New Sci-Fi Releases: Fighting the Sky (2018) - Reviewed

If you knew extra terrestrials had previously come to earth, and that their return was imminent, how would you react?  Would you be excited?  Scared?  Would you find comfort in the fact that people would see that you were right when they had mocked you in the past?  In case you couldn't guess based off the title, Fighting the Sky is an alien invasion movie.  In this particular alien invasion film, strange noises have been echoing around the world and Lorraine, a ufologist, who along with a team of her colleagues embark on an expedition in an attempt to locate the source of these otherworldly sounds.  

Fighting the Sky is a film that attempts to do, or be, many different things at once.  Early on, the film introduces us to Lorraine, our main protagonist, and her various relationships with friends, family, and even what appears to be an ex-boyfriend.  The ex-boyfriend relationship in general was interesting namely because not only did the two actors not exude any sort of chemistry between each other, but also because their two characters appeared to be such opposite types of people that the idea that they could have previously been in a relationship was beyond believability.  Unfortunately, this ends up being one of the main issues (among several) that plague this film.  None of the characters in the film come off as real people.  Even in the most outlandish crazy stories imaginable, one of the core tenets is in creating realistic characters that you can identify with.  Rather than doing this, Fighting the Sky features a cast of caricatures that exist in an attempt to entertain the audience, perhaps?  

In addition to unrealistic characters are unrealistic situations.  Yes, I know an alien invasion in itself is an unrealistic situation.  However, that doesn't mean that you cannot have authentic human interactions within this scenario.  For any film, you need to create a world with its own set of rules that you must abide by, and even alien invasion films have to feature generally normal behavior.  The combination of goofy caricatures and ridiculous situations are obvious proof of a poorly written script.  It became evident while watching this film that there was no effort put into crafting a believable story with believable characters.  Instead, it appeared that the filmmakers preferred to make a B monster movie that featured some cool camerawork.  

As I was watching this film, I asked myself if I was just being biased because this is a low budget indie monster movie.  Perhaps I'm so used to watching studio films featuring professional actors and high production value that I'm unfairly maligning the work of amateur filmmakers.  After some pondering, I realized that no, that's not true at all.  I've been exposed to all sorts of films, from the smallest indies, to the biggest tent pole spectacles ever conceived.  It doesn't take fancy cameras or visual effects to make a great film.  Those are merely tools that can add to the story.  This film's issues begin at the script-writing phase and transcend to every other aspect.  The characters, scenarios, CGI, film score, etc are all clearly evident of lazy, amateur filmmaking that hold no redeeming value.  I'm sure everyone had fun making this film, but it's a shame thinking of the wasted potential with Fighting the Sky.  This is a period in cinema where everyone complains of an over-dependence on visual effects and spectacle.  This should be seen as a call to arms for independent filmmakers to rise up and craft original rich stories, the likes of which haven't been seen before.  Unfortunately, Fighting the Sky isn't one of them.

--Derek Miranda