REview: Life (2017) | C-Grade Movie with A-List Actors, Direction and Production Design

Daniel Espinosa’s Life is a curious movie, an anomaly, in fact. It’s probably one of the first movies I can recall enjoying while watching, yet really disliked when it ended.

In my review I describe it as “C-Grade Movie with A-List Actors, Direction and Production Design” because that’s how it feels.

Life takes a lot from more interesting movies, such as The Black Hole (1979), Species (1995) and Prometheus (2012) and does not very much with it though what’s so infuriating is that, when all is said and done, it amounted to emotional torture porn.

The movie takes five astronauts, puts them in a no-win situation and – for all intents and purposes – against an invincible enemy and expect people, when all is said and done, to have an enjoyable viewing experience.

Alien is probably the pinnacle of these types of films, and that creature was by no means invincible, which made it interesting to watch because I imagine that if you kept your wits about you and tread carefully, you could possibly survive.

With “Calvin,” as the creature is called in Life, there’s no hope.

“Calvin”

The monster makes no sense – which, visually speaking, was taken from Prometheus – because it’s too intelligent, an idea which I think confused the movie’s writers (Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick – Zombieland (2009), Zombieland: Double Tap (2019), Deadpool (2016), Deadpool 2 (2018).

They seem to think that because something is “intelligent” means that whomever or whatever is somehow uber-capable, and so adaptable that that it almost amounts to a sixth sense.

That is nonsense. What the movie’s writers don’t seem to understand is that because one is “intelligent” doesn’t make a person/thing a tactical genius, especially when placed in an unfamiliar environment.

Intelligence is less about how “smart” you are than how accurately you can navigate situations and adapt.

But Calvin acts as if it had a hand – or should I say a tentacle – in building the ISS (International Space Station), so knowing of its ins and outs he happened to be.

It’s a frustrating movie, that gets worse toward the end when the cynicism comes at viewers head-on, like a meteor breaking the atmosphere.

There’s also no moral that I can see (that space is a dangerous place goes without saying) more so than “Let’s kill some astronauts!”

All the actors, Jake Gylenhaal and Ryan Reynolds being the most recognizable, act as if they’re in a much better movie.

And I wish that they were. I really do.

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