Skyline (Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray)

Strange lights descend on the city of Los Angeles, drawing people outside like moths to a flame where an extraterrestrial force threatens to swallow the entire human population off the face of the Earth.

May 12, 2023 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

There are some films out there that just seem…uninspired. While the genre-defining films are truly the ones to see, we all know that there’ll always be others out there that just ride the coattails of those films. Skyline, in my humble opinion, is one of those. Back in 1996, audiences were wowed when Independence Day hit theaters and blew up, well, everything. The White House – gone. Empire State Building – gone. You get the idea. But hey, it worked. And it inspired dozens of other filmmakers to try their hand at the “aliens invading Earth and destroying everything” type of film. Skyline came out in 2010 and was written, directed and produced by siblings Colin and Greg Strause which I have to say – is pretty amazing. Studios didn’t offer any support and Sony even sued the brothers claiming that their effects were eerily similar to another title – Battle: Los Angeles. If imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, then there are a lot of flattered filmmakers out there.

We meet a group of unlikable folks early on led by Jarrod (Eric Balfour) and his girlfriend Elaine (Scottie Thompson) who come to the city of angels to visit well-to-do friend Terry (Donald Faison). It’s his birthday and he’s partying like it’s…2010. Terry is having an affair with Denise (Crystal Reed) who’s clearly just using him for his money. All of this, however, takes a backseat once aliens show up and start destroying things. It’s learned that the aliens are indeed out for something – brains. Yes, they need the brains of the citizens of Los Angeles to help power their ships. Logic would have anyone with half a brain scratching their heads wondering how they traveled thousands of light years to get to Earth only to steal intelligence from the most soulless place on the face of the planet. Nevertheless, that’s the plot – take it with a grain of salt.

There’s a line of dialogue from one of my favorite guilty pleasures – Summer School. In it Courtney Thorne-Smith’s character utters “…talk about shallow, I’ve stepped in deeper puddles.” I have no idea how or why I remember that, but it’s applicable here. We simply don’t care about the characters. They’re bad people. They’re fake, narcissistic and selfish. In other words, typical 20 and 30-somethings living in Los Angeles. Granted, we’re supposed to be rooting for the humans, but about halfway through I changed my point of view and started rooting for the aliens. I mean, let’s put these folks out of their misery. Skyline won’t challenge your intelligence and at 92 minutes it’s not a huge investment of your time, either. How this movie inspired two sequels is beyond me, but if you want the best of the bunch, here you go.

Video: How’s it look?

It’s been just a shade over a decade since I last saw this and I don’t recall too much about the original Blu-ray that left that much of an impression. To be sure, the new 4K image does offer a modest improvement over its 1080p counterpart. The 2.39:1 HEVC 4K image seems a bit more well-defined, colors have been improved as has detail. From a technical standpoint, it checks all the boxes and is an upgrade over Universal’s original Blu-ray.

Audio: How’s it sound?

The same DTS HD Master Audio mix found on Universal’s disc has also been included and while I’m sure some would have loved to see an Atmos track – better luck next time. There are some instances in which this track does really shine, the destruction of buildings and all the other associated things that invading aliens “do.” Vocals are pure and crisp and I found the surrounds to be a bit more active than I was originally expecting. Since it’s the same track that’s existed since this movie hit disc,  it’s not really an “improvement” per se, but it gets the job done.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Disc One (4K)

  • Audio Commentary – Directors Greg and Colin Strause give us a by-the-book commentary track, but I found it pretty engaging. Considering these guys used their own money to make the film, there’s more of a personal attachment and it’s evident in this track. Fans will love it.
  • Audio Commentary – Writer/Producer Liam O’Donnell and co-writer Joshua Cordes offer up a more bland track that pales in comparison to the energy that’s present in the above one. Go with that one instead.

Disc Two (Blu-ray)

  • Audio Commentary – Same as above.
  • Audio Commentary – Same as above.
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes – These can be viewed with or without commentary from directors Greg and Colin Strause, co-writer/producer Liam O’Donnell, and co-writer Joshua Cordes.
    • Oliver in Lobby
    • Terry and Candace in Closet
    • Jarrod and Elaine Paintings
    • Extended Cache
    • Ray Painting Party
    • Painting Scene
    • Candace and Oliver in the Kitchen”
  • Alternate Scenes – As with the deleted scenes, these can be viewed with or without commentary from directors Greg and Colin Strause, co-writer/producer Liam O’Donnell, and co-writer Joshua Cordes.
    • Candice Story
    • Oliver’s Backstory
  • Pre-Visualization – Two scenes: “Pool Escape” and “Rooftop Escape” are shown and can be viewed with or without commentary.
  • Theatrical and Teaser Trailers

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a movie that you’ve felt like you’ve seen before – look no further. While not totally uninspired and original, there’s a reason it holds a 15% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. Likely that won’t go up too much. Oddly, it did manage to inspire two sequels so some folks out there saw something in it. The new 4K disc is the best the film has ever looked and it’s chock full of supplements so for those that can’t get enough – this one’s for you.

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