Critics hate it, yes HATE it. Yet audiences love it, and Skyline recovered its $10 million budget in one weekend. Studios, producers and directors take note, this B-movie send up of Cloverfield is doing great guns at the box office with no help from people “in the know.”
Reviews are blistering:
“A cut-and-paste monster mash with no business whatever in a multiplex.” – Daily Mirror
“Chintzy CGI-laden chaos sandwiched between lengthy stretches of tedious, amateurish dramatic filler...a cheapy, painfully uneventful snoozer.” – Sci-Fi Movie Page
“Skyline is a spasmodic and incoherent shambles hampered by an astoundingly stupid screenplay. Burdened also by unspeakably bad Sci Fi Channel dialogue and dreadful acting, it culminates in a risible finish that, incredibly, seems to be setting up a sequel.” - The Hollywood Reporter
“Behold: it's Indepen-dunce Day.” - News of the World
… and on and on and on. Despite all of that blowback, audiences give it a 75% approval rating at RottenTomatoes.com ... what?
Never underestimate the phenomena of a good bad movie. With editing effects on a continual march forward, producers race to produce ultra-slick packages with visual sophistication. And even though Skyline uses special effects (with heavy ridicule from the reviewing community), it is not the main factor in its success. This alien/sci-fi genre (along with goofball comedies) lends itself to cheesy plots, cringe inducing dialogue and overwrought special effects, which audiences will lap up like a dog on a spilt milk shake ... if done "well". It is an elusive criteria at best.
First and foremost, movies are entertainment. Yes, periodically a Van Gogh or Rembrandt will slip through in a sea of comic strips. But amongst those comic strips, you have your bad bad movies (MacGruber) and your good bad movies (Paranormal Activity) and it is the business of people who distribute films to know the difference.
Theater releases are in danger of being overrun by slick corporate projects, leaving no room for quirky, maybe less than polished, but nevertheless entertaining and inventive films, and that would be mean a loss for the movie industry.