In Which, I Fix Skyline’s Ending

Saw Skyline.   It’s a fun movie with some very cool aliens and great action.  Sadly, it’s ending is stupid.  Or rather, it’s non-ending.  I get that everything is about franchises and sequels at this point, but there’s a difference between leaving room for a sequel and refusing to end your story at a satisfying point.  And Skyline is just another of a long line of disappointing films / books that don’t know how to do that.

Fortunately for you, I’m a professional novelologist, and I’m here to help.

Skyline isn’t weak because of how it ends.  It’s weak because it ends at the wrong point.  It ends halfway through a scene rather than at a satisfying conclusion that allows the audience to feel as if they’ve seen enough of the story to be happy and still be eager to see more of it.  Which is why I’m going to fix that.

Naturally, this entails a SPOILER ALERT.  If you want to be surprised by Skyline, go see it or wait for it on DVD or whatever.  And when you’re done, come to me for the rest of the story.

Ready?  Okay, here we go.

Jared, the alien warrior with the human brain, battles his way off the alien spaceship.  With his pregnant wife in tow, he manages to escape to the city below.  Of course, the invaders give chase and there’s an exciting fight through the city streets.  Inevitably, Jared is cornered and as he and his wife stare down the aliens come to terminate them, it looks like the end.

It’s then that a second alien with human consciousness appears and teams up with our heroes to beat back the bad guys.  Of course, if there is one alien warrior posssessed by its human mind, there are others.  And so the new hybrid leads our protagonists to a small gathering of various human alien heroes (along with a ragtag group of human survivors) who are mad as hell and aren’t going to take it anymore.

Just then, a huuuuge invader bursts through the walls.  Jared and the hybrids charge forward.  The real battle for the future of Earth has just begun.


I like this ending because A) it leaves ample room for a sequel and B) monster fights are awesome!  It doesn’t tie everything into a neat little bow, but it lets us know that stage one of the invasion is over and that the humanity as huddling victims is done.  It’s time to fight.

So there.  Problem solved.  And I won’t even charge the producers of Skyline a cent for fixing their movie.  Because I’m cool like that.

Fighting the good fight, Writing the good write,


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  1. Posted November 14, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    I would like to rewrite the entire horrible film. More so, the Strauss Brother should NEVER be allowed to make another film.

    • A. Lee Martinez
      Posted November 14, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      I don’t see how the film is horrible. It is competently directed and acted and the writing isn’t groundbreaking, but it gets the job done. Good FX. I don’t know. I know it’s apparently standard procedure to knock this kind of blockbuster sci fi, but I don’t see why.

      It’s not a perfect film, but it’s exactly what it said it would be, a story of people facing an alien invasion. I can see not liking it, but I don’t see why anyone should hate it.

  2. Posted November 14, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    You’re being too nice. I don’t usually blast the work or should I say “lack of effort” by other writers, but Skyline was an epic fail. Movies, as well as novels, are supposed to be written in a 3-act structure. The transitions were hardly noticeable and the story was just plain boring with most of the story taking place inside the appartment building. There also wasn’t a clear explanation as to why Jared reacted differently to the Aliens than the others. And the ending was a culmination to a disaster within a disaster movie. I’m a big fan of Alien movies, but I should’ve guessed that this would’ve been a disappointment due to 1) There was no advance screening for the critics 2)There weren’t any known movie stars in the movie.

    • A. Lee Martinez
      Posted November 14, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      And if I may so so, I think you’re being too harsh. I feel like your complaints feel like “writer” complaints. I don’t care if it has a 3 act structure if it entertains me. I don’t care if it takes place in a single location. And I don’t really need a thorough explanation for why our hero is unique because it was clearly foreshadowed that his reaction was unique.

      I definitely don’t agree with the advanced screening rule and I couldn’t give a damn about starpower. I go to a movie like this to watch aliens wreak havoc, and the movie has that.

