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‘Life’ evokes memory of ‘Alien,’ but struggles with deeper theme

April 12, 2017

Astronauts (Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson and Ryan Reynolds) aboard the International Space Station are on the verge of one of the most important discoveries in human history: the first evidence of extraterrestrial life on Mars. As the members of the crew conduct their research, the rapidly evolving life-form proves far more intelligent and terrifying than anyone could have imagined.

You might be thinking that reading that brief introduction of the movie “Life” sounds a lot like “Alien,” the 1979 science fiction/horror movie classic. If that is the case, you would be right. If this film has one big overarching flaw, it’s that it does borrow a lot from this classic film. However, it does stay different enough to not be a copy and paste or a remake. With a star studded cast, good writing and wonderfully tense moments, “Life” is an enjoyable ride.

What I like about this film the most is seeing the alien, later named Calvin, grow. The gradual development only adds to the intensity of the situation. As this alien is growing, it only becomes stronger and smarter.

I really love this aspect, and this is something really unique. Starting from the size of a cell and growing into… well, I’d rather not tell you what it becomes or what it does. Just know that it is great.

Going off of this aspect of seeing Calvin grow, this film feels very real to me. I mean that in the sense that this feels like something that could actually happen. What would happen if we really did get dirt samples back from Mars and there turned out to be signs of life? And what if that life form turned out to be aggressive and not what we had hoped? I really love this quality about “Life.”

I really love movies that have a confined sense about them, and there is just something about being in space that makes it better. I mean, where is there to go? You can’t exactly run away, which means you have to either fight it or outsmart it.

There are times where the people are very smart, but then there is this other scene where they break this and it is a little frustrating. I think you will know it when you see it.

“Life” really nails the sci-fi and horror aspect but struggles when it comes to the deeper questions and themes it tries to pull off. The tension is there, but the philosophical aspect isn’t quite at the level they are trying to achieve. However, it doesn’t really take away from the film; it just seems like a slightly missed opportunity.

If you are a fan of the movie “Alien” and other such sci-fi horror films, then “Life” is the movie for you. While it won’t measure up quite to that level, it still makes for a good time. Just know that the ending is wonderful, one that I will be thinking about for a long time.