There have been so many attempts to recreate the original Alien, that we finally got a worthy contender. Life is an engaging and above all realistic science fiction movie about the discovery of alien life. I just loved the realism here, something you could sense right from the start of the movie. The panels and machinery aboard the space station look like the real thing. The procedures, language, and everything else also pushes you towards this feeling that this is how things would unfold in real life. And we haven’t even gotten to the main thing, the alien life itself. It’s got this unnerving, nasty, and Lovecraftian quality.
The only aspect of Life that’s a bit problematic is character development. You can see what they were going for but the whole thing feels a bit clumsy and forced. Complete with Alien dinner scene where you can feel that they’ve just told Ryan Reynolds to be casual and aloof. This brings us to the cast of Life. Luckily, we got some really great actors like Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, and Hiroyuki Sanada. Okay, okay, I guess Ryan was also cool along with Ariyon Bakare. All of them made this script work really well despite its small flaws. After all, how can you not like a script that mentions Re-Animator?
An unmanned space probe finished its exploration of Martian soil and is currently hurtling towards the Earth. Actually, it’s hurtling towards the International Space Station in orbit around Earth where astronaut Rory Adams has to catch it. After successfully retrieving the samples, the crew of six starts their investigation. An investigation that’s going to be quite dangerous.
There are several things that made Life such an effective science fiction movie. First of all, the pacing is just right. There are just a couple of slower scenes with the rest of the movie unfolding at a pretty fast tempo. Secondly, the atmosphere is intense and foreboding. You just know things are going to turn to shit pretty soon. And finally, you have the actual story that, as I already mentioned, feels very realistic and more importantly original. On top of all this, we have phenomenal special effects and cinematography. Since the story is happening onboard a space station, it has that Gravity vibe.
As you might have noticed, I don’t want to reveal too much about the main story. Mostly because I want you to have the same reaction I did. The feeling of awe and helplessness in front of something that has no emotions or agenda. I also feel that Life has that hard science fiction vibe much like Sunshine. For example, the incident that Golovkina had is based on a real-life incident that happened to Luca Parmitano back in 2013. We will also get some pretty intense and visually striking scenes, like the one with Ryan Reynolds. You’ll know which one it is, don’t worry.
Finally, if you’re looking for movies like Life, I recommend you check out Infini, Europa Report, Apollo 18, and Pandorum. They might not be these big blockbusters but they have this eerie atmosphere similar to Life. And I think you already know about those big movies.
Director: Daniel Espinosa
Writers: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ariyon Bakare, Olga Dykhovichnaya
Fun Facts: The ending of the film was inspired by what should have been the end of ALIEN and refused by the Fox executives.