Life Review: Gravity meets Alien in an unoriginal yet entertaining Sci-Fi flick
Life is directed by Daniel Espinosa, half Chilean half Swedish filmmaker who is it at his third Hollywood film after 3 Swedish movie and after a quite big European production.
Like his heritage, this movie also seem to be the child of two other sci-fi flicks: Alien, and Gravity.
It’s clear why 20 minutes in. In that amount of time we have the one takes that made Cuaròn film famous, and the human vs parasite alien life form from Ridley Scott’s masterpiece.
Life‘s story revolves around a group of astronauts on the ISS, who have to analyze some Mars’ dirt samples. One of those happens to have a monocellular organism on it, which they revive, with consequential danger.
The results is an uninspired and unoriginal piece, which ultimately does its job entertaining the viewer.
This happens thanks a visual work that, even though is inspired by Gravity as we previously said, is well thought out and well executed, helping to narrate the story the best way possible, maintaining an elegant and engaging view on what happens.
The script lacks originality, as we said before, yet it doesn’t really present particular flaws, as the story gets from A to B in no special yet effective way. Every character has his own role and subtext (except maybe for the Russian Captain), which helps as we care about and understand them.
The acting is also something that does his job, no one really excels but honestly there was no need to. It helps to have A listers like Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds, and a soon to be one Rebecca Ferguson. She might be the acting highlight, taking advantage of this production to cement herself in Hollywood after her impressive performance in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.
The alien is named Calvin, and its form keeps evolving (another thing taken from Alien), so consequently its design. While not really inspired, it goes from realistic to terrifying throughout the film. Its personality is also somewhat believable, maybe some abilities could be defined a little over the top.
The ending is the thing that undoubtedly succeeded the most. While somewhat predictable, it was executed perfectly to keep the doubts until the very last second.
Is Life hurt by the fact that is so similar to two sci-fi milestones? This movie certainly features good work and everyone clearly was on the same page and believed in it, and flick is totally enjoyable. The problem is that while watching I always had the feeling I already watched it, not going as far as a deja-vu. But it still not something you’d want a spectator to feel as it would take him out from the suspension of disbelief, even for just a moment.
There’s nothing really wrong with this Life, it’s a totally enjoyable movie but also there’s nothing that tells me it will be remembered. And it’s unfortunate, as it is not the Hollywood affirmative work director Daniel Espinosa was looking for.