life poster

What could have been a great new sci-fi horror ultimately fell flat as a rehash of better films.

Life opens with an impressive long-take, moving the audience through the interiors of the International Space Station as the crew prepares for an encounter with debris. While gorgeous to look at and technically impressive, it is very reminiscent of the 2013 film Gravity, which opens on a long-take that concludes with a space debris collision. It was at this point that similarities to other classic sci-fi films could be tracked: the title card with wide letter spacing from Alien; the wheel-chaired astronaut from Avatar; the crew member with secret headquarter orders from Alien; the colorfully distorted point of view from Predator; and the small creature that crawls inside the mouth of a human to grow larger from Alien. It is very obvious that the film was heavily inspired by Alien, but seems more so as if the writers wanted to remake the sci-fi classic instead of creating their own original story. Although this is not entirely detrimental (to some it could be seen as what Prometheus should have been), the plot heavily suffers from irrational choices and nonsensical events.

There is a suspension of disbelief that permeates the entire film, enhanced by skilled scientists quickly evolving into teen slasher fodder when under stress. Every obstacle the characters faced was either from their own poor decision-making or equipment malfunctioning. Very rarely were they ever in danger solely because of the supposedly highly intelligent alien causing harm. Instead, the scientists with wavering motivations were their own worst enemies, forcing the film to replace an overall sense of tension with unbelievable convenience. While the humans had their own character flaws, the monster’s motives, tactics , and design were inconsistent throughout and caused more confusion than suspense.

Despite these flaws, the exceptional aspect of the film was seeing the actors in constant anti-gravity, enhanced by the floating and often upside-down camera to give a disorienting view. The detail in the set, the performances, and views of space are all impressive, but cannot ultimately save a glorified B-movie.

Overall, Life is a fairly entertaining couple of hours that would be more enjoyable if no other sci-fi horror had been seen before.


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