review by Bobby Blakey
With the success of so many science fiction franchises it comes as no surprise that there are more and more films being made in the genre. Sadly when someone makes a more original film they do not get the support that they deserve. The latest, Life features a great cast including Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds, Rebecca Ferguson, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ariyon Bakare, and Olga Dihovichnaya with director Daniel Espinosa in the director’s chair, but does it offer up that something special to make it stand out or will it be a film not worth discovering?
Life follows six astronauts aboard a space station studying a sample collected from Mars that could provide evidence for extraterrestrial life on the Red Planet. The crew determines that the sample contains a large, single-celled organism, the first example of life beyond Earth, but things aren't always what they seem. As the crew begins to conduct research, and their methods end up having unintended consequences, the life form proves more intelligent than anyone ever expected. This is one of those movies that I was really looking forward to from the trailers and this great cast and while I did enjoy the film it was a bit more underwhelming than I expected. The story is pretty much the same of the original Alien film, but without the same impact. The cast all do a fine job in their roles, making for a great team to follow, but there just isn’t enough for them to do at the end of it all.
The story is pretty simple and doesn’t need a whole lot of set up, so you expect to be able to get right to it complete with a pretty cool ongoing shot that showcases the crew at work and sets the tone to what they do there. This makes for a great setup and had me ready to dive right in and it did just that using a slow burn to let the alien evolve, but never to much more than something average. Obviously I will not spoil who does or does not survive this ordeal, but you can imagine that things are not going to go well when there is a new lifeform on board a vessel like this. There are some great moments here and the evolution of the alien is pretty cool, but it never fully realizes to something all that memorable. The kills in the film are not that memorable either and really bummed me out that the intensity that this film should have had just wasn’t there.
Even the ending although great was predictable and left me with a more “I knew it” feeling instead of the big twist I think it was going for. If you do not figure it out then you will likely enjoy it a lot more, but by the time it was all over I just felt I had seen it all before and never got the intense level of space peril that it should have delivered.