Since the beginning of time, humans have wondered: “is there life anywhere out there?”, and cinema has answered “yes”for decades. Filmmakers have posed two additional questions; what does it look like and how will it kill us? LIFE, a sci-fi horror movie from Columbia Pictures, adds its take on the idea.
Set on the International Space Station, LIFE features a multi-national crew of astronauts on a quest to find out if there is life on Mars. The crew, Commander Ekaterina (Olga Dihovichnaya), medical officer David (Jake Gyllenhaal), British xenobiologist Hugh (Ariyon Bakare), Japanese systems engineer Sho (Hiroyuki Sanada), Miranda (Rebecca Ferguson), and flight engineer Rory (Ryan Reynolds) know their roles and interact well with each other. They have become family during this mission.
After the Mars probe is captured, station scientist Hugh cultivates a single cell creature from one of the rocks. Everyone, from the astronauts to the people on Earth are excited to watch the iridescent cell grow and take form. An elementary school is chosen to name the alien. When it’s grown to the size of a quarter, the creature starts to terrorize the crew.
Really…that’s the plot.
The movie poster quotes Shawn Edwards of Fox TV, stating the movie is “Masterfully suspenseful, terrifyingly intense and an amazing experience,” I really want to watch the movie he was watching. The only “suspense” in this movie was how many of these 6 people were going to be alive at the end and in which order are they going to die. “Terrifying,” well I don’t like horror films, I will flinch at the sight of blood and gore on screen. I believe a horror fan would be left underwhelmed.
In the absence of a compelling story, the CGI should blow my mind; this was a waste of IMAX. The depiction of outer space was just nice, and they did a good job with the weightless scenes. However, if you are going to imagine an alternate life form I think they could have done better than an octopus-shaped iridescent blob. Frankly, it could have been scarier. I give the writers credit this thing is relentless, intelligent and adaptable to its surroundings. Once it decided you were its next victim there was nothing that could be done to stop it.
The characters in this film are only there to be prey for the alien. There was no depth to be explored, so there is really nothing for the actors to do but act scared and die. Note to Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal, as the only actors whose names I recognize, whoever on your team suggested you do this film should be immediately fired. Unless your goal was to be a bad horror film or that you wanted to do a film together, I have seen both of you act better.
I’ve seen other reviews say this is where Alien meets Gravity, and to an extent I agree: it’s a rip-off of Alien, but to compare it to Gravity is a stretch. Alien meets The Blob would be a better analogy. Every scene and plot point is predictable. If you want to see a movie about aliens killing humans, stay home and stream Alien. As a theatrical movie, LIFE is a waste of time.
1 cell out of 5