Life – Review

Courtesy SONY

Can you imagine we have a good Sci Fi movie without a Wookiee or Vulcan in sight?

Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Dr. David Jordan – one of six scientists and astronauts on the International Space Station.  They heroically have retrieved a space capsule containing all sorts of material from Mars, including actual soil from the planet’s surface.

After investigating it further, Hugh Derry (Ariyon Bakare) discovers a single cell organism, making this team the first to discover extraterrestrial life.

Discovering life in space is one of the greatest achievements of all time, but, after an accident in the lab, this single cell organism is growing bigger, getting smarter and becoming angrier and more dangerous by the minute, which puts everyone’s life in danger.

Who will live?

Who will die?

Life is a nice mixture of being part Sci Fi and part creepy horror film, which makes it an homage to Alien, or a massive rip off begging for a lawsuit.

Director Daniel Espinosa takes full advantage of the setting’s general feeling of isolation and the terror this organism, which resembles a slimy octopus, causes as it slowly creeps around every corner and pops up out of nowhere like a Hitchcock character looking to commit a crime.

He perfectly escalates the horror scene by scene as we witness the alien life form becoming more and more violent by the minute.

However, Life needs better storytelling. For as brilliant as the moments are as we see the alien wreaking havoc throughout the station, we never get much of a reason to care about the characters.  Everyone seems to fit a typical role and any attempts to craft some sort of sympathy for each one never extends beyond one scene, so death scenes and massive life or death decisions never have the intended emotional impact.  Maybe this is because we have too many characters to give any of them enough room to grab your attention (even if Ryan Reynolds steals the show whenever he is on screen).

You have a great cast, but Life is a movie wandering from cool scene to cool scene without much grounding it, especially as we get stuck with a couple extra scenes that are superfluous at best.

2_5waffles_sml2 ½ Waffles (Out of 4)

Life is rated R for language throughout, some sci-fi violence and terror.