It’s time for another movie review presented by our good friends over at FatCats Gilbert on the southwest corner of Greenfield and Baseline. FatCats Gilbert is the best place to see all of the latest blockbusters in the most comfortable seats in the valley! With state-of-the-art Recline-N-Dine seats, you don’t even have to leave your recliner to enjoy delicious pizza, wings, fries, and more. If you go, try the pizza cookie. It’s only $5, and it’s a pizza cookie, so it’s obviously mind-blowing.
Alien is one of my favorite movies of all time. You might be wondering why that even matters for this review. Well, if you’ve seen the trailer and you’re familiar with Alien, you probably know that Life is essentially Alien. The first thing that I noticed was that it was probably going to be Alien with Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Rebecca Ferguson, and if I ended up seeing that I was probably going to be content because that actually sounds awesome to me. I love Ryan Reynolds, I love Jake Gyllenhaal, and Rebecca Ferguson is one of the biggest breakout stars I’ve seen since Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. Suffice it to say that a fan of sci-fi space thrillers was excited. Let’s talk about Life!
Life is directed by Daniel Espinosa and stars Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ariyon Bakare, and Olga Dihovichnaya. A group of astronauts has finally found undoubted proof that life beyond Earth exists. It’s a big deal both for the space program and the rest of the world. After naming it and studying it, they slowly realize that it grows and get smarter much faster than anticipated. After catching the crew off guard, it quickly begins its path of destruction and only proves to be far more deadly than expected from a single cell organism.
Before I saw this movie, I thought it was Alien. After seeing this movie, I think it’s Alien. If you love Alien the way I do, you’ll probably find tons of enjoyment in this film. Life has plenty of big names between Gyllenhaal, Reynolds, and Ferguson, and it has plenty of future big names, but the real star of this film is Daniel Espinosa. He directed and told this story about as well as he possibly could have with the material he was given, and he never concedes to the idea that he might not have the most original idea out there. That’s exactly what I want from a director. I want to see a creative mind come in and take over to make everything feel stylistically different and artistic while cohesively putting the story together. Espinosa does just that while pulling out terror and scares incredibly well. Life kept me on the edge of my seat, made me hold my breath, and threw me around space. I guess the title is perfect because real-world life does the exact same thing. But really, I thought the title was extremely lame when I first heard about the movie, but now I love the title. It does something different in that it acknowledges the idea of survival of the fittest. The other-worldly life form isn’t killing because it’s bigger and more powerful than humans. It’s not killing because killing is fun, and it’s not killing because killing makes a better thriller. It’s killing because sometimes, in life, it’s kill or be killed. The life form is on a murderous rampage because it’s natural to attack in fearful situations, and it can be vital to survival. In this case, going on the offensive was necessary for survival, so it made sense. Visually, the alien also looks like what I’d imagine when I picture other life forms. I don’t imagine little green men with tin foil hats. I don’t even imagine Xenomorphs. I imagine single-cell beings. I think that everything in terms of sci-fi from the writing to direction to visuals is brilliant, and I ended up getting the thrills and chills that I wanted from an Alien-like thriller.
Though Life is pretty exciting, it did struggle story-wise. It’s exactly what I expected, and it didn’t give me any surprises. I have a hard time faulting it for this because, realistically, the final result is far more chilling than other options would have been, but I saw it coming from a mile away. I saw the film with a couple of friends, and both mentioned that they knew the ending was coming, so it’s never a surprise when you get to the finale. The story, while thoroughly entertaining and terrifying, is pretty expected and standard from a space thriller. Like I said, I came in expecting Alien, and I left feeling like I saw Alien. Daniel Espinosa is the only creative force that keeps Life from being a copy right out of the HP printer. Next, I didn’t really care about the right characters. In fact, I lost interest a bit due to the fact that I didn’t care for the characters. It’s not a spoiler to say that some of the members of the crew die in the film, so I’ll just say that I felt like the deaths came in the exact order in which I cared about the people. I’m not going to say that it’s the wrong order because I think a solve would have been to give depth to the right characters, but the characters I cared about died first while the ones I could genuinely not care less about died last. I was a bit disappointed by that, and I think there was a lot of fun and interest left on the table.
Overall, if you wanted to see Life because it looked similar to Alien and you love Alien, Life is probably a great film to see. It will give you the thrills and terror that you crave. It’s not going to give you the character depth and surprises that Alien gave you after the first watch, but it’s enjoyable enough to see. I think Daniel Espinosa was the only reason that the film didn’t feel like a cheap copy, and his style and storytelling were the real stars of the film. It ended up being creative and scary enough to keep me entertained for the entire time while also discussing real-world tendencies of survival. I loved that there was a reason for the life-form to be killing as compared to just killing to make an edge-of-your-seat blockbuster. Life might be Alien, but it’s creatively directed well enough to give me what I need from an entertainment perspective. I’m going to give Life a 6.8/10.
Will you be seeing Life? Comment down in the comment section and let me know! As always, thank you and keep listening to 88.7 The Pulse.