Written and Directed by Liam O’Donnell
October 25, 2020 (FrightFest) / December 18, 2020 (United States)
A virus threatens to turn the remaining human/alien hybrids against humanity so an assault is planned on the alien world in a last ditch effort to save the peace.
You heard me. I know it sounds nonsensical. And this is a film series with brain harvesting aliens.
Skylines is the third film in the Skyline film series. The first two were enjoyable enough movies but this one is a complete dud. In the context of its fictional universe the story makes little sense. In quality it has the production values and script quality of a Syfy Channel movie. I did not expect greatness going in, but I expected something that was enjoyable low quality. They did not succeed there.
Some kind of virus is affecting all the turned human/alien hybrids. It is making them ill and causing them to revert to harvest brain mode. Some random scientist character (Rhona Mitra) is working on a treatment in the refugee camps/hybrid areas and is very close to a cure (as if anything else was expected) but she’s not quite there yet. Darn the luck!
Skylines picks up at the very end of the second movie. But what should have been a cool space battle (or at least an attempt at one) is just a great deal of narration and slow-moving shots. Rose (Lindsey Morgan) is about to fire a superweapon to decimate the alien fleet but hesitates long enough for one of the human controlled vessels to move into the line of fire. That makes no sense, and this world has alien monsters that rip out human brains for parts! Why does a ship fly into the line of fire? Avoiding getting shot by your own team is pretty basic stuff.
Rose is hiding from authorities in a refugee camp/hybrid area near London after the narration heavy flashback. Apparently her hesitancy is a crime because when the authorities find her they arrest her on some kind of charge. Murder? They do not exactly say. But all is quickly good though.
The authorities are not seeking to prosecute her or anything like that but rather to have her lead a mission to the alien planet which they can now travel to via wormholes in order to steal back the Harvester core drive to save the hybrids. She can do that magic thing with the technology. How this plan to raid the alien world and taking of the device all works is not well explained. We are just supposed to accept it. Maybe they do a better job in the Director’s Cut. I hope there ISN’T one though.
Alexander Siddig is the biggest name in this film. The man has talent, but he is really slumming it here. As Gen. Radford his character is a nice general type at the beginning but is actually one of the film’s villain. Eventually we learn this whole problem with the hybrids turning was caused by him to justify their eradication because they are abominations. And Radford says “abomination” a lot. At least after he is revealed to be evil. It is like it is his word of the day and he just wants to use it as often as possible.
Then we get a second villain in the form of the alien queen when we get to the planet? I guess that is what it is supposed to be. Apparently getting her to the planet was part of some kind of plot. I do not know. It certainly sounded like it from dialogue but how does everything else fit together?
And they pull an Independence Day: Resurgence with the human technology. Human technology has advanced but only as is necessitated to keep the “plot” moving. There is no hint of advanced tech in the background and given that the alien technology is largely organic all this cool shit made from wires and metal seems a little incongruous given the huge leap. War does lead to technological advancement and I know this film is set ten years after the last film which runs mostly concurrent with the first but holograms and such feels a bit huge.
The characters in this film from Rose to Gen. Radford and everybody else is as one dimensional as you can get. They just are. I mean that in their characterization they just are what they are. No relationships are built. No motivations are fleshed out. No growth. Everything is dropped in our laps with no set up. And I have absolutely no idea who the old man character named Leon (Jonathan Howard) is. I do not recall him from the last movie but apparently, he is friends with everybody and a big deal. Enough of a big deal to merit some significant screen time before he pointlessly dies.
There are two parallel stories here. Skylines switches between the mission on the alien planet and events occurring on Earth and the threat to London. Truthfully you would not know they were anywhere near London because from the looks of it the budget did not include enough money for background CGI to show a devastated London just once.
The bits on Earth feel tacked on. I am convinced that originally the story largely occurred on the alien planet with very little if any action taking place on Earth. This is just a theory but from the looks of it they felt the alien planet portion of the film was not that good or just did not in quantity justify a movie so they expanded on or added Earth. This certainly would not be the first feature to do that but many of those have done it better.
Skyline had some pretty decent special effects. Not bad by modern standards or even the of the day. Beyond Skyline was not that bad either. A little less than the original but nothing to complain about. This one looks so very cheap. The characters look closer to video game graphics then they do possible alien creatures on screen. And when they have to do something that cannot be accomplished in live action and CGI is required the switch is extremely noticeable.
I am not against low budget films, but I expect a little bit of effort put into them. You better be trying but they do not here. The direction is lousy but then again the script really is not that much. Worse they tease a possible sequel set in an alien prison which will probably be a much cheaper film if it ever happens with the missing Frank Grillo showing up. I forgot to mention his character is gone from the narrative and explained as having been captured by the aliens. Huh? These are aliens that rip brains from human bodies to put in their organic machinery. Why would they not rip his brain out too or just kill him? Why are they taking prisoners of what is obviously their equivalent of cows?
Skylines is just a bad movie. It has none of the charm or enjoyability of the previous two films. Skip it!