‘Life’ Review: An ‘Alien’ Inspired Sci-Fi Horror That Plays It Safe

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source: Columbia Pictures

Life is a solid generic sci-fi movie that will satisfy the genre obsessed

At first glance, Sony’s new space thriller, Life, may seem like just another disposable Alien re-hash, and on the surface, you may be right. It plays like something you’ve seen before and will eventually see in May when Alien: Covenant comes out. However, even when Life doesn’t have the depth nor the craft of Ridley Scott, what it does it does pretty well.

When a team of scientists have discovered a life form on Mars and in order to study it, they must stay in space. At first, the lifeform is in hibernation and is awoken by manipulating its environment. What seems like a tiny innocent cell quickly becomes an intelligent creature that sets itself free and the people on board’s lives might be in danger.

Life‘s greatest strength is the development of the alien itself. Seeing this lifeform evolve right before our eyes is a thing of beauty. The design of the creature is sleek, pretty yet still has a dominating presence on screen. CALVIN, the alien’s given name, is primitive as you’d expect from any lifeform. Once it gets loose, it searches the ship for food, water, and oxygen but while doing it, CALVIN isn’t afraid to kill people that threatens his life. The mysteriousness and erratic behavior of this unknown life is what makes it such a terrifying creature. Like Alien, it offers an alien that is both believable and exciting.

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The trapped-in-space genre is well established, and Life doesn’t really add anything new to it – source: Columbia Pictures

The team of scientist, David Jordan (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Miranda North (Rebecca Ferguson) ae giving most of the screen time. Ryan Reynolds plays Rory Adams, and he does what he does best – being the comic relief. Each character on the ship is given just enough to underline their existence in the movie. As you would expect, they all give great performances and work great together as a team.

That sums up the movie – everything works well together. The direction is solid, the cinematography is beautiful, and the cast is competent. The story has been done before, but they still find little twists and turns that you might or might not see coming. And of course, I know it’s basically Alien, and I have to admit that it is a lesser version of Alien. Like I said, everything has been done better. The movie doesn’t add anything new to an already established genre. But I have seen plenty of mediocre sci-fi trapped in space movie, and Life just isn’t one of them.

Life is for people who want to see a fun, mindless sci-fi movie that doesn’t suck. It does a solid job with the material its given while playing it safe. The cast does a good job, and all the technical aspects are on par. For genre fans that are looking for something to reinvent the genre, you might want to skip this and wait for Alien: Covenant.

GRADE: B

Life is released on March 24.

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