The movie “Life” is a one dimensional disaster story. The plot involves a team of astronauts on the International Space Station retrieving an automated probe which contains the first samples from the Martian surface. All too predictably they find life hibernating between the grains of sand and unleash the usual unexpected monster.
But this is not in itself the disaster. Rather the real disaster is self inflicted as the hapless crew stumbles from stupid mistake to insanely stupid mistake and then back again in a seemingly never ending cycle. Their only guiding principle seems to be a complete disregard for discipline and protocol in favor of acting on knee jerk emotional impulses to help fellow crew members. The all too likely result of all this, of course, is nothing less than the total extinction of life on earth. It is almost as if NASA decided to send only genetically pure Democrats into space unburdened by a single Republican gene.
A case in point is the supposedly most expensive containment lab ever built, not being able to contain anything, because the crew had left all the containment ports open and could only close them slowly, when the need for speed arose, one at a time
Indeed, the only display of real intelligence comes from the monster who seems to have a better grasp of human technology than that of the well-trained highly-selected astronauts. By means not entirely clear, the monster limits communications with ground controllers to a single desperate distress call with a code indicating an uncorrectable contamination. The monster is also smart enough to somehow disable all onboard radios as well.
The audience is left hanging on the hope that some intelligent maneuver, however risky, might gain some measly advantage over the beast. But alas, the crew has trouble executing even normally routine procedures. Not to put too fine a point on it, but one of the last dumb ironies is the secret reprogramming of all escape pods to shoot into space rather than returning to Earth; a stratagem the wise monster quickly divines and overcomes by tricking the last effective survivor to switch to manual control.
On the other hand, the female cast was unusually attractive, the depiction of life on the International Space Station was well done, and the monster was reasonably well rendered with sufficient, but not otherwise notably scary, menace.
The final disaster sequences with catastrophic consequences for mankind do not make for an altogether happy ending. And thus I could not happily recommend experiencing it.