Once again, like Collide, the sum of its parts does not make a movie whole. This film suffered with the casting of Ryan Reynolds, not because he didn’t steal the movie, which he did, but because again, you would rather be watching the Deadpool sequel (which is not out yet). This film tried to be Alien but the little bad guy, Calvin the Martian, was simply not all that. The alien in Alien had more horror packed in its pinky than all of Calvin’s ever shape shifting body. Actually Calvin had a lot of similarities to the heptapod aliens, Abbot and Costello, in Arrival, with his spongy physique and springy arms. Which leaves me to ask, what’s with all the cephalopod aliens all of a sudden? The visual effects designers must find them easy to create and animate. Though it is kind of a cool throwback to the legends of giant squids attacking old schooners out on the wild high seas.
I actually thought the acting was solid. Except for Jake Gyllenhaal who must think we won’t notice he just did Donnie Darko in space. The set design was well done, but nothing we have never seen before. Perhaps the Passengers set surpasses it. Seamus McGarvey, a genius Cinematographer who has done everything from High Fidelity to The Accountant is outstanding as usual. For me this movie meets our $5 threshold just for that. But in general, nothing here is anything that you haven’t seen before or you can’t see coming a mile away. And I mean a mile away. It seemed to take forever to unravel. ACT III really should have been preceded by a pop-corn / hooch break.
I would say it was a totally forgettable film. Except that it wasn’t. There were some good acting moments that did elicit existential angst. The film was able to sustain tension well. D in fact, did jump a few times. We should quantify those reactions and start charting the “D Scale”. Also, I was creeped out enough to start seeing Calvin in all sorts of places. Even the nose blowing emoji in my text message app. So that should count for something.