My recent movie queue has filled up with films that feature nature as a key character in furthering the plot:
The nature in Life is a speck of Mars dust gone amok – maybe it’s on a separate planet for a reason??? While I agreed 100% with Wired’s review of Life as essentially an Alien rip-off, I enjoyed it nonetheless. After all, the Alien franchise is one of my favorites. At the very least, the real-life teams prepping for a trip to Mars can use Life as a catalog of what not to do for just about everything – don’t jab your finger at an unknown organism, don’t leave a sharp object in the near vicinity of same unknown organism, don’t ever open the door when unknown and now clearly life-threatening organism is on the loose, etc. I did appreciate the diversity in casting.
Kong: Skull Island featured nature thrown out of balance, in this case by humans threatening Kong and not realizing Kong was, as scary as he seemed, the one thing keeping in check something even scarier. I want a separate movie with those lizard monsters! Like Life, Kong: Skull Island is the kind of movie I would like regardless – I love monster movies – but it’s a good movie even for non-monster lovers. Who doesn’t appreciate Samuel L. Jackson playing yet another character going off the rails?
In my Amazon queue, I happened to watch The Bay, Nature’s Grave and Dark Harbor in close succession, with nature as nemesis in the form of parasites, a hard-to-kill sea cow and other Australian jungle creatures and a poisonous purple mushroom, respectively. Just as with Life and Kong: Skull Island, the real problems were man-made but nature just exaggerated it all. My favorite was The Bay, though you have to look past the budget filmmaking. I can’t recommend either Nature’s Grace or Dark Harbor in good conscience except as a curiosity – Nature’s Grace features Jim Caviezel playing a decidedly un-Jesus like character; and Dark Harbor features a young Norman Reedus (yes, Daryl from The Walking Dead) and the late, great Alan Rickman.