      Not that I’m suggesting you should like the movie. It’s a movie. If it doesn’t work for you, it doesnt’ work. But for me it was fun and would’ve been pretty good if it’d just had a stronger ending.

  3. Posted November 14, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Skyline is an example of what’s wrong in the movie/publishing industry, where struggling quality authors are passed over by so-called professionals and forced out of the loop to make way for authors/writers who put out such dribble. It’s a disgrace and I hope that moviegoers pass this film and make it bomb. Which should serve the Strauss Bros right.

    • A. Lee Martinez
      Posted November 14, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      How is this dribble? It’s a simple adventure film. There’s nothing wrong with the genre, in my opinion. But maybe I’m just out of touch. It seems like there’s a cultural hostility to these types of films, and maybe that’s just the changing of the guard, a transition point that I missed.

      Again, I don’t think it’s strange to dislike the film. But to hate it when it is at the most unexceptional is weird to me.

      • Posted December 2, 2010 at 2:16 am | Permalink

        What I realized is that the movie tried hard to focus on the Alien Invasion from the POV of the young men and women in the appartment. Fine. The problem is that we hardly knew anything about them throughout the movie to actually care about them. For example, what do they do for a living? Are they professionals in some capacity or are they all trust fund babies. Secondly, if you want to have an Alien Invasion, fine. But don’t bore the audience to death with a whole bunch of scenes that don’t move the movie forward. The writers clearly don’t have an idea of how to make proper transitions from one act to the next, and have poor, non-identifiable turning points.
        Don’t get me started on the ending. After everything, we still don’t know WHY one of the characters was able to have a certain resistance to the Aliens.

  4. Rippley
    Posted November 14, 2010 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    Have either of you ever watched Pandorum (Alvart, 2009)? Pandorum is a fine example of this genre–Aliens wreaking havoc, psychological thrills, twists, super ninja-like skills, etc… This movie has it all! Even star power (sorta); it has Dennis Quaid.

    If Skyline should be compared to anything, to keep us all on the same page, it should be Pandorum. Because Pandorum is recent enough for us to see where this genre has gone, and while it had a higher budget (33 million compared to 10 million) it gives us a rough idea of how well each movie presented their FX on the budget they were afforded,and also the compare/contrast of each storyline shows the weakness of the other.

    Watch Pandorum. We’ll talk. I think Skyline was crap when compared to other films in the same realm.

    • A. Lee Martinez
      Posted November 15, 2010 at 2:33 am | Permalink

      I have seen Pandorum, and I liked it quite a bit. I don’t really think Skyline is the same genre though, aside from broad dark sci fi adventure.

      Personally, I find comparison to be a dangerous thing. I realize that everything is relative, but you can fall into a dangerous trap then because while I enjoyed Skyline, it doesn’t compare to my favorite films. Maybe it would be unfair to compare it to The Incredibles, but why not? Both involve giant robot fights, for example.

      I’m not suggesting that we should avoid comparisons. I’m just saying that they can lead to unfair judgments. If Skyline was supposed to be the greatest science fiction adventure of our time then, yeah, it would definitely be a failure. But as a film that entertained me, it succeeded. Whether or not it entertained me as well as the films I’ve loved or films I’ve hated seems almost irrelevant.

      For example, while I enjoyed Pandorum and felt the ending was indeed much stronger, I didn’t like the mutants nearly as much in that film as the giant alien robots in Skyline. So do I subtract a point for that? This has less to do with the quality of the FX and more to do with my love of all things kaiju.

      Comparisons are fine, but they are never quite as objective as we would like to believe. And in any case, it’s a bit unfair at times. But maybe that’s just the way I look at it. The Mighty Robot King knows the number of times I’ve had to suffer from comparisons to writers, for good or ill. So I’d much rather be judged on my own merits, as much as that is possible, than by comparison, arbitrary or not.

