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Monday, June 27, 2011

Fallen Skies

I watched the premier of ‘Falling Skies’. It takes a lot to bust me out of a viewing I’ve been looking forward to, but the writers for Skies did it. There were so many holes in the premise of alien invaders with incredibly advanced weaponry having to root out the little human ants it was pretty tough to watch without laughing. Although I did pick up on the hint questioning why the aliens were six-legged and their robots were two-legged as a revelation for future use, the producers sure left a lot of gaping holes to be filled in.

One drama subplot the show tried to cash in on was if faced with an alien invasion there will be criminal human gangs stupid enough to prey on their fellow humans rather than either live and let live or fight with them. I groaned out loud watching that bit of lunacy. No amount of justification by the gang leader made that annoying Hollywood theory believable. I recognize enough threads from the Sci Fi pathos movie ‘The Road’ and ‘Independence Day’ to see an ongoing amalgamation forming of human depravity contrasted with some touchy feely human nature opera.

Naturally, in Skies, every character although having lived through the obliteration of their world, still jumps into clichéd outrage at each encounter placing one of them in danger. One really laughable moment was when a squad went to recon an armory and played fetch with their dog to lure the gigantic alien robot out before giving away their positions in a sudden panic over the dog’s welfare… really? Here are a few behavioral rules of combat when being hunted to extinction. We don’t eat each other until absolutely necessary. We eat them because they probably taste like chicken. At the start of each small recon or mission we write each other off because if you screw up, you die or get ‘harnessed’ to be a zombie alien slave. There will be no rescue. We don’t move in huge dramatic groups down the main roads in broad daylight – it makes for great snapshots of humanity on the brink, but is so pathetically stupid the humans look like they deserve to be exterminated. The first logical weapons to forage with an enemy nothing short of a head shot kills are all the fifty caliber sniper rifles you can lay hands on – they have an easy range of a mile and will pulp the alien’s head without giving away your position. It may be great Hollywood fodder to spray useless bandoliers of ammo at the creatures with no effect, but for God’s sake, try clicking off the full auto and aiming the damn rifle… you morons.

Anyway, I’m sure the great Spielberg will plug all these plot holes up with ET cement, but until then I’m afraid this series is more comedy than drama. It was entertaining enough in a cringing sort of way. I’ll watch the follow-up tonight I have saved and see how it’s going. I like the blonde woman, former criminal gang member. She’s a killer. When she offed her former captors/partners in cold blood, she moved way up over all other posturing nitwits on the character list. For one thing, she hits what she aims at.  :)


Charles Gramlich said...

I liked it better than you did, although there was definitely a bit too much borrowing. I kind of like the main character though. His oldest son is pretty cliche but that boy's girlfriend is all right. I too didn't think much of the "outlaw" guy, and this week he becomes a "cook." It was pretty clearly a nod to V and him losing his crew of evildoers was a bit too easy. Still, maybe I'm just too hungry for something in the genre so I will watch a few more episodes.

BernardL said...

I plan on watching more, Charles. As you point out, just adding up the number of borrowed cliches and copied ideas will be entertaining. :)

The son's outraged 'hold me back... hold me back' act is going to get real old fast. They will either have to make him as bad as he thinks he is or shut him up. He ended up being the comic relief in the premier. When ever they needed a character to portray the dopiest course of action, the son launched to illustrate it. :)

Jordan Summers said...

You are stronger than I am. I had to give up. I even deleted the follow up episode it had taped because I knew I couldn't sit through it.

Here was my main question, how could they have checked EVERY house in that town for food and weapons? They were going for things like grocery stores and armories, which was fine, but have they really checked EVERY house? Was it really safer to sleep in big groups rather than spread out in various houses in different neighborhoods? You cannot tell me that those aliens were going through every house every night.

Considering how much I love bad monster movies, this was just sad.

BernardL said...

Worse than that, Jordan, was the gaping plot hole in which the aliens can zap them with crater making bombs but decide to play entrapment games and shoot it out with the puny humans. :)

If Spielberg doesn't seal up that hole along with the absolute idiocy of the puny humans being able to not only all sleep in a bunch, but also trek down the road together in broad daylight, I'm afraid Skies will end up an unintentional comedy.

raine said...

Thank you!!

I had such hopes for this. Dashed, all dashed.
Agree with all your points.
My biggest problem, though, seemed to be with the too-soft approach. A revolutionary underground battling a conquering force seemed like just my speed. Dashed.
I don't mind a bit of sentiment. Kids? Check. Broken families? Check. But gimme the violence, the heartbreak, the loss, the nobility--THEN you can expect the sentimental reaction.

As I said elsewhere--it was like watching the Earth being invaded by the Hallmark channel, not an alien force.

BernardL said...

'As I said elsewhere--it was like watching the Earth being invaded by the Hallmark channel, not an alien force.'

Yep, Raine, and they won. :) Some of the adults were so annoying I began rooting for the aliens. The aliens smart bomb the exact spot where they set off some flares, wiping out the entire criminal gang, but they can't find hundreds of the puny humans on the road in the sunshine... huh? Boy... the commercials sure looked good though. :)