was made. None of these scenes are really missed, but commentaries by the crew allow you to listen to why the scenes were originally filmed. The extended scenes included were cut down for similar reasons and these also include commentaries.

The pre-visualizations are one of the more interesting features provided. These are computer animations of some of the heavier special effects-driven scenes that were done before shooting took place, kind of a moving storyboard. The directors admit that they aren’t much to look at since they were rushed, but it does show that they knew pretty much exactly what they were going to shoot before they filmed. For as quickly as the movie was made, there was some meticulous planning for the visual effects, which are by far the strong point here. Special effects nuts will certainly want to give this movie a look. Though not groundbreaking, the visuals make the movie. Skyline offers a highly stylized alien landscape and provides a decent addition to the alien invasion subgenre.

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