Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Half Day Leave, Alaka and Skyline

Skyline? Is that even a movie? When did they release it?
Don't try to stress your brain. This was not on my list too. It's my one of those uncalled-for half day leaves which led me to watch this movie.

Sure I don't need any particular reason to take a half day leave as such, but that day there was a genuine reason. I took half day leave for some work in collector's office. I got the required documents from there and submitted in Hyundai showroom. (the collector's office part wasn't as easy as to conclude in one sentence, just out of scope of this post, some other time maybe) .

The day was 15th Nov. 2010 as per my theater visits log, (yeah, I still keep that) about 12 noon and I had got 2 extra hours. What are the odds that the showroom is near Alaka. So the choice was obvious. Anyway I didn't have any better option, did I? I decided to peek into Alaka to see if I would get lucky. I saw Skyline's poster, "Huh, alien movie.. Is their anything left in this topic? what a waste of resources" I thought. But since it was the "only" option I was having, I bought a balcony ticket for Rs. 45, Pepsi and popcorn and went inside the hall well before the start time.

There is something nostalgic about Alaka. The cinema-hall reminds me of my childhood. It was one of the few halls in city which used to show English movies. As a sci-fi movie enthusiast, that was like Mecca[1] for me and many teenagers of Pune. I saw Independence day, Godzilla, Harry Potter, Day after Tomorrow, Titanic and many other sci-fi flicks here.
Now the theater has changed, whatever has left is just ruins of the lively past. I still go there, most of the times alone. They still show English movies. Substandard audio system, Gutaka chewer public, rodents running from the aisles, and the snacks corner doesn't have those veg samosas anymore. Well it's not like management is not doing anything at all to improve. The last time I visited, I could see that strict measures had been taken to keep the rodents away-The cinema-hall was guarded by a clowder[2]. I am not making that up, cute cuddly cats rub against your feet and startle you. You gotta feel the effect when you are immersed in screen watching a ghastly alien figure. :)

Yes, so skyline.. huh.. You know there are times in your life when you just want to quit.. leaving the movie in-between. You don't care what would happen to the cast of the movie. You just feel sorry for the money and time you've spent for the movie. The frustration amplifies if you are the one who persuaded your friends to watch the movie. Just before the interval I started to feel that.

Nothing was happening on screen. Some bunch of people scared of alien invasion and their uninteresting personal lives presented in irritating bits and pieces. Yawn.. no recognizable face among them. The job of imagining alien invasion was left on viewers till interval. I had to spend time somewhere, so I decided to take the crap and test my patience till the end. I wikied about the movie and found that the budget was 10 million, which did nothing but lowered my expectations from next hour.

After the interval same chase and scare thing started. The plot was like - 'some people are trapped inside an apartment and there are alien ships outside tracking the people and killing them. These few people inside the apartment cannot conceive whatever happening outside, as communication is collapsed. All they can see through their windows and binoculars is that the Alien ships are busy beating the crap out of the USAF planes. They decide to quit the apartment and travel to the port where they can escape the city taking the sea route. They take two cars from the parking lot and just when one car makes it on road.. BAM.. it gets crushed under the foot of a giant alien' That was the first time I could see some movement in the film. Well after that some chases, some fights with big aliens, small aliens, casualties among the group, sacrifice from the hero for his love, in short the movie became alive and redeemed itself quite well.

The noticeable thing was that despite of its low budget the CGI was really good. The story had some unconventional ending and clearly suggested to return with a second part (hope is a bitch! :) ). I was glad that my money wasn't wasted at last.
Later that day when I searched about the movie, I came to know that the makers might have to face lawsuit. The reason was Sony had spotted that the Computer generated imagery in the movie was strikingly similar to what they were using for production of Battle: LA. They were saying that the firm which was given the resources to render images for Battle: LA had used the same for this movie too. That was interesting. I don't know if it's true or not, but surely I was thinking that 10 million budget couldn't be enough for the kind of photo realistic effect the movie contained.

Anyway.. that was my day with Skyline.. Today is 10th July 2011. I saw Transformers 3 last week. Some scenes in it was similar to Skyline and I couldn't help but to yawn again.


[1] Is it Grandiose? You are not a Puneite. :)
[2] Thanks to Sheldon Cooper of TBBT for the word. S04E03.

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