“I have a great idea, let’s make a space movie that mashes up Alien and Gravity. Call it Life. Everyone will LOVE IT!”
Life should not have found a way. Every so often, you’ll sit through a movie that obviously thought it was something special. This was one of those times, and if you paid attention to the trailers (including the big extended one that gives away EVERYTHING) this should come as no surprise.
A group of astronauts living on the international space station tasked with retrieving Martian soil samples unwittingly unleash a killer alien organism. How often do we see these lush space films where the brilliant minds make one stupid choice after another? In Life, we hear mentions of “firewalls” and “failsafes” but of course the crew doesn’t ACTUALLY follow those protocols resulting in the direct opposite of life, DEATH.
There is nothing to *really* spoil other than the last five minutes (so I won’t talk about that) but you can pretty much guess every single thing that happens. Tests gone wrong, the crew wanting to save a fellow rather than airlock the specimen (named Calvin) as SOON as it goes badly, and shotty VFX.
The alien (Calvin) has a wet/slimy look, but leaves no trail when touching glass or other surfaces in the station. His size after the final growth spurt fluctuates in the length of a scene and a half, leading me to wonder what other continuity issues I missed.
SCORE: 1.5 out 5, will not see again
The Good: Much of the tech used was believable, not so futuristic as to place the film other than now. The performances were fine, nothing spectacular. The ending I’ll give .5 on the score for, because it’s so freaking rare. You’ll see what I mean if you watch it.
The Bad: Ryan Reynold’s character makes a Reanimator joke early on which everyone on the crew gets, but as with much modern scifi horror/suspense films, it’s like the greatest hits of the genre never happened. “Let’s kill this thing with a flame thrower! Yeah! No one’s ever done THAT before!” Lack of continuity with Calvin’s size towards the end, no real POINT to the film either.
Also, it’s worth noting there is a large online belief that Life links up to the Alien franchise, supposidly dealing with a post/mid credits scene which was not on my screening (as so often happens with press only screenings). Youtuber Movie Endings XPlained says HE got it from a Dutch website, claiming the film has a direct connection in the universe of the Xenomorph. I will admit, one of the characters while signing off from her mission does have a Ripley/Nostromo vibe, as well as the overwhelming Weyland-Yutani “The Company” feel of the mission. He really doesn’t give any proof of anything, but I guess time will tell.
Life opens worldwide on Friday March 24th 2017.