Movie Review: Life

Jean-Paul’s rating: 2/5 stars

Bottom Line: Let’s watch super-intelligent scientists make super-stupid choices.  I wish this movie would die.

“Life” starts with incredibly bad science and works its way down from there.  A probe coming back from Mars with soil samples has malfunctioned and is spinning out of control towards the International Space Station where it was supposed to dock.  The only correct solution to this problem is to move the station out of the way and feel bad about the destruction of some, possibly, really good science.  That’s not the direction they decide to go because there’s a movie going on here and that would make it a very short movie.  Instead, they decide to send an astronaut outside the station and have him use the station’s claw arm to play catch with Mars’ 10,000+ miles per hour fastball.  And they catch it.  Of course.  This scene does not further the  plot in the least.  It’s only value is to warn science nerds that this movie is going to more resemble Trump Administration science than reality.

Despite astronomic odds, this minuscule soil sample happens to contain exactly one single celled organism.  There is life on other planets!  The world celebrates!  The organism appears to be alive but in suspended animation.  Send in our biologist, who also happens to be paraplegic.  Now, there is no way any space agency in the world is going to send a paraplegic biologist up in space to do a job that any biologist could do despite the scene where they establish that this biologist is one of a kind and is literally the only person that can do this job.  I can forgive that just because it’s kind of cool how they get into a little bit about what it would be like to be paraplegic in space.  What I can’t forgive is using his lack of use of his legs as one of the most inane plot points in movie making history.  But I digress.  This one-of-a-kind biologist then goes on to treat the ever-growing organism, which shows pretty high intelligence, like a pet with nary a bat of the eyelash from the rest of the crew.  This, despite the fact that the sole purpose of one of the scientists is to maintain “firewalls” which basically means protocols to make sure whatever life they find doesn’t escape from the quarantine zones established.  And all the time, me thinking, “Oh, they’d either freeze or kill that thing right now”, throughout.

Needless to say, the now monster escapes and runs amuck.  We are then treated to a cycle of “there it is”, “let’s stop it”, “oh, it’s got me”, “I’ll save you”, “you’re dead”, “run away”, all the while the biologist lamenting on how this super-intelligent, highly adaptive predator is only killing because it has to, despite all evidence the thing leaves behind to the contrary.  We are then treated to a “final firewall”, that for some reason was kept completely secret from all but the one “firewall” crew member, part of whose fulfillment entails a manned Soyuz capsule when an unmanned one would have easily performed the same function.  Then there’s a bit of a twist and, mercifully, the credits.

If you can throw away science and common sense, this might actually be a good horror film.  I, sadly, cannot.  I prefer my nonsensical horror films to contain horny teenagers at summer camp.  All teenagers make stupid mistakes.