Archetypes: Film: Review: ‘Life’ (2017)

Columbia Pictures

Columbia Pictures

Life will out. As a viable entity, it has no choice except – as we known from the story of the scorpion and the frog – to survive by acting according to its nature.

That’s not good news for the six-member crew of an international space station in Life, directed by Daniel Espinosa, whose mission is to bring back to earth the first evidence of extraterrestrial life on Mars. The team is a friendly loyal bunch of scientific, biological and medical experts: David (Jake Gyllenhaal), Miranda (Rebecca Ferguson), Rory (Ryan Reynolds), Kat (Olga Dihovichnaya), Sho (Hiroyuki Sanada) and Hugh (Ariyon Bakare).

At first the life form appears inert but, through the care and seeming affection of Hugh, the entity – which has been named Calvin – thrives, growing into a compact structural network which knows no division of labor. In other words, each cell of this creature is capable of all life functions. When it gets violently uppity, one concerned character says, “How smart is this thing?” You have no idea.

Hugh is on target when he notes that Cal doesn’t hate them, but it will kill them. His observation sets up the true battle here. First, the crew members fight for Saturnine survival through their collective science and logic, and Cal does the same with his ravenous instincts. Second, the scorpio fable pushes this story into the realm of the astrological sign. Zodiacal Scorpio is co-ruled by aggressive pro-active Mars – full of self-interest and unafraid of risk, represented by the crew’s having faced great danger to secure Cal – and Pluto. Pluto, the archetype of death, eventually envelops the space vessel, given that Cal is innately capable of Plutonian transformation through the death of others. The human deaths here are visually extraordinary.

As with many sci-fi films, heavyweight archetypes predominate. Neptunian confusion and chaos vie with Saturnine-defining protocol. Uranian humanitarianism – akin to Prometheus’ stealing fire from the gods to bring populations the benefits of what Cal can provide – vies with Plutonian destruction.

Movement, the essence of life, is a two-edged blade.

Archetype: Life. Survival.

Astrology Archetype: ♂  ♄ ♅ ♆ ♇ (Mars, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto)




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