Throughout the entirety of Daniel Espinoa’s ‘Life’ I found myself asking, what exactly is the payoff for this film? A team of scientists aboard the International Space Station has been given the task of finding life on Mars, and within the opening ten minutes, they achieve just that. But just like 1979’s Alien and many more Sci-Fi thrillers since, these scientists are rather careless in their research, with the consequence of this carelessness being one that threatens to put their lives at risk.
We know before we’ve even seen the movie that it’s going to be a case of these characters getting picked off one by one because that’s what the trailer told us. Even if you’ve done the honourable thing though and avoided trailers, the film’s story arc is painfully obvious from the very beginning. The only way you wouldn’t be able to predict what’s going to happen, would be if you’d never ever seen a film before, and let’s be honest if that’s the case…what in god’s name are you doing making Life your first ever film?? Don’t panic it’s not too late, politely ask for a refund and go see Get Out instead, you’ll thank me later…
Life somehow manages to turn its back on every single opportunity to do something different and unique. You’d think with the next installment of the Alien franchise due to be released in the next couple of months, that they would have brought their A game. I can’t exactly say it was a bad film though, it may not have kept me stimulated and on the edge of my seat, but it did keep me engaged.
There were a few jump scares which fell flat, however, there’s nothing inherently wrong with Life. It was the ending which really made me dislike this film, because if it was just a one off passable Sci-Fi romp, I’d probably give it a far more reasonable score. But instead it actually had the integrity to set itself up for a sequel, and I just sat there internally screaming “There is no way you are good enough for a sequel!”.
I think the real tragedy in all this is that Life actually has itself quite a talented cast, with the likes of Jake Gyllenhall, Rebecca Ferguson and Ryan Reynolds. Life starts with the whole cat and mouse dynamic far too early on, we’re not really given enough time to feel anything for these characters, let alone get some idea of how they’ve reached this point in their life. I mean becoming an astronaut with the task of discovering new life, that isn’t exactly something you’d just come across on Indeed. The film could seriously do with taking a few more risks instead of just plodding along, maybe then they could justify doing a sequel.
So as one of the most predictable and dull films I’ve seen in a while, Life gets a 5.5 from me. Ridley Scott’s Alien Covenant has got to be better than this, even if it turns out to be another Prometheus.