~ Jonathan Lockwood Huie
So I was asking myself the question today, "When will I ever learn?" I ask this because I always study reviews aggressively of any movie before I watch it, unless it's a title that I have absolutely no doubt I'll enjoy. There are so many movies out there that I always end up disagreeing with most critics on, but every now and again, I stumble upon one where I wish I had actually heeded the warnings of those paid to criticize bad filmmaking. Then I also stop and realize... that I myself am also a movie and television critic... I'm just not getting paid. So I ask the question again, "When will I ever learn?" The answer is, "I never fucking will!"
Case in point, my latest venture into the shortcomings of Hollywood. A film that was released in theaters just 3 months ago. Now I have learned that if a movie goes from theater to DVD in under 3 months...that usually means it's pretty fuckin bad. Not always... but most of the time. This one has to be one of the worst I have seen in a while. Now those who know me, know that I own a lot of damn movies and I love to watch them. When I say that a movie sucks, there is something to that. The above quote actually goes along with my critiquing of this movie today, because it channels a certain type of film that, I am sorry to say, is now being milked to fucking death!
The movie is called Life. Now when most people hear that title, they think of the mid '90's comedy with Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence set at a prison camp, but this is far from that. This movie is not funny, however I did feel like I was in a prison, and just like in the above quote, I feel that this film's writer and director were also in a prison... of obligation. They felt obligated to continue catering to the vast group, myself included, that just love apocalyptic style movies. The problem is that you can only take one idea so far. Eventually the storyline, the one-liners, and even the aliens themselves... become too cliché. To sum it up, you will milk it to death!
This movie is set in Space, more specifically, just beyond our atmosphere at the International Space Station, orbiting the Earth. As the story begins, a group of astronauts are returning to the station after an 8 month exploration of the planet Mars. Now there isn't much explanation into what's really happening, you kind of just have to put it together. But don't worry, you get the first half-hour to figure out the plot during the slowest 33 minutes of your fucking life. Eventually you see an organism that the group brought back from Mars, growing to life in an incubator. It seems to be some miracle of science, the organism looks almost breathtaking... and then it attacks.
Suddenly the movie has a little bit of character... but only a little. The alien itself is pretty easy to figure out. I soon compared it to that of a vampire bat, feeding off the blood of it's victims. One such poor soul has his entire body I think liquefied on the inside. This isn't explained, but more implied, and let me tell you, it was quite disturbing to watch and I will never be able to un-see it. Especially being that the actor was someone who you would not expect to see in that type of position. But in any case, the show had to go on, and I being someone who has to "see it through to the end," had to finish this abomination just out of hopes that it would properly come to fruition. It did not!
With each passing scene, I was calling every moment as if I had written the fuckin thing myself. Several times over, I was actually comparing this movie to the Alien franchise. It was boring, bland and honestly, just copied from other stories and made disturbing in its own, sad way. And when it ended, I knew exactly what to expect. The poor attempt to throw in a massive plot twist at the final scene, again was so cliché. To go back to such other abominations as Skyline or The 5th Wave, the story isn't finished. The alien has in short won over humanity, and you're just left there, wondering. As I always like to say... "It's kind of like masturbation, without the payoff."
Now there is actually one thing that I can say positive about the movie, and that is in relation to the alien creature itself. I was quite fascinated by it really. While I was sitting there looking at its unique design, I was finding myself comparing it to a couple of past creatures. I feel that it was a lovechild of the aliens from Independence Day and the man-eating plant from Little Shop of Horrors. This thing was fucking smart though. It knew every move they made, and it anticipated every move they were going to make, and it knew exactly how to counter-act. It was brilliant right up to the very end when it outsmarted the supposed hero and won.
But honestly, even if you still have any sort of shear, morbid desire to see this movie... just don't. I can't stress it enough... stay away! For the dear love of everything that is great in the world, stay away!
"Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results."
- Rita Mae Brown, also attributed to Einstein
- Rita Mae Brown, also attributed to Einstein