  5. Rippley
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 9:17 am | Permalink


  6. J
    Posted November 19, 2010 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    I liked this movie. I imagined that all the people getting sucked up and having their brains removed were smarmy movie critics.

  7. Travis
    Posted November 20, 2010 at 1:23 am | Permalink

    The fx where incredible, and i liked the design of the aliens. Truthfully with this script and the acting this should have been a movie that went straight to dvd. Truthfully i enjoyed your ending but it seems the movie should have ended when the couple kissed and where taken up to the ship. It seems like everything after that was just some dribble thrown together as an afterthought. Gotta sell those action figures right.

  8. Winston
    Posted November 20, 2010 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    Martinez thanks for the rewrite on the ending… yours is definitely better :0). Maybe you should work with those guys on the sequel. BTW, I liked the movie too…not a spectacular movie but definitely not run-o-the-mill.

  9. Posted November 22, 2010 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    I agree about the comparison issue. I think each movie/story should be judged on it’s own merits for the most part.

    I have been wanting to see Skyline and I will when it comes to DVD.

    For the longest time, I avoided watching Cloverfield because I let all the hard criticism of the movie stand in my way. Finally it occurred to me that I don’t usually take other people’s reviews for other movies, so I borrowed it.

    to be honest, I liked Cloverfield. Do I think it was the best movie ever, no. but it doesn’t have to be for me. As long as it’s a good story and a decent movie, that’s fine by me.

    I plan to see Skyline for the same reasons. When every wannabe psuedo-intellectual movie reviewer is done hating on it, I will judge it on it’s own and often find it’s pretty good.

    • Posted December 2, 2010 at 2:25 am | Permalink

      Cloverfield was a decent movie. I still had some questions at the end of the movie, such as “Where did the monster come from?” but it was well done, and it gave me the creeps even after I left the cinema.

  10. Neal
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Skyline was weak. I think the authors were trying to go metaphysical with the brains. We know brains dont glow so were they trying to say that the aliens were harvesting souls and thats where they are located? A certain amount of realism should be expected in a Sci-Fi. The ending is neat but just dies because the men who made it were too lazy to give us answers. Ill probably never watch one directed by these jack offs ever again. The only cool part is the stealth bomber.

  11. David Workman
    Posted March 31, 2011 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Ok first of all the movie was kinda bad, and i mean from watching it, it could have been a great movie, i do have some questions, first of all like it was mentioned earlier by someone els’s post, how come after looking into the light jared get strong when hes angry, you know where he picks the guy up by the throat with one hand. Number 2 if that was the case, couldnt he have gotten mad, or had someone make him mad and at least have had a fighting chance, and number three, im not 100% sure if they showed it or not, but when they pulled his brain out, wasnt it blue, then all of a sudden it becomes red, and number 4 why so far was it only jarred that was able to control “his” creature, and no one else. Those are just some of the questions i have, anyone have any answers? Maybe?

  12. Lee
    Posted April 4, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    I liked this movie. I’ve seen a lot of criticism of it, but honestly it was an alien invasion, special effects move. I don’t understand what people expected. This was not “Pride and Prejudice. With aliens.”

    I did think the ending was a little abrupt. But I didn’t really have a problem with the basic idea of Jarred gaining some kind of immunity/strength from multiple exposures to the blue light. As to why this happened, well, first we’d need to understand what the blue light was and that’s never explained. No more so than how Star Trek transporters really work anyway.

    All in all, I enjoyed it. I’d watch part 2, though I doubt it will ever be made now.

  13. tony
    Posted May 19, 2014 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    I love sci-fi. Skyline was a terrible movie with one of the worst endings ever. Not only was it not Pride and Prejudice with aliens, it wasn’t even Porky’s with aliens.

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  1. […] more? Whip up some alien-apocalypse-proof trail mix and then check out A. Lee Martinez’ most recent post, in which he writes the ending of SKLYINE so you and I don’t have […]

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