The first thing I thought of when I saw this new trailer for the Strause Brothers' new alien invasion thriller Skylinewas The Forgotten, 2004's (terrific) feature-length X-Files episode directed by (the underrated) Joseph Ruben.
This may seem strange, since Skyline -- from the directors of Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem -- looks to be a slam-bang, effects-heavy action flick (albeit one on a budget), as opposed to the creepy, contemplative mood set by Ruben in The Forgotten. I thought of The Forgotten for this reason: the two share a delightfully literal view of alien abduction. They will have none of the usual being spirited away by spectral nighttime visitations. No: when you get abducted in these movies, you get sucked into the sky by a giant vacuum cleaner. Go big or go home.
There is never a shortage of alien invasion movies, and I cheerfully watch all of them -- it's one of my favorite genres. I dig the ones that go the suspense route (Body Snatchers, Signs, Dreamcatcher), horror (Village of the Damned, The Faculty, The Thing), comedy (Mars Attacks!, Evolution), or action (District 9, Predator). But my heart is with the movies that "go big" -- the ones that are really overawed by the idea of interplanetary invaders. This, I think, is why I love Spielberg's War of the Worlds so much: when that enormous tripod emerged from under the asphalt to the abject, frozen horror of hundreds of onlookers, I felt like Spielberg had captured the majesty of the moment (as he likewise did, in a different way, decades ago in Close Encounters). I also feel that way about Contact ("they should have sent a poet"). Even Independence Day, though it's incredibly stupid, had me with that awesome image of the flying saucer dwarfing Washington, DC. Every alien invasion movie needs that sort of grand gesture, y'know?
So, anyway, Skyline. I love the idea of extraterrestrials coming to Earth and swallowing us all. It's literal, obvious, huge, and wonderful. Aliens vs. Predator isn't too inspiring a directorial debut, but I wonder if this follow up might earn a spot in the alien invasion canon. What do you think?