Life (2017) Review
Life (2017) Review
Director Daniel Espinosa’s Alien-inspired Life was unfortunately released just a couple of months before Ridley Scott’s much-hyped Alien: Covenant. Why unfortunate? Well, folks were more likely to give an ‘Alien’ wannabe like Life a miss, preferring instead to save their pennies to see the latest xenomorph flick, and that’s exactly they did. Now that the dust has settled it would appear that Life was actually the better choice, although you wouldn’t have imagined so given the initial response it received.
Aboard the International Space Station (ISS) six astronauts discover an initially inert alien life form in a soil sample collected from Mars. The discovery of this small (to begin with) single-celled organism is very big news indeed, given that it is the first example found of life beyond our planet. The organism is named Calvin. Calvin is evolving at a rather rapid rate. Unfortunately for the crew Calvin doesn’t respond as expected to their research methods and before you can say ‘in space no one can hear you scream’ the crew are fighting not just for their own survival but also for the lives of everyone back on Earth too.
Criticism focused on the notion of professionals doing what they could to save their colleagues from Calvin’s murderous intent. I wouldn’t call that stupid. I’d reason that would be the right thing to do in the circumstances, regardless of whatever protocol dictates. After all the film is called ‘Life’, and the crew do everything they can to ensure that the ‘life’ of each colleague is fought for as the alien ‘life’form does its utmost to wipe them all out. It’s refreshing having characters that care about each other, rather than the usual plot bollocks of internal conflicts and tension.
Life is a thrilling, fast-paced and refreshing take on a well-worn premise. It’s claustrophobic, edge-of-the-seat stuff and much fun can be had in guessing the order in which the six astronauts will be dispatched (I got it totally wrong). Calvin’s gelatinous mass is horribly convincing causing you to wriggle and squirm as he evolves and, although the characterisation is minimal, you still route for the crew to survive this truly horrifying nemesis. Rumour has it that Life is actually a prequel to Sony’s forthcoming Venom movie, as old b-roll from Spiderman 3 (2007) is used for earlier scenes in the film. It’s certainly a possibility given how Life concludes. Definitely worth a look! A lot of fun!