Sunday, March 26, 2017

Life [2017]

MPAA (R)  CNS/USCCB (A-III) (2 Stars)  AVClub (B)  Fr. Dennis (1 1/2 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (J. Mulderig) review
Los Angeles Times (K. Turan) review (K. Turan) review
AVClub (A.A. Dowd) review

Life [2017] (directed by Daniel Espinosa, screenplay by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick) is perhaps best understood as a SciFi story whose creators really didn't know what they wanted:

On the one hand, they wanted the respectability of well-made recent SciFi films with thoughtful / believable scenarios like Gravity [2013], The Martian [2015] and even Contagion [2011].  On the other hand, they invented a monster -- the AV Club's reviewer A.A. Dowd (above) calls it "A Space Octopus" -- that really deserves to be in a B-movie. 

Now don't get me wrong, I generally like / review favorably high budget fantastic stories like those Marvel Superhero Universe.  I even enjoyed -- smiled from ear-to-ear actually -- watching, mesmerized, two races of GIANT Transformer Robots SMASHING THINGS (buildings, cars, everything really) LEFT-AND- RIGHT while THEY BEAT the daylights out of EACH OTHER on-and-all-over the streets of Chicago in Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon [2011]

But this film didn't seem to fit in any of the these three SciFi universes: the respectable / believable if generally Dystopic kind; the "attack of the race of intelligent lobsters" low-budget B-movie kind, or the GIANT high-budget Super Hero / Super Monster / Super Villain kind.

So what's the film about?  Well, researchers on the International Space Station successfully capture a sample-return pod arriving to Mars, and begin analyzing the sample for evidence of life.  Well, something starts to grow.  Initially it seems to be growing like a colony of single celled organisms but, to the researchers horror, it coalesces into what becomes a very smart (and very hungry) multi-apendaged "space-octopus" -- everyone of its cells is BOTH a muscle and a nerve cell ...

Well, needless to say ... much ensues ...

 I would have settled for "a space virus" ;-) ... The space octopus proved just weird if, I suppose, "really really frightening."

Anyway, it just seems that the creators of this film really couldn't settle on the monster that they wanted to present. So ... sigh ... not exactly a "must see"

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