It's Life Jim, But Not As We Know It

And so you’re back, from outer space, I…wait, wrong review. Some say; live life to the full, enjoy life, life begins at 50. Others say, life sucks. Which is it for our protagonists in space?

Life tells the story of six astronauts on board the International Space Station, awaiting the arrival of a pod that’s been collecting samples from Mars. Said pod arrives, samples are taken out and analysed, low and behold…life. A small little micro-organism all small and organismy and, crucially, inert. But it doesn’t stay that way for long.

Our six-intrepid crew are: Sho, played by Hiroyuki Sanada (The Wolverine, 47 Ronin), Rory, played by Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool, Safe House), Miranda, played by Rebecca Ferguson (Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, The Girl On The Train), David, played by Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler, Southpaw), Ekaterina, played by Olga Dihovichnaya (Welcome Home, House of Others) and Hugh, played by Ariyon Bakare (Rogue One, New Blood (TV)).

The first thing we must address is that ‘report’ that this movie is based heavily, some even say copies, a certain other famous space movie about Aliens…not mentioning any names. Well I’m here to say…it does. Of course it does. Why would you not create an alien space movie that bears similarities to one of the greatest space alien movies around? I don’t see the issue.

You get the feeling, after watching Life, that writers Rhett Reese (Zombieland, Deadpool) and Paul Wernick (Zombieland, Deadpool) are setting us up for something more. I don’t think I’m giving anything away by saying the movie is left open for a follow up, or more likely three. As with a series, you need an introduction episode – who are these people? Who’s the bad guy? Etc, etc. It sort of feels like Life is that episode, only an hour and a half long.

That’s not to say it’s bad, it isn’t, it’s actually pretty good. However, it’s also predictable and nothing new, nothing that we haven’t seen in many other space-alien films. Even the ending, which is supposed to be all edge-of-the-seat stuff, leaves you feeling a bit ‘well obviously’, there’s also a familiar feeling from Gravity as well, or is that just me?

But, if Life does indeed turn out to be a setup for more, than what have we got? Well, in truth, not much to go on other than an alien which seems pretty indestructible and lots of dead astronauts. That’s not a spoiler by the way, not all of them die. We also never get to see the reaction back on Earth to what’s happening on the space station, so we don’t know what they know, or don’t know. Still following? Good.

Reading this back I think it’s one of the most disjointed reviews I’ve ever written. The reason is: I’m struggling to think what I actually made of Life. It was all hyped up and looked amazing but watching it felt a little flat and a bit ‘meh’. Sure, the effects are good, the acting is good, the directing from Daniel Espinosa (Safe House, Child 44) is good. It’s just that none of it is great, or amazing, or wow, or new.

I don’t know if we’ll get more of Life and, if we do, we’ll have to wait a while as writers Reese and Wernick are busy with Deadpool and Zombieland stuff. Maybe someone else will pick it up, who knows. I’m sort of okay if someone does, I’m interested to see more, interested to see where it could be taken, but I’m still unsure if I needed to watch this one first or not…

And so you're back, from outer space, I…wait, wrong review. Some say; live life to the full, enjoy life, life begins at 50.

24th March 2017

Daniel Espinosa

Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick

Running Time:
1h 44min


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